Interview with Erik Gauger: Notes From The Road

Decades ago, back when the Internet was something new and exciting, I was slowly crawling through various pages as fast as those Dial-Up Speeds would allow me when I found a site called Notes From The Road hosted by a fellow explorer named Erik Gauger.

What I found fascinated me and kept me checking back as often as I could to try and see and learn about the new places Erik would explore. His mode of travel interested me and his style of writing was very easy to read. His words hit home and I hung on every word. His photography was, is and has always been Top Notch, and since we all know I live and breathe Photography, you can see how I fell so in love with his website and his photography skills.

I took notes, jotted down places to visit and his website only threw gasoline on the fire I had of wanting to be out exploring myself. Even after Cindy and I left on the open road, I still checked in as often as I could to see what he was up to.

Erik Gauger, Notes Of The Road, Travel, Every Miles A Memory

Erik with his Large Format camera in the field

I recently contacted Erik with a series of questions that I felt would help you get to know him better. I plan on updating my own site with a series of interviews with fellow adventure seekers that host blogs I like to follow. I was honored to have a long time icon of mine be the first interview I posted up. Hopefully you’ll enjoy his website and photography as much as you enjoy mine and hopefully by reading the various blogs I’ll link up to over the next few months, you’ll be able to find new and exciting places to explore for yourself.

To introduce you to Erik, here is a quick introduction from his website bio page.

I am a self-employed father based in the Pacific Northwest. I sketch Notes from the Road stories on the road, with only one or two edits afterwords. I travel on tight budgets, often to what I call ordinary places. We can fly ourselves off to exotic destinations, but one of my hopes is to show you that the pleasures of travel exists even with a stroll through your neighborhood.

I started this project in December 1999 to humor and entertain my friends. Since I have moved about from place to place throughout my life, I needed a way to keep in touch with my friends. I grew up with a few unusual and useless hobbies – underwater photography, plant and animal identification, and an interest in history, archaeology and maps. This site puts those useless skills to work.”

Here are some of the questions I asked Erik and his answers he replied with. Please check out Erik’s website to enjoy his amazing photography and writing

Favorite Book?  

I was haunted by Never Let Me Go.  Books are so important for me while traveling, and my memory about being in the Bocas del Toro archipelago during non-stop rain is of this haunting book.  Being inside a book while simultaneously being somewhere new and foreign does wonderful things to the mind – it sets you off in two different directions.  Many of my memories of travel are of being lost in a book.

Collector of Anything?

I always bird while I travel, and so I collect bird species.  I have seen 999 of the world’s 10,000 birds, and I had a goal at the beginning of the year to reach 1,000.  But because of my travel schedule for the last couple weeks of the year, getting that last bird will be close to impossible.  I do also collect sightings of reptiles, amphibians, orchids, butterflies, dragonflies and sea creatures.  I keep a detailed excel spreadsheet of each.  Natural world identification is something that really motivates me while traveling, and, it is a completely free form of collecting.  A list is the cheapest collection, but it is also the most fulfilling, because in that list is memories and earned knowledge.

I also collect pachypodiums.  These are a genus of shrubs which primarily come from Madagascar.  They really are like a cross between palm trees and cactuses.

I’ve started up a hobby with my son of building jungles and rivers out of legos.  We do this only in the darkest and rainiest months here in Portland.

Erik Gauger, Lego River, Every Miles A Memory, Interview

A LEGO River Erik built with his son

Favorite Drink?

Dark Rum, Straight.

You win 1 million dollars, what would you do?

My son.  College.

Favorite Food?

Pata Negra ham from Spain.

What’s the first thing you notice in the opposite sex?

You can immediately get a sense from a woman if they have passion for the world and life they inhabit.  Whether they are interested in this life they are passing through.  And it comes out in their eyes and face.

Clean or Messy Person?

I strive to be very organized, but it comes from an inherent messiness.  I have few possessions because it is the messy person’s way of being neat.

 Do you like to dance?

Of course!

Are you a dreamer or a reality type?

To fall asleep, I imagine fantastical stories.  When I am awake, I dream of other places.

If you could go one place and live the rest of your life where would it be?

At the edge of a jungle and ocean in the neotropics – bare feet, dark rum, hammocks, ukuleles, lots of birds, butterflies and orchids.

Name your most favorite goal you’ve completed so far?

My son just had his first loose tooth, and I was frightened to have to pull it out for him.  I didn’t know that you actually are supposed to just let them fall out.  Blood and anything medical frightens me.  I couldn’t sleep at night.  Every day the tooth got a little looser and I knew I would have to yank it.  Then one day he came home from school with his tooth in his hand.  Goal accomplished!

Morning or Night Person?

I aspire to be a morning person.

Name a goal you feel you must complete before leaving this world?

I want to contribute meaningfully to the debate about tourism development and its impact on the environment.

Describe yourself in one word?


Desert island, one item, what would it be?

A monolith of granite from an Italian quarry in nice marbled tan colors.  This would be used for the walls and floors and to line the aqueduct.

Saver or Spender?


Favorite Sound?

Mornings in a jungle canopy.

Lots Of or Few True Friends?

I love people and admire people who have a lot of good friends.  I also admire people who have a handful of true friends.  After four decades, I realize I am neither.  I am not anti-social, nor a bad friend, but I am a lone wolf.  I appreciate making friendships out of strangers, having solid acquaintances, running into people I haven’t seen in years and having it be like we saw each other yesterday.

Favorite movie of all time?

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.  Miyazaki has a way of creating worlds and drawing a sense of wonder and discovery.

Favorite travel item?

A Moleskine Journal; it can entertain me endlessly while also providing me with all the details to keep me organized and on top of details while I travel.  Gadgets and various organizers to do the same always fail, and electronics are never reliable in the field.

Mountain Hideaway OR Beach House?

Beach House.

What do you like to do other than travel?

I have this habit of trying not to distinguish travel from, say, being on a walk in my neighborhood or exploring the city I live in.  So, if I’m in Portland, sketching or visiting the farmer’s market with my wife and son, it is the equivalent of travel to me.  So, sketching, trying new foods or restaurants, looking for a new bird or butterfly, maybe these hobbies aren’t really considered travel, but to me it is that act of being outdoors, or discovering something new, that I like to do.  It stems from being interested in a lot of different things – of not wanting to pick up a specific thing because I am a generalist.  Travel writing, travel photography, travel sketching and identifying animals and plants are generalist hobbies.  They are open-ended in that they are ways to include everybody elses’ hobbies, or the subjects of the world, into 4 neat packages.

If you were a cartoon character, who would it be, and why?

Yakul.  He’s the red elk from Princess Mononoke.  I would like to run like the wind.

How many languages do you speak and what are they?

I speak English and German.

Lastly; Favorite quote?

“Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe.” – Anatole France

I’d like to thank Erik for taking the time to answer these questions and sharing his passion of photography and writing with fellow travelers like Cindy and I.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

2 Responses to “Interview with Erik Gauger: Notes From The Road”

  1. Larry VanstoneJanuary 25, 2014 at 11:41 pm #

    Hi Pat. I’m working my way through the 50 top blog list and when I got to you I was excited to see your interview with him. I too follow Erik. His photography amazes me.
    We have been to Cedar Key twice and both times stayed in the park next door to you. My wife and I have spent some mighty fine hours in your Tiki bar. Good to meet you, love your blog. Larry


  1. Interview with Liz Clark | Every Miles A Memory - February 19, 2014

    […] back, I was fortunate enough to do an interview with Erik Gauger who hosts the travel/photo website Note’s From the Road. In keeping with that dialogue of introducing some of my readers to other blogs and explorers I […]

Leave a Reply