A Deep Dive Into New York’s Subways With Ed Hotchkiss

Lawrence Weschler at Wondercabinet: Ed Hotchkiss was born in Denver in 1956 and remained thereabouts in the middle of the country through college at the University of Colorado, which is hardly to say that he stayed put. Already by age 21 he’d hitchhiked through all 48 states in the mainland United States. After college he enrolled in the graduate business school at Columbia, somehow managing to get into International Student Housing (they must have been accepting aspirational globalists as well at the time), which is how it happened that, on a trip to the UN with one of his International Student friends, he met Khadija Musa, a fetchingly vivid Somali woman from Kenya who was working as a guide there at the time but would go on to a far-flung wide-ranging career in the UN system, and the two of them have been together, on and off, ever since. I say, “on and off” only in the sense that both would soon begin ranging wide and flunging far. Ed, in the meantime, having achieved his business degree and presently a CPA certification, had drifted into banking risk and credit management, moving from company to company, eventually culminating at AIG, where he served as chief credit officer in the international division for ten years. Which in turn is to say that he was being sent all over the world to scope out situations on the ground in country after country. Risk assessment isn’t only identifying downsides but also evaluating and celebrating treasures and ferreting out opportunities as well: looking and looking close. And in country after country, both on these business trips and across intervening vacations, he would make a point of scoping and valuing deeper and deeper into the backcountry, far off the beaten track, simply out of ever-dappling curiosity.

By now he has been to over 100 such countries, though he still hopes to have visited them all before he hangs up his backpack for good. “But what do you call a country?” he shoots back when I ask him how many more he has left to go. “The UN says there are 193, a number which includes the Vatican and Palestine, but not such nonvoting members as Taiwan and Kosovo. I’ve been picking up my game, in these my retirement years, though the recent Covid siege set me back a little. Still, I hope to visit them all, and not just visit but take the time to get a deep sense of each.” And you can follow his ongoing adventures and ever-widening insights in that regard on his utterly absorbing website.

More here.