Meet Booker, A Unique Teen Traveler


Photo Credit: Tania Cypriano

This is one in a series of interviews about our neighborhoods and the people who love them. Would you like to participate? Click here for more information about contributing to Neighborhood Nomads.

December 15, 2012, Washington, DC: Booker Mitchell calls me shortly after he hops out of a cab on a busy Friday afternoon in New York City. He doesn’t always take a cab, but he had a lot to carry this afternoon leaving school. You see, Booker is not only a true city nomad and National Geographic Traveler‘s newly minted Traveler of the Year, he’s also a student in the 10th grade.

Incidentally, Booker is also a friend of my brother’s despite their age difference of more than 20 years, and that’s how I came to admire Booker’s work as both a traveler and a young journalist. I love watching his webisodes on Booker Travels as he skateboards and surfs throughout the world, and I relate completely to his mantra, “Live Life Outside.” In short, this insightful and worldy teenager exemplifies what it means to be a neighborhood nomad, and by the time he leaves school and begins the weekend, we have a lot to discuss.

Read on for an interview with Booker Mitchell.

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Living in Brooklyn Heights: Sarah’s Room of Her Own

brooklyn heights studio

Photo Credit: Sarah Baker

This is one in a series of interviews about our neighborhoods and the people who love them. Would you like to participate? Click here for more information about contributing to Neighborhood Nomads.

December 11, 2012, Washington, DC: I don’t remember the exact moment we met, but I’m fairly certain it took Sarah Baker and I less than 10 seconds to become friends when she arrived in San Francisco. Despite our nearly one foot difference in height, we had a lot in common: a common dear friend; failed dreams of becoming a gymnast; a love for eating bagels while sitting on the sidewalk and watching the neighbors stroll by; and a tendency for everyone we know to call us by both our first and last names. Sarah Baker had moved to San Francisco after spending several months in Australia; I’d lived in Australia just a few years prior. She had a great enthusiasm for traveling and exploring the City By the Bay. She had a sister named Kate.

We soon shared an apartment too, which brought about a shared experience in cluttered living. The three of us who lived there had a lot of stuff, and many of Sarah Baker’s belongings happened to be purple and glittered. We decorated the refrigerator with alphabet magnets and hung an inflatable green alien in front of the window overlooking Polk Street above the washing machine.

Safe to say we’ve come a long way since. Today, Sarah Baker — dear friend, former roommate and loyal blog commenter — is featured here as an example in streamlined living.

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Home: Where The Structural Is Personal

November 4, 2012, Washington, DC: A storm like Hurricane Sandy pushes to the forefront many of the topics discussed regularly here on Neighborhood Nomads. In alignment with the tagline at the top of this site, storm stories are stories of our homes, our neighborhoods, and the power — and vulnerabilities — of the physical places we inhabit. The devastation left behind has us focused on our communities, our neighbors, our infrastructure, our cities and our towns. It’s clear at times like this that our connections to the places we call home are both physical and emotional. The structural is personal.

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Miles from Monday: Hunkering Down

hunker down

October 29, 2012, Washington, DC: Suffice it to say this is no typical Monday. Already laundry is in the dryer and chili is on the stove. Crossword complete. Floors vacuumed. Leftovers gone. Nearly nap time. Hurricane Sandy is approaching my East Coast hometowns, and she’s making a longwinded entrance. Southport is evacuated. Wall Street and the subway are closed. The federal government and DC schools sit empty. Our cities are rainy and windy, but mostly they are very grey.

I sit down and begin J.K. Rowling’s latest book, The Casual Vacancy. Chapter 1 starts like this: ‘Monday. Brace yourself.’

Now is the time to hunker down. Sandy has miles to go before our hometowns get back to business.

Miles from Monday is a weekly series focused on venturing out of the spaces we inhabit during our work week and retreating to landscapes that feel far from routine.

Related Posts on Neighborhood Nomads:


A Breathable Street on a New York Morning

New York Morning, October 2012October 21, 2012, New York: I love mornings in New York, especially after arriving here at night and in traffic. In the early morning, Manhattan’s streets are again breathable and streams of sunlight barrel between buildings onto this city island. Runners dodge down near empty avenues while there’s still room. Night owls in pajamas slowly walk their dogs.

I’ve never been much of a night owl, but there was no choice but to become one as a college student here in New York. I’m glad that’s no longer required of me and I can again relish my role as a morning person in the city that never sleeps. It’s the best time to look at New York’s architecture all lit up from the east and see its buildings reflected in puddles before the images are eclipsed by shoes and taxicabs.

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Miles From Last Monday: What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Summer vacation, July 2012

August 6, 2012, Washington, DC: Today please welcome back the return of a Monday morning series that’s taken an extended vacation since Neighborhood Nomads went plural. Today I’m bringing back Miles from Monday, a weekly feature about venturing out of the spaces we inhabit during our work week and retreating to landscapes that feel far from routine. This regular dose of armchair travel has a place here on the blog because ‘being away’ has always informed my understanding of ‘being home’. Don’t you always return from a trip with a fresh perspective on your hometown after seeing what else is out there?

After spending the bulk of summer close to home following a year of whirlwind travel, I headed out this week, logging a couple hundred miles since last Monday. Nothing earth-shattering, just a few days of travel through the wilds of Washington, New York and New Jersey. Photos of the people and places I encountered on the other end of my bike ride, train ride and car ride are included here:

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