Mark Alvarado is a UCLA alumnus that works in the field of graphic design. Most of his projects are related to marketing or promotional campaigns for start-up businesses. Besides work, he spends a lot of his time indulging in his favorite hobby, archery. Having practiced his shooting for over five years, one could say that Mark Alvarado is one of the best non-competitive bowmen around. Also, although the address of his primary residence is in Palo Alto, California, he owns property in Marfa, Texas. Besides archery and graphic design, he often spends time traveling all over the United States. Some of his trips even crossed the borders and reached international destinations like Germany and Austria.
What is your favorite thing about traveling?
The fact that I get to see something I have never witnessed before. I also love learning about other cultures, languages, norms, and rituals. What surprised me the most in my travels is the wide discrepancy between sub-cultures in the United States. For example, you could go to Texas after visiting Oklahoma and, even though these two states border one another, people that you meet will have very little in common. Imagine how different it is to go all the way to Seattle to meet people on the West Coast and then compare that to New York and all the fast talkers from the East Coast.
Is traveling a hobby or a lifestyle for you? How did you get started?
I like to think of it is a critical part of my lifestyle. One of my favorite quotes says that we are a byproduct of our experiences. Based on that, I will be a better version of myself if my life contains multiple diverse endeavors and traveling seems like a pretty diversifying experience to me. As far as me starting, it happened when I was still a teenager. I would often go on trips with my family during our school vacations. That instilled my passion for discovering new places.
Do you have any exciting travel dates planned for the future?
I plan on going to Texas in the next month or so. Although it will not exactly be a ground-breaking travel for me, I always anticipate my trips to Marfa with a huge dose of excitement. I mean, it is not like I get to shoot my arrows around Palo Alto whenever I feel like it. Texas, on the other hand, is a perfect place to unwind and enjoy some old-fashioned archery mixed with clean air and uninterrupted silence.
What are some travel tips you’d give to someone inexperienced?
Micromanage your trip. How long will you need to get from the airport to your hotel or house? Will there be a taxi waiting for you when you land? What days do you plan to see your family/friends? Do you need to set up travel notices with your bank? Who will take care of your property while you are gone? Trust me, leaving these types of questions unanswered can destroy your entire trip. Meaning, any minor oversight can snowball into a catastrophe that could shorten your voyage.
Where would you like to go?
I always dreamed about visiting Greece. I cannot count how many times I have seen commercials with see-through ocean water splashing sandy beaches that stretch for miles. As expected, they are usually depicting Greece shores. Although the current state of their economy is not as beautiful as their landscape, I have heard many positive experiences form people who went there.
Where would you like to revisit?
You can probably guess this one. I am always open to revisiting Marfa. There is a certain level of joy when you have a property of your own in a completely different state. It gives a perfect background to a getaway weekend or a mini-vacation. Not to forget that it is the only place where my arrows can fly as free as I want them to!
Do you travel alone? Why?
It depends. By no means am I surrounded by castle walls that make it impossible for people to approach me. On the contrary, I believe that a shared trip is always better than an experience where one is a lone wolf. With that being said, however, I will admit that some trips should be done without any partners in crime. Those include occasional vacations where people need to self-reflect for whatever reason.
If you could pick the top 3 places every person should go, what would they be?
As far as the United States, it would probably be California, Texas, and Florida. Although I am a little biased, I believe that these three are the most beautiful states in the nation. Internationally, however, I would say Germany, Grece, and Spain.
Do you travel light or do you pack up the house?
I pack up the house and then some more. It is a part of my whole “micromanage” principle. Nevertheless, I completely understand people who just take a backpack and go somewhere. If my organizational skills were not borderline obsessive, I could probably avoid bringing items that I do not need. Regardless, being prepared is something that I value beyond additional charges that airline companies often place on my account. Not all my friends agree with that approach.