Featured Traveler: Bob Finnegan

Bob is from Dublin, Ireland. Addicted to travel since 2005 after a too short month of backpacking around Europe. The following year he moved to Australia with a number of stops along the way and since then he has been blessed to experience incredible (mis)adventures through Asia, Africa, Europe (again) and the Americas seeing the most stunning of scenery, finding himself in the most ludicrous of situations and meeting the most exceptional people. 

 You can follow Bob and enjoy his breathtaking photography on Instagram: @bobfinneganphotography

 RareJaunt: How old were you when you first went overseas?

 If I was to hazard a guess I’d say maybe three or four, on a ferry from Dublin to the Isle of Mann. I have very little memory of this but I know we used to go for my dad’s work. It was the 80’s and if we weren’t camping somewhere in the south of Ireland for vacation the Isle of Mann would be the more glamorous of destinations for the family, with aunt’s and uncles and cousins in tow. I’ve an odd suspicion it hasn’t changed much since then either. 


RJ: What do you remember about your first travel experience, or what is your first travel memory?

I guess the earliest distinct travel memories I have is from a family trip when I was ten. We were visiting relatives that had moved to Australia. We had a three night layover in Singapore and it must have been the first time I experienced a real hotel, complete with rooftop swimming pool, which to me at the time was the most wonderful thing. Fast forward to Australia and getting to see kangaroos, snakes, koalas all up close was so captivating. I think it’s safe to say the seeds of adventure were planted in my mind from an early age and I didn’t even know it then.


RJ: What is something you would never travel without?

An open mind and a sense of wonder. This is how we best learn and grow. I firmly believe that with this perspective experiences become far more potent and any challenge becomes surmountable. We are definitely becoming far too reliant on technology and modern conveniences and I truly feel it diminishes the positive influence travel can have. As a rule of thumb the easier something is, invariably it is less rewarding. 


RJ: Where is the nicest establishment you have stayed? Why was it special?  

The back of a Subaru Outback or a tent because there’s nothing better than waking up in the shade of a forest beside an incredible woman and a 50lb dog. 


RJ: If you could recommend a place to a fellow traveller, where would it be? 

I’d have to know the person a little first, understand what they value in an experience and what they’re hoping to gain (or give) from a trip. More often than not I will recommend getting out into nature as opposed to cities or towns because thats were I feel most content. Being amongst the redwood trees on the California coast, hanging out with faeries in Hogsback, South Africa or following the footsteps of rebels in the Sierra Maestra, Cuba. All incredible places for a multitude of reasons.


RJ: Describe a culinary experience that stands out from a vacation abroad. 

The strangest food I’ve tried has been in Vietnam before I went vegetarian. Deep fried baby bird and the snake feast including drinking its bile and blood certainly stand out. Not something I’m proud of, and definitely wouldn’t be sampling it these days. I’ve been so lucky to get to sample the most delicious food all around the world, from home cooked, street food, traditional dishes and even the occasional posh restaurant when the occasion called for it. Particular foodie havens include Oaxaca, Mexico, Hoi An in Vietnam for seafood in particular, and Northern Thai cuisine. 


RJ: What is your idea of an enjoyable vacation?

One with no end date and no itinerary. Being put out of my comfort zone and having the opportunity to learn from other peoples and cultures philosophies. Finding myself in surreal situations with fascinating (wildly eccentric) characters. Trying all of the (vegetarian) foods. With friends who are practiced at the art of real conversation. Also being in beautiful surroundings, swinging in my hammock with plenty of books to get through. Oh and preferably warm, no, very warm.

RJ: Who would be your ideal travel companion? 

Bill Murray. Pretty self explanatory. 


RJ: What do you miss most when you are away from home? 

My niece Lily. She turns three this year. 


RJ: What country do you believe to be underrated? What about overrated? 

This is a very difficult question to answer concisely and sincerely, I’ve never paid that much close attention to how other people rate a country for a number of reasons and I also know the opinions that sit with me regarding somewhere are heavily influenced by the state of mind I was in, and how I look back on the experience. I think Steinbeck can explain this better “So much there is to see, but our morning eyes describe a different world than do our afternoon eyes, and surely our wearied evening eyes can report only a weary evening world”. 


RJ: Where is next on your list of places to travel to? Why? 

No idea right now. I am hoping to explore more of my home country this summer if I manage to stick around that long. I’ve had Georgia (the country) floating around in the back of my head for a while now and I’ve also felt a draw to Iran lately. Most of my travel decisions have been pretty spontaneous and I’ve very little doubt the next adventure will commence on a notion and a whim. 


Remember to give @bobfinneganphotography a follow!