Interview of Pam Mandel of Nerd’s Eye View: Lucky 13 Questions 15


As she says on her site, Nerd’s Eye View, let’s meet the nerd. I “meet” Pam on Twitter, when I dove into a discussion/argument that she was having. I didn’t realize at the time, but thank the lord that I was on her side. And I never wish to be on the other side of any similar public discussion in the future, for fear that I will be forced to commit Twitter hari kari to defend my shattered honor.

Outspoken, honest, blunt, knowledgeable and interesting — so much so that I might even forgive her for her for her apparent propensity to play the ukulete (bad hostel flashback for me). That is I will forgive and buy a cup of tea or wine, when and if I have the good fortune of meeting her and her husband in person.

So go read her blog and follow her on Twitter and enjoy a look into her mind via the Lucky 13:

1. Worst meal you have ever had?

In a rather attractive restaurant in Saigon, I can’t remember the name, only that the place specialized in, according to their menu, the food of Hue. I’d been to Hue and eaten rather well, but in Saigon, at this specialty restaurant, everything they put in front of me was, to my unsophisticated palate, inedible. I still shudder when I think about the salty, rubbery foodstuffs, all of them unidentifiable, all of them perfectly disgusting to my taste. It was very frustrating, the place was so pretty, the staff so friendly, and the food, so perfectly awful. Bleh.

Pam’s best and worst hanging together – Albright and Kim Jong II (2000 official visit)

2. If you could travel with one person for one week, then never see or hear from them again in your lifetime, who would you choose?

You know, the chances of my getting to travel with Madelaine Albright twice, not to mention once, are so slim that I’d take her for a travel companion for a week knowing that the opportunity to travel with her even for a mere seven days was worth the cost of never getting to enjoy her company again.

3. Most annoying person in the world.

Only one? Steve Balmer irritates the daylights out of me. The entire Bush dynasty. Kim Jong-il, though he’s more creepy than annoying. (Another editorial comment – I sent questions out simultaneously to a few people and Gary and Pam share a dislike of North Korean dictators). Michelle Malkin. Yeesh. No, I’m not going to take personal potshots at nonpublic figures, though it IS tempting.

4. What is the #1 item on you personal bucket list?

Here’s a crazy thing: I don’t have a bucket list. I’d like to take my husband back to Yulara, where we met, I’d like to see the temples at Borobudur, I’d like to see elephants in the wild. But I have been so lucky to get to travel as much as I have. No joke, once I was in a crazy situation where I thought — completely inappropriately — that my cab driver was going to kill me and dump my body in the Costa Rica rain forest. And while I was processing that idea, I thought, huh, I’ve had a pretty good run. I guess I’m okay with this. I hope it’s over quickly, that’s all. Can I have a painless death be number one on my bucket list?

someone get Pam a toke

5. Most vivid childhood memory (under 10 years old).

My childhood memories are sketchy, at best. (Insert optional editorial about what smoking too much pot in your teen years does to your data bank.) But I have two that are still quite clear. One is of walking across a backyard covered with snow to cross in to our own backyard through a low gate — my mom says this was our home in New Jersey. And the other is of my first flight. Upon successfully completing what I think was a cross country journey, I walked on to the jet way and threw up at the stewardess’s feet. Oh, yeah, I showed promise as a traveler from a very early age.

6. Fill in the blank: I will go see any movie that ________ is in.

Owen Wilson. But take note, a lot of Owen Wilson pics are by Wes Anderson, and I love Wes Anderson. [Annoying interviewer commentary: I apparently went to high school with Owen and Luke Wilson, but have no recollection of either of them at all. O’ well]

7. Most annoying trait of fellow travel bloggers.

Disingenuousness. I really dislike it when people aren’t honest about their motives or situation. A close second? Excuses for not working to become a better writer. “I never said I was a writer!” Okay then, STOP WRITING. A-hem.

8. You can be transported to one specific day and location in history — what would it be?

On March 2, 2001, the Taliban began dynamiting the Bamiyan Buddhas. I had wanted to see them ever since I’d learned they existed. I’d like to be in Bamiyan on the day they were completed, to see them in their new and unweathered state, covered in their brightly colored painted robes. I cried the day I learned they’d been destroyed, and my heart still breaks when I think about them.

9. Current musical group or artist that you would most like to see live.

In a “get it before it’s gone” move, I really need to catch a Willie Nelson show. I love me some Willie Nelson. “Won’t you ride in my little red wagon…”

10. Best present you have ever received.

I got up on my birthday and my husband had already gone to work, but sitting in the kitchen in the perfect morning sunshine was a jar of golden honey collected by a local bee keeper. I was stunned. I love good honey, plus, it was so pretty there in the light.

11. What question would most likely make you laugh or cry when Barbara Walters interviews you on national TV?

“Why did it take you so long to write that book?”

12. Let’s hear one of your guilty pleasures — a good, embarrassing one.

Warning: Crack Cocaine

Cracklin’ Oat Bran. Have you eaten that stuff? It’s freaking addictive and sure, it’s high in fiber, but what EVER, it is the crack cocaine of breakfast cereals. I don’t buy it because I have to eat the entire box at once. Every now and then, when I’m out shopping, I buy a box and eat half of it in the car on the way home. Maybe that’s not that embarrassing, but it is delicious. I also like canned refried beans and supermarket cheddar wrapped in a flour tortilla and fried up in a skilled grilled cheese style. I know it’s disgusting. And delicious.

13. You are able to ask one yes/no question to anyone in history and get a 100% honest reply — what is your question and to whom?

Here’s the problem with these kinds of questions. I’m a digger. I could never be satisfied with a yes/no answer and walk away, not for any scenario I can think of. If I could ask Edward Teller if he knew the bomb would cause such havoc, and then, he answered yes, I’d have to ask why he kept working on it. What peace could I find with from only a yes/no answer? I’m more interested in “whys” than binary answers, so I think I’ll just walk away, not knowing, rather than opening this can of worms.


About Michael Hodson

Iā€™m an attorney that took off on my birthday in December of 2008 to circumnavigate the globe without ever getting on an airplane. After 16 months, 6 continents and 44 countries, I made it all the way back home. Right now, I am back on the road writing about it all.


15 thoughts on “Interview of Pam Mandel of Nerd’s Eye View: Lucky 13 Questions

  • Jaime D.

    Oh PAM i love ya already!!! How am I just finding you? I am now following you~

    Great interview and I love your bluntness I am a huge fan of that!!!

  • Michael Hodson Post author

    thanks for everyone’s comments. Pam has become one of my favorite Tweeps and I need to spend a few hours just sitting and reading her great blog some more.

  • pam

    Aw, shucks, you all. šŸ™‚

    And hey, I mean it. Don’t ever use the “I’m not a writer, I’m a blogger,” excuse around me. I’ll take your keyboard away. Don’t test me…I WILL do it.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      (Note to self – don’t ask Pam to review your writing skills… fragile male ego may crack….)

  • Rachel

    Thanks for the great early morning read! I want to take the yes/no question answer and use it as my own – it’s so true. A simple yes or no would never be satisfying to any questions I really want to know the answer to. Also, I am going to try this Cracklin’ Oat Bran. Much like the 4 Loko warnings, anything that sounds potential dangerous has to be tried.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      you are on the list to be interviewed – beware of wanting to be in the cross hairs šŸ˜‰

  • Nancy D. Brown

    Always fun to read about fellow travel bloggers.

    I’ve had the pleasure of serving on travel panels with Pam and she is, indeed, funny and blunt.
    She is also a Hawaii loving Uke nerd living in Seattle. And I say that with all due respect.

    Respect for Pam and the Seattle bloggers who launched Passports with Purpose. Rock on, Pam.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      Glad you are following her! That is one of the big points of this interview series. Getting good people out there and letting others meet and follow them. Thank you.

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