Erin Faherty of 10 Miles Behind Me is this week’s featured wanderer. She’s a travel blogger based in New York City, who explores the rest of the world a little bit at a time. Her blog, formerly known as “a hell LOVE a town,” is one of my favorite and has been for a while due to Erin’s witty storytelling and sense of humor.
Erin and I actually met through Twitter a few years ago, and finally had the pleasure of meeting in person just about a year an a half ago at NY Trav Fest, but it feels like we’ve been friends for longer. I think you’ll enjoy getting to know her as much as I did.
What was the first trip you remember?
When I was in preschool, I took my first flight with my family to visit my aunt & uncle who live in Indianapolis. We went to the Children’s museum, rode camels at the zoo, and searched for fossils. I vividly remember being mesmerized on the flights by the Cookie-Monster-shaped clouds and the different colors and shapes of fields we flew over, which I definitely thought were indicative of different state outlines.
Who is your favorite person to travel with? Why?
My older sister, Katie, and I have been on a bunch of trips together over the last few years. She is a huge planner and researcher so trips with her are much easier than if I were figuring everything out on my own. Our first major trip as adults was to Thailand and Hong Kong and we’ve done Hawaii and Portugal together. We’ve also brought along our parents to Italy, Montreal, Spain, and some cousins for long weekends to Charleston and Austin. If we bicker, we get over it quickly, because we’ve had 30 years of experience dealing with each other. And the best part is that we have a great time together!
Do you have a funny story about a travel mishap that you’d like to share?
I flew into Geneva and took the train to Lyon, France before returning for a week in Switzerland. I didn’t have time to buy a ticket on the platform but was told by someone working there that I could buy one on the train. What I didn’t know is that neither of my credit cards would work in the ticket-taker’s handheld device. I offered Swiss Francs and got a “no” back. I didn’t know French yet (I started taking classes this past fall), and the ticket-taker didn’t speak much English. I didn’t have Euros because I was meeting a friend in Lyon for just a day and knew she would have them. The ticket-taker left for a few minutes, came back, and beckoned that I should come with him. I thought for sure I was going to be kicked off the train. Turned out, he had found someone in First Class who had enough Euros to do a currency exchange for me in the cafe car and it all worked out!
Favorite way to keep busy on the plane?
I am overly obsessed with the New York Magazine crossword puzzle and bring a few on each flight. If there’s a screen that’s free to use, I catch up on my movies, too. I have absolutely cried during sad movies (but also during Frozen…) on a flight. Depending on the flight time, sometimes sleep is necessary, but I usually still listen to a tv show or music to help me fall asleep easier and to limit the sounds of my snoring neighbors.
One place you’re hoping to visit this year. Why?
I’ve been wanting to go to Eastern and Southern Africa for years now and I think 2016 is going to be the year it happens – the scenery, the wildlife, the stories I hear from other travelers – the force is real.
What is your favorite kind of day tour?
I absolutely LOVE taking food tours. When I only have a little bit of time in a city that’s known for its food, I get overwhelmed by the options. My eyes are always bigger than my stomach, so the portions and variety on food tours are perfect for me. My favorite tour was one I took with Taste Porto in Porto, Portugal. The sandwich at Flor dos Congregados is seriously life-changing.
In your home country, what’s a destination that you think people should visit?
It’s everyone’s favorite joke when meeting someone from NJ that they’ll say “I’m sorry” when they learn of it. For some reason (The Sopranos? Real Housewives of NJ? Jersey Shore?), New Jersey gets a bad rap. I encourage people to visit the gorgeous (real-life, not on tv) Jersey Shore, and head down south to get a more relaxing experience. I grew up in Cape May County which has beautiful, quiet beaches and a lot of history.
What’s the scariest moment you’ve had while traveling?
Most of my scariest moments have to do with being in cabs. While in Bangkok, our cab driver got out of the car while we were sitting on the highway to yell at another driver. In NYC (where I live), I had a crazy driver who I asked to drop me off early because I didn’t feel comfortable, and he told me he’d drop me off in the East River. I had another driver in NYC who yelled at me for flagging him down on a corner that he said I shouldn’t have been on and reprimanded me the entire ride. I would have gotten out of that one, too, but I had just broken my toe and was walking with a cane so I put up with it. I had some choice words for him when I did get out.
Tell a story of the most surprising moment during your travels.
When I was in London, I had plans to take a train out to one of the suburbs to see a friend, but my particular train line wasn’t running. I didn’t have a way to reach out to my friend and I had no idea what to do. I was talking to a gentleman next to me and he said, “You know what? I’m going to get you there.” Together, we took a different train and two buses, which was definitely out of this guy’s way home from work. I thanked him a thousand and one times, but he asked me to just pay it forward one day. He told me all about his kids my age who traveled all over and about how strangers helped them out along the way. I get approached by people asking for directions all the time (even in cities where I’ve just arrived), and I try to help out as best I can. If I see someone with a guidebook looking around when I’m in NYC, I ask if they need any help. I have yet to get on a train and two buses to help someone, but there’s still time.
What’s your favorite book to take with you on the road or favorite book about travel?
Cheryl Strayed is a goddess and Wild is one of the best written books I’ve ever read. If you’re reading this and you haven’t heard of it (where have you been?), it’s about the author’s solo trek on the Pacific Crest Trail after her life takes some challenging turns. Her words are beautiful and the book would inspire anyone to take a solo trip, even if it’s not one as grueling as 1,000 miles in the wilderness.
I hope you follow along with Erin on her next adventures, you can find her here: