We all have Frequently Asked Questions of ourselves, things that people always seem to want to know. Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school? Are you married? All of these are FAQ’s. Some mundane, but inquiring minds want to know!

So here are a few FAQ’s on me. Take them in the spirit in which they’re given.


How can you travel so much?

The implication here seems to somehow be: how are you rich enough to travel all the time? First of all, I don’t think I travel ALL that much. Sure, maybe more than the average bear, but I generally only take a “major” trip every few years. That said, I guess I do have “sand in my shoes,” as my mama used to say. I was always ready and willing to go anywhere, starting with those train trips to Nebraska when I was a kid of 10 or 11. (Can you imagine parents these days letter a solo kid get on the train. At night. Alone??) It’s also a matter of HOW I travel. I’m a cheap-ass traveler. If you’re on the road for 6 to 10 months, you have to conserve resources. I mix it up and stay at low-end places much of the time, and then splurge once in awhile with a really nice four or five star, just to remind myself what clean, white sheets feel like. And then I’m ready to hit the road again. I also don’t have kids, houseplants or animals to worry about, or pay for, which means I can be selfish and spend all my “extra” money on myself… and travel.


How many god children do you have?

Do I really get this question a lot? More than you think, only because they’re all an important part of my life and I like talking about them. While I’m technically only the “official” god father to just one—Justin Thomas Jimenez—I also consider his three siblings my other god kids, and because they all call me Uncle Thom. And then there’s Dexter, and Jesse, and Jake. So that’s seven, and that’s what I usually say: I have seven god children.


Where’s your next trip?

Truthfully, I don’t generally plan that far ahead. It always depends on money, of course, and time, needless to say. If I see a window of opportunity, I grab it. If I can see the start of a pattern, I try to expand on it and turn it into a trip. For example, I wanted to go to Cuba, which led to going to San Miguel de Allende in Mexico first, and then if I was there I might as well go see friends in Puerto Vallarta… You see how it goes. One things leads to the next, and I’m off.


What’s your favorite place to visit?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’m a Travel Whore. I like ‘em all. OK, so I didn’t have a great time in Egypt, for example, but that doesn’t mean I hated it… it’s just not my favorite. Or sometimes I say: “My favorite is the last one I went to,” but that sounds like a cop out, too. I suppose I’d say that I would always go back to Paris or Bangkok or Cape Town, so does that mean they’re my favorites? I suppose so. Sure, they’re my favorites. (Along with Lisbon, Istanbul, Lima, Montreal and Goa.) What a whore.


Are you just full of yourself, or what?

Man, if you only knew what a puddle of insecurity I am! Sure, I’ve maybe lived a different life than some, but I have a long list of people who put me to shame… people who have traveled much more widely than myself, or perhaps much more deeply. It’s all a matter of degrees. I just chose to go it alone, for the most part, which allowed me different choices. It’s certainly not better, and the only thing I’m full of is fat cells.


Do you really collect Santa Claus’?

Why yes, I do! I’m not a maniac about it, I pass up many more than I ever buy. I have somewhere around 800 of them, and they’re all safely stored at the Cheyenne Botanic Garden in Cheyenne, Wyoming—thanks to my ol’ buddy Shane Smith, who’s the Director there. I have found, and bought them, in many countries and it always surprises me how that icon seems to crop up in the weirdest places: Thailand, Lebanon and South Africa. If you’d like, please feel free to psychoanalyze why I like the Big Guy so much… maybe because he’s usually in red?


So is red your favorite color?

In a word: yes.