My parents took our family camping from the time I can remember. The only international travel experience I had as a child was crossing the Mexican border from Big Bend National Park and a trip to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls when I was 16. One of my adventurous youth leaders from church was adamant that the young men should become certified in SCUBA and that idea sounded good to me. In 6 weeks I was a certified PADI diver ready to get my fins wet. However, in Houston, there really aren’t many places to dive. The Gulf of Mexico looks more like chocolate soup than water and visibility is only about 3 inches on a clear day. So, after all that training and spending my hard-earned teenage money on diving equipment, I was ready to go somewhere, anywhere… I cut a few lawns, I actually cut a lot of lawns and eventually booked a trip to Cozumel based on the ranting recommendation of a friend. That was to be my first international journey. Thinking back, I’m surprised my parents let me go. I was 17 and my best friend and I had no experience jet setting around the world. Even worse, we spoke no Spanish.
Mexico offered me my first taste of ceviche, an amazing underwater world that I never knew existed, and for the first time in my life I found myself someplace where everything was different than my normal life in Texas. I loved it! I needed more! The next year I went to the Cayman Islands. It had been a former British colony and had all kinds of interesting adventures I’d never thought of. In the Caymans, you could eat turtle burgers, dive ship wrecks, feed stingrays and open up offshore accounts (yeah right!) I set my sights on Hawaii for the next year as I ventured further and further from Texas. My friend, (the same one who had talked me into going to Cozumel) gave me a bit of advice. She explained to me that I had always been talking about Australia and I needed to just shut up about it and go there. I explained that I couldn’t afford it. She told me that I could afford anything if I made my mind up. So, I started telling everyone that I was going to Australia. I was working in the restaurant business as a waiter and every night, I’d put a little cash into my Australia fund. I was determined that I’d get there one way or another. Six months later, I booked my ticket, stored my belongings, moved out of my apartment, sold my car and took off. I wanted an adventure and wasn’t sure if I was coming back.
When I arrived down under, I had a big learning curve. I hadn’t booked a place to stay and I was carrying around 100 lbs of SCUBA equipment and an army dufflebag with my clothes. I watched my fellow travelers and learned to do what they did. I discovered youth hostels, how to save money by cooking my own food and I learned the art of hitchhiking. Australia is the place where I learned how to be a traveler and not a tourist. I learned how to get around, how to find a place to stay, where to go, what to do and I was rewarded with fantastic adventures. I had originally booked my ticket for 2 weeks, but once I had a plan, I extended my trip to six months. For money, I got a job waiting tables at the Sydney Opera House, I played guitar on the street and I picked grapes for an entire month in South Australia. It was this trip where my addiction truly took hold. I met fun people, did amazing things and lost myself in the excitement.
Eventually reality set in and 8 months later I ended back up in Houston. I got a job, started college and got married to a lovely woman who shared some of my passion for travel. Maybe she didn’t really, but I dragged her along anyway. In the years that followed, we traveled 6 months through Africa, and visited newly opened China, Indonesia, Europe, India and lots of other exciting places. I decided one day that my life’s goal would be to go to every country in the world. When we parted ways as friends 10 years later, I continued my travels until I had been to all 7 continents
Now I look back 30 something years in the future and fondly think of the places I’ve seen. I’ve tracked gorillas in the Congo, been on tiger safaris on the back of an elephant, hiked to active volcanoes,played my guitar in Venice, got lost in the labyrinths of Morocco, ruined a rental car in Mozambique, watched carnival in Rio, hiked Machu Pichu, and marveled at the giant stone heads in Easter Island. I’ve eaten all kinds of weird food from cobra to fried scorpions, whale steak to ostrich, reindeer burgers to fried worms and bull testicles (I don’t recommend the last two). I haven’t seen it all. I haven’t done it all, but I’m putting a good size dent in it.
In the years that I’ve traveled, the industry has changed as has technology. The internet and more travel options have made the world a much smaller and more homogeneous place than it used to be. Countries have divided and divided again, Inaccessible countries have opened their doors. Now is an amazing time to travel. I’ve created some methods in my travels that I find takes the difficulty out of the voyage and leaves in the adventure. That is what this site is about. I want to teach you how to do what I do. I want to help those that want to travel but have created reasons to themselves for not going. Americans in general love the idea of travel, but have deep ingrained fears or concerns such as money and safety that are by and large not based on any actual facts. I want to dispel the myths and open your mind for the adventures and education that they world wishes to give you.
I’ve recently dedicated my life to creating a body of work based on my travels. I’m producing travel videos, writing travel blogs and continuing my dream of visiting all the countries in the world. My best guess puts me about 75%. Some of the places on my list can’t be visited at the moment. However, things are always changing and eventually where there’s a will, there’s a passport stamp.