About Me

Derek Baron - Wandering Earl
Welcome to my blog and I appreciate you stopping by!

My first name is Derek, and my middle name is Earl, but Wandering Derek sounded pretty crappy. So, Wandering Earl it has been. You may call me Derek or Earl or Dearl or anything you want, I don’t mind.

Quick Summary About My Life of Travel

On December 25th, 1999, I left the USA for a three-month, post-graduation trip to Southeast Asia. The idea was to backpack around Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam and then return home and start a career in the sports industry (I wanted to be a Sports Agent).

When I landed in Bangkok, I had $1500 USD to my name and that was it. So I booked a bed in a crumbling old wooden guesthouse in the center of the city for about a dollar per night and let the adventure begin.

In the end, I never went home after those three months.

And it’s now been over 16 years and that trip has still yet to finish.

The adventure has involved over 88+ countries on 6 continents as I’ve worked, lived, traveled and volunteered all over the planet.

Over the years, I’ve done everything from danger travel to living in Romania to learning Spanish in Mexico to working as a Tour Manager on board cruise ships. I’ve spent over two years in India, where I once randomly ended up acting in a Bollywood television show. An inappropriate amount of time on tropical islands, eating inappropriate amounts of street food, a three-day kidnapping in Bangladesh, teaching English in Asia, becoming an online entrepreneur and partaking in an endless search for a pair of sandals with sufficient arch-support for my flat feet are just a few more of the experiences this lifestyle has led me to.

Since 2012, I even started a small tour company, Wandering Earl Tours, where I lead small group trips on unique trips to various countries around the world.

It’s been an absolutely wild ride to say the least.

How Did I Get Started Exactly?

It was exactly three days into that first trip back in 1999, as I celebrated the Millennium at Angkor Wat in Cambodia, when I became inflicted with an untreatable addiction to world exploration. So addicted in fact, that the thought of returning home literally made me sick to my stomach at the time. Therefore, without any other option, I decided that, instead of going home to pursue a standard career, I now wanted to set my sights on becoming a permanent traveler.

But again, I had only $1500 USD and as time passed, that money naturally began to dwindle.

As any good problem-solver would have done in that situation, I took this as a challenge and got to work on creating a solution to the issue. It certainly wasn’t easy, and it took some time, but I eventually got there. With a ton of hard work and determination, as well as a refusal to accept anything less than the achievement of my goals, I managed, piece by piece, to create the nomadic life I envisioned.

I found work, saved some money, found more work, traveled at the same time, started working online, kept traveling and on and on (more details can be found here), always keeping my eyes open for the next opportunity.

And now the result is being able to constantly travel the world, allowing me to constantly seek out that eye-opening, first-hand education that only travel can provide.

The thing is, I don’t travel to simply check countries off a list. In fact, if I simply traveled to see the sights, I would have stopped traveling a long time ago!

Instead, I prefer to focus on the human interactions and the life lessons learned along the way, both of which are, in my opinion, the most valuable aspects of travel.

They are certainly the reasons why I’m still traveling today.

What Will You Find at WanderingEarl.com?

The purpose of this blog is simple.

I want to use my own experiences to prove that long-term travel does not have to be a crazy fantasy. It can, and should be, a realistic lifestyle option instead.

That’s exactly why I started it back in 2009 and it remains the core mission today.

Through my own adventures – from the incredible moments and rewarding interactions to the struggles and major challenges – I aim to provide a realistic and honest account of what long-term travel is truly about and how you can work on achieving such a goal yourself.

While the recognition and mentions this blog has received over the years are certainly nice, nothing compares to an email from a reader telling me that the the blog helped them achiever their own travel goals.

And that will never change!

(As a side note, you won’t find any hastily-written Top 10 lists or a barrage of sponsored/promotional content here. That is not what this blog is about.)

Follow Along & Join the Community!

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And YouTube too…

And don’t forget that comments on posts are certainly welcome too. I’d always love to hear your thoughts on the topics discussed as every piece of input is valuable to the community!

Any Questions?

For general questions, feel free to email me through my Contact Page. Even though I receive over 150+ emails per day through the blog, I do personally respond to every message, every time. Although, if you’re in search of more detailed travel advice, I do recommend contacting me through my Plansify profile where your support is greatly appreciated.

Thank you for reading this page and I certainly look forward to communicating with you!

196 Responses to About Me

  1. Ross says:

    Why do you charge for information on getting a cruise job? This is not travelling

    • Ross says:

      What I mean is people are supposed to help other travelers for the love of passing on knowledge etc don’t you think?

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Ross – I agree that people should help others and that is what I do with most of my time. However, I’m not able to help others if I’m not able to support myself a little. And considering that I spend 40+ hours per week working on the blog, the eBooks, etc., it’s only fair that I charge a little for all of the time and effort it takes me to keep this blog going, to update the eBooks, etc. Otherwise, there would be no blog at all 🙂

      And from the feedback, those who do purchase the guide are extremely satisfied with the value they receive…I’ve never received any message from anyone saying that the money spent wasn’t worth it.

  2. Ross says:


    You sound a lot like me and my style of travelling! it seems strange though that you’ve put the amount of countries on the top of your pages? Almost like a tick on each country

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Ross – It’s just a number but it does help show what this blog is about…figuring out a way to travel long-term and to a good amount of countries if one wishes to do so, despite starting out with as little as $1500 to your name, which is how I started.

  3. Nicolas says:

    Hi Earl,
    Wow just impresived me what you done.l just back from my 2 moths and 15 days around world trips.l am at home that l am kind of sick of being back home as you told on your profile.l decided change path of my life beacuse l cant live one place all my life.English is not my native langugues but l was living in Usa almost 3 years so l just attempt college to improve my english so next year .l will be already gone to travel other coutries and l traveled 20 countries around world. l cant stop thing of traveling is one of best goal in my life.But you did great job changed your life

  4. Fabricio says:

    Good Afternoon Earl,

    Your blog is such an inspiration! I’ve been wanting to quit the Rat Race for awhile now and just travel and make my way across the World. The only thing stopping me is trying to become debt free but I noticed how you were able to pay off some debt by working abroad. What opportunities are there for people in your situations to earn money while still enjoying the area in which your living in? I figure my biggest expense would be the plane ticket to get over to Europe correct?

  5. Stormi says:

    I have been wanting to travel for a long time & now that I am done with college it seems like the intersect time to go for it. My only concern is paying off student loans. I saw you to were a recent college graduate when you started. How did you pay off your loans while traveling?

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Stormi – I deferred my loans for a bit and then started working on cruise ships which allowed me to start paying them off and save money as well to travel during my vacations between contracts. There are ways, that’s just one method!

  6. Andrew Rupp says:

    I’ve loved reading your blog so much that I nominated it for an award! Thanks again for doing what you do:


  7. Rae says:

    Hey, just wondering did you know another language before you started travelling or have you learnt any over the year?

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Rae – I didn’t know any other languages when I first started traveling. Over the years I’ve picked up Spanish decently and enough to get by in a few other languages.

  8. Anne says:

    Hi Earl,
    It’s so fantastic to hear about you travelling continuously for the past 15 years. I believe that life is not simply about work, mortgages, raising children etc. I’m considering leaving my admin job next year so I can travel and live overseas. I am single with no prospects in sight and have no kids, and if I end up single for life, I would rather spend that time travelling than be stuck in one place doing my job day in day out, because I enjoying seeing new places and learning about other cultures. I’m looking to train in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) and my first destination would be China. Assuming I don’t meet a partner, I’m looking to do TEFL for a few years at least, possibly long-term. No doubt long-term travel has its challenges, but I believe it is totally worth it.

  9. Dan Justin Peter says:

    You are my celebrity! I am preparing myself to be a nomad, and i hope to cross paths with you earl… someday. Dan from sunny Singapore.

  10. Wayne says:

    I have to start off by saying it is an inspiration to see someone actually living their dream. Most people are happy being conformists so it’s refreshing to hear your story. I wanted to get into traveling and i think that working on a cruise ship would be a good start for me. What position do you recommend to start and what cruise lines are best to work for based on your experience.

  11. Raj says:

    Hi Earl.
    Just want to say you are my idol.i have always wanted to live the way you do.
    Hey there’s no point running in the rat race endlessly this is one thing I’ve noticed.

  12. Eri says:

    Hello, Earl.
    I’m Eri. Thank you again for answering my question before.
    Now I’m making a website about how I found out a cruise ship job, I will get the job(havent got yet though. I WILL) and traveling.
    I was wondering if I can put your website on it since your book and website helped me a lot.
    I havent completed my website so cant tell you URL yet but I definitely will let you know when I’m done.

  13. Memoria says:

    Hey Earl,

    All your life experience as permanent nomad really inspires me. Thank you very much on your effort to put together all your journey encounter into amazing blog posts and astounding ebook. You are awesome. I just purchased your ebook via my paypal account a minute away.

    I’m going to be a permanent nomad as well like you. Your incredible ebook will be my guide. Thank you for giving me this extraordinary courage.


  14. Charmaine says:

    Hello Earl!

    I simply stumbled across your page by googling “Jobs/Careers in Traveling”. And I ended up on your Website. After reading a couple of blog entries, I am intrigued. I really want to travel and here I am 5 years after graduating High School.. Still working endless jobs and being unhappy about choosing a Career. I realize the importance of getting a Career and what not, I however do not know what I want to do for the rest of my life! However I do know I really want to Travel and experience the world. Not saying I do not want to work, but I really would like to travel and explore.

  15. Pingback: 24 Reasons Why I Decided to Quit Everything and Travel the World Alone | Living SpontaneousLiving Spontaneous | Well … live sponteanous!

  16. Marry says:

    Hi Earl,
    I cannot tell how flattered I am to find another person chasing the same dream as I am and I’ll be looking forward to joining your tours but before that I was wondering what age do you think is appropriate for starting this kind of life.

    • Wynne says:

      When you choose to start, that’s the age you’ll be – and therefore, the perfect age to do so!

      Have a blast – and just GO!

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  18. veena says:

    “fruitless search for a pair of sandals with sufficient arch-support for my flat feet”

    Its an endless hunt!! 🙁

  19. yara Coelho says:

    Wow, 1999, that’s one year after I took off. I left Portugal in 1998 as a scared but very excited teenager and never looked back. Happy to find someone who’s been living adventures as long as I am, it’s quite rare 🙂 See you in Bucharest in a couple of months!

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  21. James says:

    Hi Earl. I must say that you are living the life that seems to always find it’s way back into my daydreams. Ten years ago, I lost my job at the time and a nice 401k savings waiting for me. I decided to take a few months to “enjoy life” before diving back into the daily grind called work. Those few months quickly turned into a little over a year. During that period, I thought that perhaps world travel was exactly what I needed to find inner peace and true happiness. For some reason Ecuador seemed to keep resurfacing in my head. I put quite a bit of research into making that decision, and sadly for me, I soon fell back into living the “normal” life again.Over the past ten years, I still have frequent thoughts of doing just as you have done. I am now mid thirties, and lately I have been thinking seriously of just up and moving to Thailand for a year.If not now, when? Life is short, and days turn to years much sooner than they once did. If you started with $1500, how were you able to begin your travels initially and keep them going? Sorry for such a long message, I am just really ready to turn the page on the type of life that I have been living and would love advice from someone who has the experience to answer beginner questions.Thanks in advance

  22. David Master says:

    Hi Earl,

    I will be flying round trip to Bucharest (alone) on November 23 for 1 week and was wondering if you could comment on my itinerary.

    I planned to spend Nov 23/24 in Bucharest, Nov 25/26 in Brasov, Nov 27 in Sighisoara, Nov 28,29 in Sibiu and then try to make my way back to Bucharest to head back on Nov 30.

    While I would like to, it does not appear sensible to head further north than Sighisoara. What do you think?

    Thanks and keep up the good work,

    David Master

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey David – I wouldn’t add anything to that list and to be honest, you’re going to be very rushed as is. Places like Brasov and Sibiu need more than two days… Especially with the travel time factored in.

  23. Clelia says:

    This is a perfect sentence to sum up why people (including me) love your website so much…I saw many blogs, and the one I keep coming back for more are not necessarily those with the latest fancy design and an endless list of places to see.

    We are human, we live out of our emotions, and you have the special gift to convey these emotions in such an easy way, effortlessly and honestly.

    There is a sentence you wrote here that sums it up perfectly:
    “I don’t travel to simply check countries off a list. In fact, as a permanent nomad, I have little interest in the actual sights that a particular destination may offer, instead preferring to focus on the human interactions and lessons learned along the way”

    I really hope that you will never change this attitude, as that’s what makes you really special and an inspiration for many of us.

    Being a travel blogger myself I don’t have time to read other blogs, but I still read yours because, before being a BLOGGER, I am a TRAVELER first.

    Thanks for your constant inspiration Earl.

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Clelia – Thank you for that comment, I’m not sure what to say. But I can assure you, the more I travel, the more I believe in that one statement so I don’t imagine that I will change that attitude at all. It really is about those interactions, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, no matter where they take place or with whom…that’s still the main reason why I’m traveling these days!

  24. ajay says:

    hey earl
    i am an indian and one thing i should say is that your life rocks dude seriously its a lott better then sitting behinf a computer all day smashing the keyboard
    i am seriously envied and inspired by you

  25. Andrea says:

    Hi Earl,
    Just reading your website and love it. Just wondering – how do you decide which countries to visit next? How much time in advance do you decide and how long is the process for going to the next one? And do you find the applications for visas difficult?
    Also, another topic – do you have any suggestions for traveling with young kids?

  26. Sandeep Jain says:

    Which part of world you are in, Today?

  27. Pettie says:

    Hi Earl,

    I bought your book “how to live a life of travel”. I really find the advice helpful since I am travelling to Thailand in October 2014. Thank you for this most helpful resource, I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to travel long-term.

  28. Panny says:

    Hello earl!! This is so inspiring, i love your blog and your life! I was wondering..would you say that a girl could live like this?

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Panny – All I can say is “Absolutely”! There is no shortage of solo female travelers out there in the world living this exact same lifestyle…I meet them in just about every country I visit!

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