Ten Questions with Dan Fenner @Departing in 5 Minutes: PRIORHOUSE INTERVIEW

Today’s Interview features 10 QUESTIONS with blogger Dan Fenner. 

Dan is new to blogging and so this interview was all about getting to know him a bit.

1) Tell us a little bit about your background?

DAN: I worked for fifteen years as an ESL teacher, and then ten more years as a data specialist in the NYC Department of Education. My last ten years, I worked too much. Four days a week, I left the house at 6:45 am and didn’t get home until 9:30 at night. My wife Aixa and I thought, This isn’t life. So I retired pretty young and we left NYC.

2) What led you to start blogging?

DAN: My wife, Aixa, was the blogger who inspired me to blog. She had a WordPress blog once, five or six years ago. I was amazed how she connected with people. I was too busy with work to blog back then, but I always thought I’d try it when I had more time.

Aixa told me to look for blogger challenges. That was how how she connected with people when she blogged. So I decided to join in with the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. I like it a lot because each week’s topic can inspire me to write and show something I wouldn’t have thought about without the prompt.

PRIOR: Dan, your reason for blogging reminded me why so many folks participate with challenges – because the prompts can help turn on the faucet of ideas and allow us to share in a cohesive way with some of our unique creativity. 

3) If someone were to come to your blog – which posts would you suggest they check out? 

DAN: My favorite blog post is the Edward Hopper post, because it’s a combination of several experiences over the years.  https://departingin5mins.com/2023/02/10/edward-hoppers-world-of-isolation-is-loneliness-a-choice/

Dan and Aixa with Hopper Art 

I also like my Tijuana post, because it turned out to be an intriguing city. It’s called North Meets South Along The U.S.-Mexico Border.  https://departingin5mins.com/2023/02/12/north-meets-south-along-the-u-s-mexico-border/.


PRIOR: I think my favorite photo of yours is the one featured in your Looking Back post (here) for the Lens-Artist’s Photo Challenge.

Check out the layered history in Dan’s photo, which is the kind of image that seems to speak 1,000 words.

PRIOR: And speaking of the Lens-Artist’s challenge, today is the final day for the 243rd challenge – with the “It’s Tricky” theme, hosted by Donna.  The photos I wanted to share for this week’s theme are of these sneakers hanging on a line.

It is so tricky to get those sneakers on the wire. And why do they do this? Is it a drug lookout signal? Does it mean someone died? I am curious. 

PRIOR: It is also TRICKY to capture a DANCER IN THE AIR – like you did in this next photo from Buenos Aires:

Click HERE to read Dan’s Buenos Aires Travel post


PRIOR: Dan, I thought of your “dancer in the air” photo when I was leaving yoga class the other day – and the dancing Zumba teacher started her class.

And readers, as noted, I met Dan through the Lens-Artist Photo Challenge. If you want to know more about the Lens-Artists Challenge, click here and below you will find the list of hosts. 

4) How did you come up with the name for your blog?

DAN: The name of my blog, Departing In 5 Minutes, unfolded from my love for travel. I began traveling when I was just 18. The thrill and adventure of traveling has never left my system.

5) Out of your many travels, which trip had the most twists and turns?

DAN: Our 2019 trip to Buenos Aires had the most twists and turns. We actually moved there. We sold everything we had in NYC, including our apartment. We’d been to Buenos Aires 4 years earlier and we didn’t even like it that much. But this was to re-unite the family. It’s a long story, but this time around, we loved Buenos Aires.

Then, in February 2020, we came back to NYC to visit our children. A month later, Argentina closed for the pandemic and we were locked out. 

PRIOR: Wow, you were locked out of your home country? That must have been so tough. I find it interesting to learn what everyone was doing when the pandemic dropped on us in March 2020. Last month, I interviewed another Dan, author Dan Antion, and right before the pandemic he started his retirement! Anyhow, what did you end up doing if you could not go back to Argentina?

DAN: Argentina stayed closed for two years, so in that time, we got comfortable in Mexico. And now, we are back in NYC.

PRIOR: If anyone wants to read more about some of Dan’s adventures, his post “Hoping to Find our Place in the World” has some additional info – with some more fantastic images: https://departingin5mins.com/2023/03/25/a-terrifying-turned-wonderful-once-in-a-lifetime-adventure/

6) Do you have tips for packing when you travel? The reason I ask is because my husband’s friend, Mike Bruce, gave us a really great tip a few years ago. The tip is to have light weight clothes for traveling: the easy-to-wash items that dry quickly and do not weigh a lot. It was similar to what Gallivance shared about traveling “light” (here).

DAN: Yvette, Aixa and I are still finding our way with packing for traveling. We always make sure to find an AirBnB with a washer/dryer. Now, some hotels have washer/dryers, too.

PRIOR: We also try to find places that have laundry options. Especially on longer trips – being able to wash clothes is crucial for me. And the lightweight clothing are easy to wash and it also means we travel light. 

DAN: We’re a disaster when it comes to packing. We always overpack, and then buy too much. One flight, our suitcases were so overweight, we actually stuffed clothing into pillowcases. They let you bring pillows on flights. They didn’t realize, though, that ours weighed 10-15 pounds. We won’t do that again.

PRIOR: Hahaha – that is funny – and quite clever to use the pillowcases – yet I can see why you would not want to keep doing that. 

7) While NOT traveling – what is a typical dinner?

DAN: I’m lucky that Aixa loves to cook. She uses all natural and healthy ingredients and with a lot of Latin flavor.

8) Coffee and/or tea? 

DAN: We drink coffee every morning. For the past four years, we’ve been using an Italian Volturno Moka pot, because we can travel with it. We bought it when we arrived in Buenos Aires in 2019.

PRIOR: I like those Italian pots too. That reminded me of this image Ferris shared a few years ago: 

9) What is on your To Be Read list? 

DAN: The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley, which is a murder mystery. 

10) Do you use Spotify? Have you seen the show called the Playlist? We watched it in January and thought it was outstanding because of the artsy directing and episode flow! If you do not use Spotify – how do you listen to music? Radio, CDs, etc?

DAN: We haven’t seen The Playlist, but we are always looking for something to watch so we’ll give it a try. 

Usually, we listen to iHeartRadio, either one of their U.S. Lite FM stations or one of their Mexico City stations, 95.3 Amor. The Mexico station has three women DJs who talk about life. They’re interesting, but not as good as Delilah on the American station.

PRIOR: When I taught night classes, I sometimes would catch parts of the “Delilah” radio show and it made for a soothing drive home. Delilah sure can be an inspiration and she has such a gift as an INTERACTIVE DJ. The three women DJs in Mexico sound like they have a fun presence too.  I hope we always have some DJs around – even though sometimes I just want to stream music and have quiet. 

DAN:  I am not a music lover but I like listening to music on the radio because of the DJs and because they play a variety of music that we enjoy. So we are grateful for the option to listen to iHeartRadio, sometimes a U.S. station and sometimes a Mexican station.

PRIOR: Thank you so much for your time, Dan.

DAN: You’re welcome and I am glad to connect a little more.

PRIOR: How can we find you online?

DAN: You can find me at departingin5mins.com. It is also my Instagram username, but I almost never post on Instagram.

Thanks for joining us today. To see all of the Priorhouse Interviews  – go here.

Questions for readers:

  • We briefly talked about packing for travels – Do you have any travel tips to share with us?

  • Dan mentioned how the pandemic kept him out of his home country – did you have any major setback during the intial pandemic? (Besides having to stay home!). 

  • Any comments or questions for Dan?

REMINDER: The 2023 #Dickenschallenge runs until June 9th… Inviting you to read ONE novella (or more novellas) and then chat with us in June (info here) (hosts are Trent, Marsha, and Yvette)








47 thoughts on “Ten Questions with Dan Fenner @Departing in 5 Minutes: PRIORHOUSE INTERVIEW

  1. Nice to meet you, Dan. Good voice on leaving NYC and taking life a bit easier. 😁. Yvette, the shoe shot amuses me but not as much as finding a lone shoe. The pair was obviously tossed but how can you lose one shoe?? 😳

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Janet. -I have wondered about the lone shoe as well. Does make us wonder….
      and thanks for the feedback for Dan…. it was fun doing ten questions with him

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I might be geriatric (well, getting close at too rapid of a rate), but not Italian, so I must be an unbearable young snob – I like that, though the “young” part is a stretch 😉😎 (I like fresh perc-ed coffee the best…)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Trent – I vaguely remember when we had a chat about percolator coffee – many years ago
      and it sure can be rich and robust – we had two percolator coffee makers that Grandma Louise gave my spouse –
      and I never used them – because it was mid to late 1990s and we got one of those large espresso coffee makers
      that had the steaming frother attached – they were really in back then
      anyhow, when Dan Fenner mentioned his classic Italian pot, I knew exactly what he was referring to – and they do travel well

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, mid-1990s I did have one of those huge espresso makers. It was such a pain to use I finally gave up. It is still around, someplace.


        1. wow – you still have yours! We got rid of ours and I think we even had a second one – they cost so much
          and once in a while I will see a similar model at a thrift store and I just smile to think of how everything has a life cycle – and when we were new to Virginia – there was this guy, named Chris B., who my spouse worked with for a little while and he had one of those big ol machines and latte makers and invited us over and I just remember how condescending he was – takign to us like we knew nothing about “good coffee” – and we were cordial to him (never clicked with him or his wife tho) and I just remember thinking how he never even thought to ask us about our coffee experiences –

          anyhow, my husband has been experimenting with roasting his own coffee beans – he buys them online and uses a popcorn air popper to roast the coffee beans. I think they taste “oaky” but he really likes the flavor

          but one sure can’t go wrong with a nice ground coffee and an Italian pot

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Several months ago I looked at roasting my own beans until i did a little self-check – I’m complaining that I don’t have time to do all of the stuff I’d like to do and I want to add one more thing! I mean, I even stopped grinding my own beans (for now…), why would I want to roast them!


        3. Well Trent – my hubs said it did take that much work – it is not as easy as just tossing in some ground coffee – but he said it did not take much time at all
          however, the little things sure can add up – and I guess we do have to pick and choose each thing we add to our lists

          Liked by 1 person

        4. I hate that there is no way I can squeeze in everything that interests me! lol, as to roasting coffee, I most likely will look at it again when I retire 🙂


        5. I do have a pretty good mental list of things I want to do when I retire. Of course most involve the arts, but… Perhaps roasting my own coffee while be on that list some day.
          Hope you are enjoying your weekend 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  3. This was a great add, Yvette. I have been connected to Dan since he started, also through LA. I was so happy to see you introduce him here, with It’s Tricky. His journey has been fun to follow. Interesting to hear how blogging came about for him. It’s also tricky to retire early, good on him! And his wife for grabbing “time”.

    Loved the shoes and I laughed when I saw your choice. I always wonder myself what the purpose is.

    This was a great way to summarize the week. Tricky indeed. Have a nice weekend.


    1. Hi Donna – thanks for your comment and for joining us with Dan’s interview – it sure is fun to hear what brings folks to the blog world and I look forward to following Dan as he shares about his local adventures and travel experiences

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I enjoyed these questions with Dan, Yvette, and it’s nice to meet him. It’s always interesting to find out how others began their blogging journey. And it is a great way to meet wonderful people all over the globe. I also enjoyed the travel photos, and the shoes remind me of a street near us that has several pair of shoes hanging from the wires. This began just a month ago, and I still wonder what those shoes mean. 🙂 Dan’s photo of layered history truly does speak 1000 words too. Thanks for the great interview and have a good weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yvette and Dan, thanks so much for the kind words about the Lens-Artists Challenge. It’s people like you who keep us going 😊. Yvette, you always find a way to deliver a great message no matter the topic and Dan, I love that you find ways to link what’s on your mind to make it fit the week’s subject. I used to do that for the WordPress Photo Challenge and it never failed to keep me interested! The team loves to see both of your names pop up!!


    1. Tina, thank you for your kind, supportive words. You are such a great challenge host – but also a wonderful blog friend who brings insightful feedback and offers interesting posts.
      And Dan, I am glad you decided to join the Len’s Artist challenge because there are so many to choose from –
      wishing everyone a nice Easter holiday


  6. This was another interesting interview Yvette – how nice you are profiling Dan in his new blogging efforts. He was inspired by his wife and the Challenges so he has a good start. I was at the Tijuana border back in 1980 when I took a trip down the California coast. Tijuana was a lot of fun and I did the big kitschy touristy thing and had my photo taken wearing a huge sombrero and sitting on a donkey painted like a zebra. Our tour guide said it was a “must” and while I didn’t bring back the little bottles of tequila with a worm in it, I brought back bottles of pure vanilla for my mom and her friends who love to bake. I understand that the shoes on the wire mark territory for gang members – whether that is a regional reason or not I don’t know, but that is what I have heard or read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Linda – thank you for your rich comment – and the gang territory is plausible – also your trip to Mexico sounds fun and the vanilla sounds like a great souvenir (and I never understood the worm in the tequilla – blah)
      And the way Dan blogs – he does not seem like a newby – his writing is varied and exceptional and I enjoy his posts so much.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The tequila worm – ugh. If you get to Mexico, be sure to bring home some of their strong vanilla if you like to bake. You cannot buy comparable vanilla here. Varied is good – I don’t think I knew about the various Challenges until I followed you.


        1. Thanks so much for the suggestion About vanilla – but I don’t have any desire to visit Mexico right now – and actually feel a little afraid and while I know there are safer areas to visit –
          The country has just been in the news constantly with tourist trouble and yikes! No thank you! Plus I am not done exploring south Florida and other areas right here in the U S of A

          Liked by 1 person

  7. What a cool website name – Departing in 5 minutes!
    I am reading the Paris Apartment myself…sporadically between other reads.
    Travel packing tip – use those compression bags, several of them, and pack by theme (like regular clothes vs bedtime clothes vs underwear/socks); invest in a good and compact toiletry bag and pack it efficiently; only bring a carry suitcase, never check a bag, even if you are going for a week or so – learn to rewear clothes, hand wash things in sink, and just bring two pairs shoes if possible (and wear one on plane) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi tierney, that book has me curious and I might just check it out (even though my TBR is so long right now – haha)
      and thanks for your packing tips
      I just saw some of those compression packing cubes and they have some good options.
      The one I saw had the expandable zipper – and seemed easy to use as you zip it back up to compress. hmmmm
      I also like your tip about packing by theme – I don’t have the cubes for that – but I do have this washable drawstring bags (hand made by some amazing seamstress) and one holds the bedtime outfits and the other has bathing suits etc – that really is a good tip

      I actually have two pairs of “dry wick” thin black pants that I saved for travel only – they do not weigh a lot – can be washed in the sink and dry fast – and they go with everything – they also seem to be okay in hot weather or cold

      oh and I agree about not checking the bags – but i do understand that some folks need to have certain things and might have to check a bag – like my cousin who travels with his CPAP

      and Dan, I really liked the pillow case story – I think many of us have been there with last minute adjusting –

      Liked by 1 person

  8. What an interesting interview, a great insight on Dan’s journey in blogging. I remember well his photo for the Looking Back challenge, a wonderful example of what was the prompt, all in one photo. Thank you so much for your words on the Lens-Artists Challenge, joining in on challenges was the way I got to meet so many wonderful people and I think my photography and blogging have developed because of them.


    1. Hi Sofia – great point about the growth and development that also comes with the challenge participation – because it is truly a fruitful endeavor; thank you, Sofia, for helping to host challenges

      and Dan’s look back image of the street and city is so rich – as are many of his other shots (thanks again Dan for doing this mini interview)

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks so much for the introduction to Dan, Yvette. I was fascinated by this travels and getting locked out of his home country for two years! Yikes. What an adventure. And I liked the pillowcase tip. Lol. Wishing Dan much success with his blog. 😀 Happy Travels.


    1. Hi D., thanks for joining us for the interview and the extra bonus with the pillowcase (for that trip at least_ they could also maybe use it as a pillow or support in their seats 🙂 (win win)
      hope you have a wonderful Easter holiday

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Nice to meet you, Dan! I noticed your interest in the challenge just prior to heading out on our recent travels. I will look forward to reading more of your posts now that we are back on our “regular” schedule.
    Thanks to priorhouse Blog for posting the interview and Dan’s introduction.


    1. Hi John – thanks for joining us for Dan’s “ten questions” interview – and it has been fun to see you traveling again, John – I remember during the pandemic when many of the traveling folks were gorunded!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. What an interesting interview. It seems we all start blogging for different reasons. I’ve been at it for 17 years now and I can’t imagine life without it – it almost is my life! I really must pay Dan a visit.


    1. Hi Keith – thanks for joining us for the Dan interview – and I think you will like his blog because he has a nice writing side as well as sharing his images
      and did you say 17 years? wow – that is a log time in blogosphere and one of my favorite things about your blog is the audio tracks you often make – really nice touch


  12. This was an interesting interview, and a great insight in Dan’s blogging journey. Thank you for introducing him with his wonderful example of that prompt! Thank you also for your words about the Lens-Artists Challenge, because joining challenges was also my own way to meet so many interesting and wonderful people – even in real life! My photography has got many good learning hours here – a great way of getting new ideas and new thinking.


    1. Hi Leya – thanks for joining us for the Dan Fenner interview
      also – thanks for being an starting host of a challenge that RESCUED many of us wen the WP prompts ceased


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