Travel Philosophy

The idea for this web blog bounced around in my head for years. I wanted to share photos and stories about our adventure travel with like-minded people and inspire others to do the same. Stephanie and I are proof that you don’t have to be a college age kid or retiree to get out there and explore the world. Blake.zipline2 - contrastI recently left my day job where I worked as a partner in a successful consulting engineering firm. As a geologist and lover of the outdoors, I decided to take the plunge and go out on my own. This has freed me up to spend much more time on this website. However, most of the trips described on this website (at least so far) took place while holding down a 45 hour a week job.

Many years ago, I came to the realization that I craved traveling and wanted to make it a commonplace activity in my life and maybe part of my livelihood one day. As a kid, my parents, relatives and their circle of friends used the traditional model of vacation that usually took place two or three weeks a year. My role models at that time (and likely their role models while growing up) had a traditional set of rules for what you should do for vacation and traveling. This would involve one or more of the following: a) travel to a resort where everything is made beautiful in a make believe world; workers are brought in to maintain the environment and cater to the guests; b) a cruise where the above takes place on a boat, and you move around to several tourist areas; c) a tour where the group is herded like cattle to a variety of tourist spots. cows Each day is regimented to get a flavor of the area’s top tourist attractions; and d) travel to a resort area where you pick your own accommodations and do day trips to nearby tourist attractions or hang out at the pool, beach, mountains, shopping mall, etc. and e) some combination of the above.

I believe that the majority of working Americans use their vacation each year with one of the above scenarios. There is nothing wrong with these type vacations. They can be very relaxing and a lot of fun. Stephanie and I had a fantastic time at her company trip to an “all inclusive” resort in the Dominican Republic a few years back. I certainly want to take this type trip again in the future and certainly don’t thumb my nose at ones who do it regularly. However, the problem for me is that these type trips have a certain commonality. You are in an artificial environment, waited on by workers who are highly trained to behave in a certain way, and/or you see what the hosts want you to see. During Stephanie’s company trip, we traveled to the country of the Dominican Republic, but at the end, I had no idea what the country was like and what the people were like. If someone asked me if I had ever been to the Dominican Republic, I would have had a hard time giving an answer. The resort we went to could have been anywhere in a warm coastal environment and it would have been essentially the same. Again, it was beautiful, and we had a great time. If that is the type vacation you seek on all your trips, then we just have different tastes and that is what makes the world so interesting.

Part of my genetic makeup is a strong curiosity to see other areas of the world and experience day-to-day life among the locals. Residents of Europe and other areas have a geographic advantage over Americans. They can get in an automobile and travel to another country in a day or less. They are used to dealing with language barriers and unknown customs of different countries. Americans, due to our geography, are much more isolated. Our culture over the years has evolved to where many of us accept the isolation and become resolved as to “that is just the way it is”. There is plenty to do in our backyard.

Backpacking college age kids are the ones who seem to get it. They will load all they need in a backpack and set off to see the world. backpackersThey will take spontaneous turns along the way based on feedback from the locals. If they see or hear something to do better than what they had planned, they just go do it. They live inexpensively and really see the world as it is. This can make for a lifetime of memories.
My question to myself became, how can I create a travel model that …
1) Allows us to see the world while holding down a job or running a business
2) Will let us travel at a reasonable expense so that I don’t go broke doing it
3) Will let us learn as much about the culture of the countries as possible in a short 1 to 2 week period
4) insures that we have an absolute blast while traveling
5) Gives us the ability to share the trips through photos and stories and hopefully inspire others to do the same
One of the objectives of this web site is to show our readers how Stephanie and I have been able to accomplish our travel goals and fine tune our model along the way. This travel and vacation model is completely unorthodox and is not for everyone. In fact, some of our friends probably think we are completely nuts! Others say that I would like to do that type traveling but …..”I don’t have the money; I don’t have the time; I don’t know the language; It may not be safe; this is out of my comfort zone, etc. etc” One of our objectives will be to help our readers gain a comfort level in this type travel.
In our “Articles” blog area, we will be posting a series of write-ups that describe our findings on budget travel, how to travel more, learn more, experience cultures on the local level, and have an exciting time along the way. Our hope is to inspire others to get out and see the world or at a minimum, allow others to live vicariously through us. Thank you for visiting our Blog.