1 Year of No Regrets Traveler
Today officially marks the one-year anniversary of leaving my career job and deciding to follow my dreams of traveling. It’s definitely quite the personal milestone for myself and one I’m very proud of to say I’ve been able to accomplish. In a year’s time my plans and path have changed a multitude of times. I’ve never strayed from the overall idea of getting to experience life somewhere in the world that was completely different than where I grew up and lived the first 33 years of my life.
I’ve had the opportunity check some major bucket list items off my list: riding a motorcycle through the entire country of Vietnam, learning to surf (not expert level, but riding waves consistently), cage diving with Great White sharks, bungee jumping, living in and getting to better understand how people live life in other cultures.
During this year I’ve found I really enjoy writing, which growing up and throughout my college years was the exact opposite. My photography and photo editing has become another enjoyable hobby. I get compliments on both from people who love me, people I haven’t talked to in years, new friends I’ve met while traveling and complete internet strangers who stumble upon my content surfing the interwebs (internet). Receiving feedback like that has brought satisfaction to me similar to what I felt winning athletic competitions growing up. Thank you to everyone who has showed their appreciation for my work!
What I hope is to never become is the pretentious traveler. You know, the “I’ve traveled the World and because of it I’m smarter and more well-rounded than someone who hasn’t traveled” type! Although I’ve grown personally a lot during this time and from my other travels. What I’ve learned is not necessarily something others can’t learn by not traveling. I prefer to share my experiences through my blog and No Regrets Traveler Instagram account with intention my followers can learn along with me.
One conversation I tend to have a lot with people I’ve met along the way is about President Donald Trump. Being and American and a traveler I often get asked if I left the USA because he was voted in. This seems to be a common thing for other American travelers they meet. I always tell people I would never leave the USA because of who is elected President. It seems immature, weak, cowardly, and cry baby-ish to me. The USA is too big of a Global operation for one President to really make it that awful is my opinion. What can make America awful is how people within the country treat each because of differences. Most people are utterly shocked when I tell them I voted for him and sometimes we can have a nice conversation about it, I can explain my decision and other times they are so upset over it they can’t have a conversation with me anymore.
I won’t keep this political too long because this isn’t a political blog. Although, it has been apart of my experience quite a bit and I thought it should be mentioned. What I can’t stand to see in relation to this topic is an inability of people who claim to be “open” treating people of different political opinions disgracefully. I find nothing funnier and more hypocritical than people who slam Trump for his stupid comments or tweets by calling him names and speaking about him in a grotesque manner. There’s too much irony in that to me not to point it out. Disagree with the man and his voters all you want. I certainly do on several topics. But not having the ability to treat each other respectfully for a difference of opinion is something we need to be careful about indulging in. Okay, now that I’ve probably upset some of you lets transition into a new topic.
The beginning of my travel lifestyle has entered into year two. On April 18th I am booked leave Bali and visit Sri Lanka for a couple of weeks. After that I hope to visit somewhere in Africa, Germany, Belgium, Holland and maybe Russia depending on the World Cup timing and financial resources. I need to come back Stateside in the next few months because of my dog. Plus, I do miss my family and it would be nice to catch up with them in person. I’m now officially Funcle (Fun Uncle) Sperm. Sperm is my childhood family nickname after it was shortened from Spermy because my brother rhymed it with my early childhood nickname Germy. I was called Sperm by my family and friends everywhere in public. I got used to the awkward stares from strangers while learning to love and embrace the name. Now it’s my chance to turn that awkwardness back to my brother. His daughter will grow up calling me Funcle Sperm. Can’t wait to have lunch one day in 5-10 years at her school and they have to tell the principal who is coming to visit! Everything really does come full circle.
Eventually, I would like to have a home base because my dog and a comfortable bed are two very important things in my life. I’ve also officially decided warm weather with a sunset surf is my “Zen” and will be a necessity for my home base. Maybe one day I’ll find a female I’m compatible with who wants to join me on my travels and become my partner in this lifestyle. As much fun as solo traveling is there is something even more special for me when I have someone to share it with and who understands my level of weird.
Teaching English online for VIPKID has been a great way to keep my travel finances in check, but it does not fulfill me in my long-term happiness. I have some ideas spinning in my head to keep the travel life going. We will see what happens. Until then it’s more loose travel plans, sunset surfs, gaining new experiences and enjoying life!
Quick Q&A Session
How can I travel like you? Honestly, the answer is very simple. Make a commitment to it, save a little money and try not indulging the doubtful thoughts in your mind of failure. You can always find ways to make money while you travel if you want. Send me a message or email if you need more details on working abroad.
Are you rich? How much money have you spent? or “How much do I need to save to do the same thing?” I’m not rich by Western standards, but I am rich by 3rd world country standards. I’m typically a very financially cautious spender… I said typically. In one year’s time I’ve spent about $20,000 ($55 a day). I saved for this trip for over a decade. I made a decision to work along the way so some of that $20k is still in my bank account. This includes paying on average $100 a month for my dog’s food, insurance and other care. I’ve been fortunate my mom and dad took him in as a four-leg, furry grandson. I also pay $35 a month for a Ugandan child’s education I adopted a few years ago. I live frugally when I travel, but I still spend enough to enjoy myself and have a good time. I don’t need a 5-star lifestyle to be comfortable. If you search hard enough and work on your negotiation skills you can find nice places to stay at affordable prices. Or you can stay cheap if you don’t mind sharing a room with several people. I need my own space to teach and by teaching it allows me to afford that capability.
Where is your favorite place you’ve traveled? Vietnam will always a hold special place in my heart because it feels so raw and real to me. $1500 is all you need to travel for two months throughout the entire country. Buy a motorcycle (resell it for $50 less than you paid), stay in rooms for $5-10 a night, drink $0.75 Vietnamese coffees, eat $1-$2 bowls of Pho or other rice/meat options, and drink $0.50 beers. I was able to spend less than $25 a day in Vietnam.
Vietnam has immense beauty in the countryside, but nature wise New Zealand has been my favorite country to visit.
Can I travel long-term with kids? If so, how? Absolutely. I meet couples all the time in every country traveling with kids I’ve visited. This goes back to the first question. Make a commitment to it and you will be fine. The kids love it and have memories that shape them as they grow up.
Do you hate America? Why don’t you travel there? The exact opposite, I love America and I’m proud to be an American even when people hate on it. I have lived all over and traveled throughout America. I’ve been fortunate enough to see a lot more of the country than 99% of the people I know. I will explore it more again at a later time.
What camera and editing software do you use? I use a Sony A7ii and iPhoneX. I started with an iPhone 5, bought and broke an iPhone 8+ after 4 months. Then broke my piggy bank to get the X because I still struggle with being completely budget conscious. I use Lightroom to edit my photos, sometimes I use IG and Snapseed for minor touch ups on Insta posts. I find my Insta iPhone photos get the same amount of likes as my fancy Sony shots.
Do you miss your family and friends? Absolutely I miss them. It would be really odd if I did not, but technology makes it easy to stay in touch and physically see them over video chat. I talk to my mom now more than I ever did before. I lived far from home for 10+ years before taking this journey and only saw them a couple of times a year so I was used to only seeing them a couple times a year. My friends and I stay in touch through technology.
Do you get bored or miss having a 9-5 job? I picked up teaching because it gives me something to do with my time that makes me feel like I’m contributing and not just traveling. I’ve traveled without working for 6 of 12 months and during the non-working times I enjoy myself, but there are times when I feel an emptiness I don’t have when I’m teaching. However, there are times after teaching a lot in a month when I get upset that I’m not traveling and experiencing more. Not to mention being in front of my computer for 2-6 hours a day teaching discourages me from getting back in front of my computer to spend time writing or editing photos. There’s only so much computer time I can take on a daily basis.
HERE ARE SOME OF MY FAVORITE PHOTOS!