Marguerite McCurtin is a writer, broadcaster and intrepid traveller. She tried many people’s lives and worked as a model and teacher at that time. Born in Galway, she now lives in Dublin with her husband Frank.
What were you like as a little girl?
I grew up in Dunfandle in East Galway and was nomadic from the start. My original plan was to fly to the moon. My mother fed me paper wings and food. We lived near a forest, so I landed in the moonlight but couldn’t take off.
Choose three words that describe yourself.
Loyal, active and compassionate.
Which book inspired you the most?
Tea book Okakura Kakuzo inspired me a lot. It’s about the Japanese not having time to be perfect. Instead, they focus on imperfection – a cracked glass is sprayed with varnish and then wired with gold to emphasize its fragility. It focuses on the simple things in life.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
I learn by going where I have to go.
Best advice you give?
There is no fixed plan. A good traveler has no set plans and doesn’t want to come.
Why do you fly by the seat of your pants?
I never make plans because plans create a sense of anticipation. Then, while you wait to see things, you miss the core of the whole trip. If you don’t see something, you’re disappointed.
Who or what do you associate your wanderlust with?
It’s just an impulse. It’s part of my DNA. I just need to travel. I’m never happier than seeing an impossible place in an impossible country at an airport and trying to get there.
Why do you travel alone?
I travel alone because I am an older child. It doesn’t take a minute to make friends. I will meet someone on the plane.
What are your favorite aspects of solo travel?
You have to be comfortable traveling alone and without any safety net. I don’t see it as isolating at all. I like to pause in time, when you have time to breathe and think, and when the world is open to you. I believe that if your heart is not open, you will not be open to experience.
Do you have a sense of danger?
I fear people more than situations. I have a talent for communicating with people, but I also sense danger. It brought me here safely. You need to make the right decision for yourself when you are on the road.
Tell us your idea of paradise when it comes to travel.
I love that free-floating feeling of being myself. Intermission. Many years ago I took a very short trip up the Nile. I love going to places like Bhutan and Tibet that are hard to get to and very rare. I’m not doing a pilgrimage, but I follow a pilgrimage like the Frankincense Path or the Himalayan Salt Path.
What has travel taught you?
It made me realize that we don’t need any language to communicate. You can do many things non-verbally.
You were an au pair in Paris when you were 16. How has it changed your life?
I saw all these instructions and realized that I could go anywhere. I can get in my car and go to Italy and other European countries. It was a truly liberating moment.
Why not take photos on your trip?
I never put a car between me and the real world. If you’re looking for frames, you won’t see anything. In the picture, one mountain looks like 300 other mountains. Travel is a pause in time, away from technology.
Does your husband feel the same way about travel?
No. His idea of a good vacation is a trip to a comfortable hotel connected to every modern source of modern technology.
Any packing tips?
The further I go, the lighter I travel. I always bring a hot water bottle and cleansing oil. I also love sunscreen and sun hats. I’m wrapped like a beekeeper, so even the slanting sun doesn’t shine on me. I think this is very important.
Invisible Threads by Marguerite MacCurtin is published by Beehive Books and is out now.