Marguerite MacCurtin: “A good traveler has no fixed plans and does not want to arrive”
Marguerite MacCurtin is a writer, presenter and intrepid traveler. She has tried many lives for greatness – and has also worked as a model and lecturer in her time. She was born in Galway and now lives in Dublin with her husband Frank.
how were you as a little girl
I grew up in Dunfandle in East Galway and have been a nomad from the start. My first plan was to go to the moon. My mother equipped me with paper wings and provisions. We lived near the forest so I flew down in the moonlight but I couldn’t take off.
Choose three words that describe you.
Loyal, proactive, compassionate.
Which book inspired you the most?
The Book of Tea by Okakura Kakuzo inspired me deeply. It’s about the Japanese not having time for perfection. Instead, they focus on the imperfection – the cracked shell, which they spray paint and then thread with gold to emphasize its fragility. It focuses on the simple things in life.
Best advice you got?
I learn by going where I need to go.
Best advice you give?
I don’t have any fixed plans. A good traveler has no fixed plans and does not want to arrive.
Why are you flying past the bottom of your pants?
I never make a plan because plans create a sense of expectation. Then you miss the gist of the whole trip while waiting to see things. If you don’t see things, then you are disappointed.
Who or what do you attribute your wanderlust to?
It’s just an impulse. It’s part of my DNA. I just have to travel. I’m never happier than when I’m in an airport looking at an impossible place in an impossible country and trying to get there.
Why are you traveling alone?
I am traveling alone because I am the oldest child. I don’t need a minute to make friends. I will meet a person on the plane.
What are your favorite aspects of solo travel?
If you travel alone and without a safety net, you have to be satisfied with yourself. I don’t find that isolating at all. I love floating in time – when you have time to breathe and think and the world can open up to you. I think if your heart isn’t open then you won’t be open to the experience either.
Do you have a sense of danger?
I’m more afraid of people than situations. I have a gift for connecting with people, but I also have an intuitive sense of danger. It got me here for sure. When you travel, you need to make good decisions for yourself.
Tell us about your idea of heaven when it comes to travel.
I like that free-floating feeling of being on my own. time out Many years ago I embarked on a very short journey up the Nile. I like going to places that are difficult to access and very rare, like Bhutan and Tibet. I don’t make pilgrimages, but I follow pilgrimages – like the Incense Route or the Salt Route in the Himalayas.
What has travel taught you?
It taught me that we don’t need language to communicate. You can do a lot non-verbally.
At 16 you were an au pair in Paris. How has your life changed?
I saw all these signposts and realized I could go anywhere. I could get in a car and drive to Italy and the rest of Europe. It was such a liberating moment.
Why don’t you take photos when you travel?
I never put a machine between me and the actual place. If you look for a frame, you won’t see anything. In photos, a mountain looks like 300 other mountains. Traveling is about being stopped in time, away from technology.
Does your husband feel the same about traveling?
no His idea of a good vacation is a trip to a comfortable hotel, connected to all modern sources of modern technology.
Any packing tips?
The further I go, the easier I travel. I always bring a hot water bottle and cleansing cream with me. And I’m obsessed with sunscreen and sun hats. I dress like a beekeeper so that even a slanting sunbeam doesn’t catch me. I think it’s that important.
Marguerite MacCurtin’s Invisible Threads is published by Beehive Books and is available now
https://www.independent.ie/life/family/marguerite-maccurtin-a-good-traveller-has-no-fixed-plans-and-is-not-intent-on-arriving-42283573.html Marguerite MacCurtin: “A good traveler has no fixed plans and does not want to arrive”