Wandering Earl

My name is Earl.

(Actually, Earl is my middle name, but that’s what everyone calls me. Derek is my first name.)

My Life as a Permanent Nomad

On December 25th, 1999, I left the USA for a three-month, post-graduation trip to Southeast Asia. It’s now been over 15 years and that trip has yet to finish.

The adventure has involved over 88+ countries (view the list here) on 6 continents, work as a Tour Manager on board cruise ships, two years in India, experiments with meditation, muse-creation, mountain-climbing and movie acting, volunteer work, an inappropriate amount of time on tropical islands and eating inappropriate amounts of street food, a two-day kidnapping, being placed on the US ‘terror watch list’, teaching English in Asia and a fruitless search for a pair of sandals with sufficient arch-support for my flat feet, among many other things.

It was exactly three days into my 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. Therefore, without any other option, I made a decision to change paths in life. Instead of going home to follow my original goal of becoming a Sports Agent, I now embarked on a mission to transform myself into a permanent nomad so that I could continue my travels, and more importantly continue learning from those travels, for as long as possible.

The only problem was that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and I only had $1500 to my name.

Therefore, as any good problem-solver would have done, I ignored this one fact and worked on creating a solution anyway. It wasn’t easy, 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 to create the nomadic life I envisioned.

Ever since, I’ve spent my time constantly traveling around the world, always in search of that eye-opening first-hand education that only travel can provide. 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.

To learn more about my travel philosophy, check out my “New Breed of Explorer” page!

Join Me On My Global Adventures!

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Why You Should Follow WanderingEarl.com

WanderingEarl.com came into existence in late 2009 upon realizing that I wanted to share my adventures with a much wider audience, connect with other like-minded folks and use what I learn about life to help others achieve their own goals.

And what you’re looking at right now is the result.

I don’t claim to have any answers. To be honest, most of the time I don’t even know what the questions are, and truthfully, I don’t worry too much about that. What I am able to do is use my own experiences to show that long-term travel does not have to be a crazy fantasy, that it can be a realistic option instead.

And I can also…

  • tell you where to find a heavenly mango lassi (topped with cherries!) in Calcutta
  • share entertaining tales of my travel adventures
  • offer useful advice on how to live a life of extended travel
  • force you to think about how and why you want to explore this world
  • and perhaps, inspire you to live a life that makes you happy

Are you ready? It would be wonderful to have you join this community and I certainly look forward to communicating with you!

You can subscribe to all new blog posts here…

185 Responses to About

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.


  8. 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.

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

  10. 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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  12. veena says:

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

    Its an endless hunt!! :-(

  13. 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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  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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!

  18. 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

  19. 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?

  20. Sandeep Jain says:

    Which part of world you are in, Today?

  21. 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.

  22. 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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