The beautiful canopy of fall leaves in Mendoza.
Café life—an Argentine breakfast.
I’m Nora Walsh, the founder of Patchwork Compass. My greatest passion in life is traveling to new destinations, experiencing foreign cultures and connecting with all walks of life.
I started Patchwork Compass to provide inspiring content and practical travel information to help others navigate their journeys.
After I graduated college, I traversed much of South America with only a backpack and a sense of adventure. For almost a year, I ping-ponged north and south, east and west, and back again. I spent countless hours, half reclined on a bus, alternating a handful of CDs on my Discman until I arrived at the next destination. It was thrilling and tiresome. I felt completely free, and many times, overwhelmed by choice. I drifted where the wind blew me. I expanded. I connected. I made lifelong friends with memories to match. I returned home replete, full of hope, and pregnant with fear that I might never find a place in the world where I felt so alive.
I planted myself in New York City. It took time to grow roots and find the sunshine. I fought hard for a space to flourish. Over seven years, I found a neighborhood that suited me, an apartment I called home, a livelihood that nourished my passions, a family of friends, and a husband that I loved. I was comfortable and happy.
My husband, who is from Argentina, has always expressed the desire to live in his home country at some point in our lives. For many years, I have also nurtured the fantasy of returning to South America and living abroad as an adult. As we creep further into our thirties, and are still without children, we decided this was an opportune time to uproot ourselves and enjoy a slower pace of life in his hometown, the Napa Valley of the south—Mendoza, Argentina.
Thus, we’ve traded comfort for adventure, apples for grapes, and coffee for mate.
While he greets all that is familiar, I straddle the unknown at a daunting, yet liberating crossroads. We shall see where the wind takes me this time. Feel free to come along for the ride.
A winter-style asado (barbecue) in Mendoza, Argentina. Delicious vino y vaca, what more could you ask for?
The majestic view of The Andes Mountains flying from Santiago, Chile to Mendoza, Argentina.
I remembered that the world was wide, and that a varied field of hopes and fears, of sensations and excitements, awaited those who had the courage to go forth into its expanse, to seek real knowledge of life amidst it perils.
HuffPo travel blogger, Laura Manske, recently interviewed me for quick travel tips, which she included in a roundup of advice from New York’s top travel industry pros. Below you will find some of my favorite tips culled from her list.
Nora Walsh, founder, Patchwork Compass, patchworkcompass.com:
• Invest in a lightweight waterproof shell raincoat. Aside from keeping me dry in the rain, I layer my GORE-TEX raincoat (gore-tex.com) with my EMS fleece (ems.com) to protect me from blasting AC on long bus rides and flights.
• Facilitate sleep anytime, anywhere with earplugs. I’m not an earplug snob; 80 decibel-level pharmacy ones work great.
For more Patchwork Compass travel tips click here.
Laura Manske, Travel Trendspotter, Culture Vulture, Idea Genie:
• Stash extra Zip-lock plastic bags in quart and gallon sizes.
• Snap a photo of your luggage (with your phone camera) when you have to check it. That way, if the bag gets lost, you’ll have a timely pic to show the airline rep instead of trying to describe it.
Rachel Harrison, CMO, Island Outpost, islandoutpost.com:
• Keep a packing list on your smart-phone. For different destinations, my iPhone Note page gets tweaked. Recently, I forgot to bring my sunglasses, which now have been added to that list.
Eileen Ogintz, founder, takingthekids.com:
• Carry a reusable water bottle. (I’m partial to aluminum ones.) At the airport, after passing through security, I fill it with water, patting myself on the back for traveling greener. Then I don’t have to wait for a flight attendant to come around on the plane.
Sally Kilbridge, editor-in-chief, destinationw.com:
• Have to check a bag? If traveling with a companion, swap a day’s worth of clothing into each other’s luggage. My husband and I do this. That way if one of our bags goes AWOL, neither of us has to run to the gift shop for an emergency T-shirt.
Lynn O’Rourke Hayes, travel journalist, familytravel.com:
• Maximize your camera’s use. I can barely read my own handwriting, particularly when I scribble in a hurry, so I use my camera to “take notes.” I snap a photo of my guestroom door, because few hotels put numbers on keys anymore. I also document restaurant names, menus, nametags, business cards, street and destination signs.
Everett Potter, editor-in-chief, Everett Potter’s Travel Report, everettpotter.com:
• Carry Clif bars (clifbar.com), since there is a good chance of missing a meal.
Jason Hedrick, general manager, Azumano Travel, azumano.com:
• Stash a roll-up backpack. Invariably, in my travels, I will need to carry something around or buy an item.
Read the full article here.