Find out in the following conversation we had with Claire and Tim, how travelers from various backgrounds, having varying preferences, come together and share experiences owing to their common love of discovery. Claire is an ex-music-industry careerist turned seasonal worker in tourism-related jobs, and Tim is a traveler with mobility issues who took an Accessibility Awareness Around the World Journey to prove that mobility limitations do not prevent one from getting out.

Hi, Claire, would you like to tell us something about yourself? And Tim, thanks a ton for participating in Travel Chat, which we believe would undoubtedly add more value to the conversation.

Claire: I’m an ex-music-industry careerist turned seasonal worker in tourism-related jobs. I’ve worked at hostels, ski resorts, and now a national park. My fav methods of travel are hiking, hitchhiking, trains, & road trips!

Tim: Sounds like quite a difference in careers though probably less stressful. Hopefully, its been working out for you.

Claire: Much less stressful! It feels more in line w/who I am as well, which takes away a certain kind of stress I didn't know I had. Less stability now but more freedom (odd because getting into punk wasn’t about stability). Actually, feel like I’m living out my punk ideals now more than ever.

Tim: Thus the "Less Is More" philosophy of life

Claire: Exactly! Kerouac and Bukowski are big influences on me as well. I have a Bukowski tattoo!

Tim: John Steinbeck's "Travels with Charley" is a big influence for me to take solo road trips around the country.

Claire: AWESOME, I need new recommendations, especially from people who get my mindset. Thank you I will definitely get my hands on this

Tim: You're welcome, if you're ever in the Monterey area you can visit see his truck & camper that he traveled in at the Steinbeck Center in Salinas.

Wow, that is a great piece of information, Tim! I'm sure our readers will find it useful.

Getting back to Claire, I was wondering why did you become the "ex-music careerist?" Was the runaround starting to bother you at a point?

Claire: Yes, I recently decided my values & priorities don’t line up with the work I was doing in music, so I hope to travel full time. But I still can never fully break from it, it’s in my blood. I could see maybe combining music & travel one day by helping bands with visas etc. Music also fuels my travels, it informs my view of myself.

The vision of combining music and travel by assisting indie bands is great. I'm sure you'd get there, given your experience. Now, that you plan to travel full time, would you still consider yourself to be 'travel-lost' or are you moving towards 'travel-lust'?

Claire: There are definitely ways; I could've been a tour manager but they deal with a lot of crap, lol.

Still travel-lost! I believe in letting the wind take you where it may. I barely plan my trips (except in regards to safety, usually). Things will ALWAYS get in the way of plans so I embrace that.

Claire: I go to destinations that make me feel like as much of an outlaw as my favorite rock’n’roll does & I recently went to a few cities just because I love songs about them, like Las Cruces (Two Gallants) & Wichita (White Stripes).

Thank you!!! Those are a lot of my favorite bands. The way they collect in certain cities based on shared experiences & ideals, is a fascinating cultural phenomenon to me, the idea of a “scene”.

Tim: That's cool, it's certainly a new way to travel especially to places that aren't normally on people's radar.

Claire: They come to life for me more than other places because I have a narrative about them in my head, they already mean something to me.

The count hardly matters, but just to get a rough idea, how much time have you spent hitchhiking and what's the best part of it?

Claire: Besides sporadically here & there, I once hitchhiked for 3 months but with stops in between at hostels & camping.

Can you name a place where you've been specifically to sink into the music and cultural phenomenon of the region; also mention why it was special?

Actually on second thoughts, you can spill your heart out about the experiences you had tied to music history while traveling.

Claire: I lived years in NYC while working in music so I had experiences tied to history, like visiting an artist recording at Electric Lady. But for one of my quick trips, I’d say MJ’s Neverland was special. I liked seeing the context of what the surrounding town is like (Los Olivos). I left wondering why he picked that location because I’d just visited Hearst Castle which is on a gorgeous beachside hill, & Nit Wit Ridge which is a junkyard palace in a hidden part of the town. Those make sense. MJ wanted privacy but the area wasn’t particularly serene in my opinion, just random & at times creepy. It was actually context-less, for a guy who was all about the dressings.

Re: Other historical experiences- I got to attend the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony, the year Kendrick inducted NWA! While traveling, I visited Rock Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Sun Studios in Nashville, lots of venues & festivals.

Tim: I've seen Shana Morrison (Van's daughter) perform at the former Record Plant in Sausalito, I made sure during her break to soak in the atmosphere where Fleetwood Mac recorded "Rumours".

Claire: Oh man! that’s a good one! It’s so weird to be inside a location with such significant ties to beloved records, your mind can’t grasp that it was created HERE, that these mics I'm looking at are what first translated that exact sound that's been copied & reproduced a million times.

Sitting in a small corner in India, we can still relate (though virtually) to your experiences, thanks to the inexhaustible outreach of American music and entertainment industry. Even without the allusions, the emotions are undoubtedly universal.

What have you gathered from traveling, on an individual level?

Claire: The best part is it teaches me that people are inherently good, & that I can allow myself to rely on my fellow man & they will come through. Kindness of strangers. People who picked me up in Alaska taught me about gill-netting, govt. sanctioned salmon rationing for families, purity of glacier water, how pilots there often have airport hangers instead of garages, laws on poaching, why Alaskans aren’t into gun control, & where to get the best pie. If I was scared or suspicious of everyone I’d have a horrible time every time I stepped out my door. You can’t live your life like that and you definitely can’t travel like that. Stuff can still happen even if you take every precaution and avoid everyone, so might as well relax.

Tim: Kinda like what I would tell people about riding on the New York Subway, as long as you avoid eye contact you should be fine.

Claire: Spot-on, and tourists think that makes locals “rude”! It’s the opposite of rude, by averting eyes we’re trying to give each other the one modicum of personal bubble left in a city where you’re constantly smooshed up against each other.

The New York subway reference surely presented a comic relief Tim, especially if you think about this segment from Jimmy Kimmel Live:

So Claire, we know you're much into hiking; have you met people on the way who are proportional with you in their love for music, let alone the love for travel?

Claire: I rarely meet people I can vibe with on music, honestly. From a business perspective at least, or with similar taste. Although, last week here at Grand Canyon I met a fellow employee who used to be a touring LD, so sounds like we’ve had similar lives! So I guess it does happen.

That's cool! How would you say has the positives & negatives of traveling shaped your personality?

Claire: The bizarre moments remind me that nothing is ever as pristine & perfectly packaged as we imagined it would be, & THAT’s actually the best part of living! They teach me patience & acceptance & a go-with-the-flow attitude, & to respect people’s differences. So it affects my personality in the sense that I can accept or discard elements of an artist’s philosophy based on what I learn about the context of their life & how they came to their conclusions.

Tim: Sounds as if you're practicing John Muir's philosophy of sauntering rather than hiking through life and stopping to take in the moments instead of going right by them.

Claire: Bingo! Hence, “The Detour Effect”. Man, I need to research more about Muir, sounds like my kind of guy.

Tim: You should, he certainly had his detours in his life.

Beautifully put. Thanks Tim for joining in, and of course for the philosophical insight you brought forth to round off this amazing conversation we had on decoding The Detour Effect!

Claire: Thanks so much for all the wonderful questions! You got me reflecting on myself in new ways, it was enjoyable and a challenge to test my ideals against specific inquiries.

Claire: Thanks Tim for joining in, I got so much value from your participation! Going to look up all the things we talked about.

Tim: You're welcome, glad that The Detour Effect invited to tonight's TravTalk.


A passionate traveler and an art connoisseur with mobility issues who has set out to tell the world once again that if there's a will there's no backing down.

The Detour EffectTraveler

An ex music industry professional turned traveler/hitchhiker who is in love with the road. Her major...

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