Meet the Contributors: Marcy Gordon

Marcy Gordon’s narrative travel writing has appeared online for World Hum and in print in many Travelers’ Tales anthologies including The Best Women’s Travel Writing 2011 and 2010. She worked for The Touring Club of Italy, where she was contributing editor and co-designer of the Authentic Italy guidebook series. She will be the editor for Leave the Lipstick, Take the Iguana: Funny Travel Stories from the Road - due out from Travelers’ Tales in 2012. She writes Come for the Wine, a popular blog about wine and wine tourism destinations around the world. Visit for more information or follow her on Twitter @marcygordon.

When did you first know you were a traveler?

I’ve never considered that question before. Being a traveler was not an option, I was born to it, just like my eyes are blue. Travel was thrust upon me by my adventure-seeking-travel-writer mother. I took travel for granted and thought it was an ordinary part of everyone’s life. Now I have come to understand that travel is an essential element my body needs to survive, like eight glasses of water a day. It’s a thirst that must be quenched or I dehydrate, turn to dust, and disintegrate.

Is there something you always do (or search out, buy, learn, pack, drink), whenever you’re on a trip?

After life-saving emergency surgery and spending eight days in an Italian hospital, I learned to let go of outcome. Now I just let the situation unfold and I no longer fear dying.

I try to learn basic polite conversational phrases and numbers from 1-100 in the language of the place I am visiting. I like to bring along books to read featuring the location or seek out works by local authors in the bookstores. I love to browse around in grocery stores and pharmacies looking at all the foreign brands and unusual items. I like to find a local wine shop and drink the local wine. I always bring my now famous pair of novelty store gag glasses and cajole the people I meet to put them on, and then I take their picture. (This usually occurs after finding the local wine shop!)

Through travel, have you overcome any fears or obstacles?

After life-saving emergency surgery and spending eight days in an Italian hospital, I learned to let go of outcome. Now I just let the situation unfold and I no longer fear dying. Travel has taught me you can’t control everything. The minute I set foot in the airport I accept that pretty much everything is out of my control, so I just relax and go with it. But I must admit I do still fear getting stuck on the tarmac for 8 hours!

What’s on your list of future destinations?

In the next 6 months: Croatia, Italy, France, Spain, New Zealand, okanagan/Penticton in Alberta, Canada, Portland, oR and Mendocino, CA.

In your opinion, what is the greatest reward of traveling?

Getting out of routine and into the great unknown. That feeling of being untethered to any expectations is a great reward. I have more patience when I travel and less worry. For me, travel is like a great big kaleidoscope filled with people and places, tastes and colors and cultures, all mixed up in a magnificent pattern that keeps shifting and turning to reveal the most extraordinary details. And through this kaleidoscope I gain the ability to focus in on the moment, and that in itself is a great gift.

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But time is one thing we have been given, and we have been given to time. Time gives us a whirl. We keep waking from a dream we can’t recall, looking around in surprise, and lapsing back, for years on end. All I want to do is stay awake, keep my head up, prop my eyes open, with toothpicks, with trees.” –Annie Dillard