New Breed of Explorer

“My country is the world, my religion to do good.”

Thomas Paine

There’s a new breed of explorer out there, an adventurous bunch who seeks not a plot of un-chartered earth to place their flag or a more efficient trade route across continents and oceans.

Instead, this new breed of explorer is a global citizen, a person who travels to learn and who learns in order to broaden their world view, reduce misunderstandings and enhance lives, both their own and those of the entire world community. The idea is to explore not only countries and cultures, but the infinite potential for positive change that such travel inherently possesses.

Wandering Earl in Bundi India

Of course, it must also be mentioned that these explorers certainly have some memorable experiences in the process. They often travel to all corners of the globe, ride on the roofs of buses, search alleys for the best street food, celebrate festivals, visit friends, learn languages where they are spoken, wander through mountains, deserts and jungles, enjoy their beer and crave the thrill of finding themselves outside of their comfort zone, way, way, way outside.

Through all of this, their minds are consumed with how to utilize their travels and human interactions to promote cultural diversity, equality, respect, peace and all of that good stuff.

They aim to transform their adventures into positive action.


Taking positive action does not require a long volunteer stint in a third-world country or a $500 donation to a charity. While those actions certainly do a great deal of good, positive actions come in an infinite number of forms, many of them so incredibly simple:

Shake hands with people and hug them too; listen to what others are trying to tell you; learn languages; build friendships with unlikely friends; travel to places that rarely receive travelers; support local shops and businesses; think and act in an environmentally-friendly manner; face your fears; avoid making rash judgments and generalizations; believe what you personally observe, not what you read; invite family and friends to travel with you; try new things in new places…and the list could continue forever…


Not at all. While actual travel certainly enriches the experiences and education, being a global citizen is more a way of thinking, a mind set, than it is a passport full of stamps. These days, anyone can explore the world without actually packing their bags. As long as you believe in using such first-hand education to make a positive impact on this planet, a global citizen you most definitely are.


During my six week visit to Pakistan in 2004, I found myself being ‘attacked’ by throngs of people everywhere I went. Yet these people did not wish to cause me any bodily harm. They simply wanted to shake my hand and tell me, and in some cases beg me, to inform all of my family and friends around the world that the Pakistani people are not terrorists, that they want peace and happiness just like everyone else. In every region of that country I came across the exact same situations. And so, after I left, I wrote about it, spoke to everyone I knew about my experiences, tried to clarify stereotypes and explain misunderstandings.

At times my words fell on deaf ears, but even if my visit to Pakistan enabled one person to re-think their perspectives and perhaps take on a more respectful view of cultures they know little about, I remain convinced in the power of global exploration. And this is only one minuscule example. Imagine the potential for change when hundreds of thousands of open-minded explorers from around the world, each embarking on their own unique adventures, use the knowledge and wisdom they gain to actively promote a more peaceful and respectful planet.

This never-ending, intertwining web of adventures and interactions has the ability to be more than just a community of travelers. It has the ability to be an influential community of global citizens.

Thank you so much for visiting and if you’re interesting in following this blog, please don’t forget to sign up for all the updates through the RSS feed or via email below!


Comments 41

  1. Brittany

    So cool! You seem like a very thoughtful traveler and I look forward to following along on your adventures to come. Thank you for taking the time to share your journey with us!

  2. Shane Baker

    Hey Earl,

    Great blog! I’ve been in the same boat as some others and considering moving my home from indoors to outdoors, traveling the world and also the United State’s own backyard. I have a few ideas to get started but if there is any advice you could give me on how to start it would be incredible.

    I’ve been working for a couple years now and I don’t feel like I’ve really gotten anywhere. I would like to get out of my house and on the road or in the air.

    I noticed that the last comment on this post was back in 2012. Has there been any new locations you’ve discovered since then?

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  4. Zohaib

    Dear Earl,

    Thanks a lot for visiting my native country ‘Pakistan’ and explaining to your audience that the people of Pakistan are ‘Not Terrorists’, we are very hospitable, and want the same peace & happiness that everyone else wants in this World.
    We are a nation which is most effected by terrorism ever since the WTC attacks, and though we have nothing to do with it – we have lost thousands of lives (of our soldiers and civilians) at the hand of terrorists, simply because we stood-up to them and helped the allied forces to succeed in the troubled areas of Afghanistan.

    I don’t want to make any political point here, but like you pointed-out I would also urge the World travellers to change their view about this country and the people of Pakistan, and do visit this country once!


  5. Robert Givens

    Earl, I’ve been seriouslly contemplating becoming this way of life in the last few weeks. I had dreamed of jumping in an RV and roaming the US when I retired. Recently, while sitting in my small cubicle in my windowless office in the middle of my seventeenth year at this job, I wondered if I could get to that dream earlier. That maybe, as a web developer, I might be able to work for my current employer or others remotely while I travel, not just the US, but the world. With a few google searches I found you and other people that are doing this.
    I am a deeply spiritual person. I have been trying to figure out how this most important part of my life plays into this new traveling lifestyle. To be more precise, what is the purpose? Can I make a positive difference in my travels? I would love to be able to share my faith with others while not proselytizing. My Christian faith works for me and millions around the globe, as does the faith of Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Jews. I do not seek to convert people to my faith. I would just like to share with them what I have found and I would also like to hear and learn from others. Maybe the purpose,or even mission, of my travels would be to promote better understanding between people of differing spiritual and religious beliefs with open minded communication and a sincere desire to know who they are, how they live and what role faith and or spirituality plays in their lives.

    Wow! I think It’s all coming into focus now!

    Thanks for your post and sharing about how you are transforming your travels into positive action.

  6. Wasim

    You summed it up quite beautifully. I have been to Egypt in 2012 “Post-Revolution” days. I visited many cities but found people very helpful and friendly everywhere. I even visited Tehrir Square, it was never like how media reported it.

  7. Wasim

    Hi Earl,
    You are so true about Pakistan. We are friendly people rich in culture. All the fuss on media actually due to people living on our Western borders, and that is a bit too exaggerated because less than 1% does not define a nation, other 99% do. It’s sad that people define a population of about 200 million people based on some foreigners who came to unsettle this country from across the border. Thank you for mentioning the truth.


  8. Carola

    You are so right about Pakistan. That is exactly my experience and I like to tell people about this most miss understood country.
    In 2009 I traveled from India to China with public transport with my husband and two kids (2, 13). We spend three month in Pakistan. I was overwhelmed by this friendly and hospital people in big cities and thiny mountain villages.

  9. Antoaneta

    Dear Earl,

    It was a pleasure to read your statement, and then to find out that you chose my city, Bucharest, to spend some time. I did feel a lot of empathy with your writing above. Recently I travelled to Israel and Peru for short amounts of time and had some amazing human and natural experiences, cities are kind of putting me off right now. I am in Lisbon for the time being, and job searching, after I lost one (for the Romanian Govt, pathetic!) last December. I already worked on for CCL as International Purser, so I left the cruise world behind in 2004. Loved Playa del Carmen:) Don’t know what will be next, but I think I have a lot to learn from you. All the best!

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  11. Mariana

    Hi Earl,
    Thank you for sharing! I’ve had this in the back of my mind for a while but have yet some unresolved issues:

    1. $$$$ I have some savings now but not nearly enough. You mentioned you work online while traveling? What do you do and how did you get this going?

    2. Companion. To be honest I am afraid of traveling alone and to this day have not found someone interested in taking 6 months off our very busy lives.

    3. Future? I know at some point I want to settle down and have a family and a career. What do you come back to once you leave? I’m currently getting a PhD and would not want any doors to close bc of my urge for getting to know other cultures and letting go of all the self-imposed restrictions.

    Thanks 🙂

    1. Earl

      Hey Mariana – Just have a read through the site and you’ll find the answers…as for my work, read: How I Can Afford My Life of Constant Travel

      As for not having a companion, just read: Please Don’t Be Afraid to Travel on Your Own

      In terms of your future, that’s a decision you have to make. You can always change course at any time and while you might want a career at some point, you just have to think how you will feel at the end of life. Will you regret having traveled or will you regret not having traveled? Whichever is more important to you, there’s your answer 🙂

  12. Mike Langford

    Definitely agree. There are many ways to make contributions whether on the ground or not. Many volunteering opportunities have become available over recent years for people to be able to enjoy travelling, learn about local communities/environments and make a tangible contribution. Here in Peru for example, people can volunteer on scientific research projects or stay at community lodging facilities in the rainforest, in both instances making a direct contribution and expereincing new cultures.

  13. Mandy

    Hi Earl! Just wanted to drop by and tell you your blog really inspires me. I’ve always really really had a passion for travel and adventure. This post gives me even more motivation and admiration for what you do. When I can, I want to travel the world, meet new people,help them, experience new things and just do so much, and I’m incredibly happy that many people already do that, like you! I’m not even out of high school yet, but my passion for travel is all I care about at this point, even though I’m not sure how to go on about it. I don’t really have the words to express myself, but I really want to thank you for having this blog. Even if it’s just a bit, you show me a bit of the world outside my little home, and I’m thankful. Thanks Earl, for traveling!

    1. Earl

      Hey Mandy – Thanks so much for your wonderful comment and I’m glad to know that you’re already so interested in world travel! Just stay focused on your goals, even when they seem impossible to achieve, and one day, you will also be out here experiencing the world just as you wish. And if you have any questions at any time, just send me an email through the contact form on my site and I would be more than happy to respond and assist as best I can!

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  16. Boris

    Hi Earl,

    I had a similar experience after a 6 month German class in Berlin in 1998. Been here ever since and am now looking into how I can take these life changing experiences of the lat 13 years and tie them into a philosophy about travel. Mark Twain has some wonderful quotes and your New Breed of Explorer pretty much sums it up. There are so many people however who have no chance to travel and I truly wish there was a way to bring the world to them, or at least assure them that the world outside does exist.

    Keep up the good work!

  17. Dagmar

    Hi Earl,
    I’m so glad I found your blog! And especially right at this moment: I’ve quit my job, sublet my appartment for two years (and planning on passing it on to my brother when he’s done studying), and am in the process of shedding most of my belongings – clothes, shoes, cd’s, books… I’m amazed how much stuff I’ve managed to accumulate over the years, though I’ve never been very materialistic.
    Back in November, I realised that my things were not giving me comfort or safety, but rather felt like a straightjacket. And I started toying with the notion that maybe – just maybe – what seems right for everyone else around me is in fact very wrong for me. And I finally discovered, hidden deep within, my childhood dream of being an explorer, an adventurer, and a traveller.
    I realised that I am in fact a nomad at heart. And now I’m off!
    June 1st is the day I leave “home” (Denmark – nice place btw, if you happen to be in the neighbourhood 🙂 ) And of course I’ve had the usual case of panic setting in, so reading this really made my day. I couldn’t have said it better myself. And in future, when people ask me what the deal is with this being-a-nomad-travelling-the-world-thing, I’ll simply refer them to this link. Thank you!

    1. Earl

      Hey Dagmar – I really appreciate the comment! And more importantly, congratulations on starting your new adventure! You’re only two weeks away so I can imagine the excitement (as well as that panic that you mentioned) must be growing every day.

      All I can say is that if you believe so strongly in this dream of yours, then the most important thing for you to do is take that first step, which you are about to do. Once you take that step and find yourself doing what you love, you’ll find that a lot of new opportunities will come your way. It’s natural to panic and to be scared…after all, this is a huge change in life and you’re about to head in a direction that few people choose.

      But I’m quite confident that once your journey begins, all of that fear and panic will disappear!

      Where is your first stop after leaving Denmark?

    1. Earl

      Thanks so much David. From what I’ve learned over the years, becoming global citizens and having the open mind that comes with it, is by far the most useful way to break down all of the roots that cause much of the pain, suffering and conflict in this world. There’s no better way to clear up misunderstandings than by traveling beyond our comfort zone and actually learning first-hand about places and people that we really know nothing about!

  18. Lach

    I’m so glad I found this post, Earl. Fascinated to read about your experience in Pakistan. To read the travel advisories maintained by various western governments, one can only leave with the impression that half the countries in the world are consumed by political turmoil or overrun by bandits. It’s quite a different experience actually seeing things first hand. Even so, I must admit there are still countries in the world where I’m afraid to go because news media paints them as extremely hostile and dangerous places. I’m thinking especially about nations in the middle east, but elsewhere as well. Are you ever concerned about your safety when you travel? or have your experiences totally changed your perspective on all of that?

    1. Earl

      Hey Lach – Thanks for the comment! To be honest, what you wrote at the end is completely how I feel. My experiences have changed my perspective to the point where I am willing to go anywhere, despite the media reports we may be hearing. For example, last year I went to Syria, Lebanon and Northern Iraq and I didn’t run into a single problem at all. In fact, I stand by the statement I’ve made to others that this part of the world, especially Syria and Northern Iraq, was one of the safest I have ever been to. I was treated beyond well and not once worried about my safety or the safety of my possessions. With that said, I wouldn’t jump into the middle of a protest but I really believe that a little common sense is often all one needs to avoid the dangers we hear about.

      And in the end, the dangers that we do hear about usually prove to be a lot less dangerous than all of the murders and other crimes that occur back home (in the US at least). Murder in Syria is almost unheard of, as is theft. And as an American, I was welcomed with open arms. Of course, none of that matches the media’s portrayal of this ‘axis of evil’ country but it’s exactly what I experienced. Such ‘surprises’ seem to be the norm whenever I visit a country that we are warned about traveling to.

      So, that’s a quick summary of why I’m not too concerned about my safety any more 🙂

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  20. Erin

    I just have a question, do you ever want to “settle down?” Not maybe in the way other people do, but I mean get married and have kids? Just curious!

    1. Earl

      Hey Erin – It does cross my mind every now and then, but I figure that if it happens, then it happens. I don’t want to force anything but I am aware that if I wake up one day and suddenly realize that I want to ‘settle down’ somewhere, then that is exactly what I will do. But for now, my desire is to continue with this lifestyle!

  21. Erin

    Great website! I love your views on life. From a young age I always thought this way and no one, not even my friends or family, wa able to “identify” with me. They told me I was naive for wanting something different then a husband, job, and a couple of kids. Success to them was earning money and gaining status. It’s so refreshing to hear other people understand! Fantastic website, best of luck to you.

    1. Earl

      Thank you Erin! I appreciate the comment and it’s always great to hear of more people who feel the same way 🙂

      You’re definitely not naive. Most of the people who tell you that will soon be wanting to switch over to your lifestyle once they see the rewards!

  22. Mike Langford

    Hi Earl
    May I congratulate you on a great website and wonderful philosophy on life. i definitely agree that the experience in situ is what it is all about and that the experience is very personal.
    keep up the great work!

    1. Earl

      Thank you Mike! I appreciate the comment and always glad to hear from others who feel the same way about seeing the world with their own eyes.

  23. Caz Makepeace

    Love this Earl. I’ve written before how when I first learned about explorers as a young child, I knew that was what I wanted to do. Except, I never thought it was possible as the world had already been explored and what was there left for me to discover?

    I soon learned that even though I could never be the first to discover new places for the world, it would be a first discovery for me. These discoveries of places led to discoveries of new people, new cultures, new ideas, and new beliefs, and then a new discovery of myself.

    I’m still exploring and because of it, I can help to change the world positively and open up the eyes of others to new things- just like the explorers of old who sailed around in ships and named new lands.

    1. Earl

      Hey Caz – I remember on my first travels trying to think of what parts of the world were still open for exploration as well (using the traditional sense of the word). And like you, I eventually realized that the actual physical destination is not important at all. Traveling is so personal and no matter where we go, we are going to have our own personal and unique experiences, the result of which is endless exploration as far as I’m concerned as well!

      I actually hesitated using the world explorer on this site because I feared that I would receive feedback along the lines of “you’re not a real explorer”. So I’m happy that you connected with this concept as well 🙂

  24. Alissa

    This is exactly why I want to get out and see the world. Everything feels so US-centric and I feel like we have so narrowed our definition of success and how to live your life. Buy a house, work a dull job, accumulate more stuff than you need, worry about retirement.

    I want to see how the rest of the world lives. What are their views on work? On family? On government? On possessions? As our planet becomes more globally connected, I want to know what makes other people on this planet tick.

    1. Earl

      Hey Alissa – I appreciate your comment. You’re exactly right, the only way to learn how other people live (and to therefore benefit from this knowledge) is to get out there and explore for ourselves. And believe me, it will be one eye-opening experience after another and even after a short time overseas, your entire view on life will be altered. I hope you have some travels planned for the near future!

    2. Craig

      I love this post….you hit the nail on the head. I have seen how some other cultures live and crave to learn more. Its like pandora’s box has been open and I want to get OUT!!!! and explore the world and its peoples.

      1. Earl

        Hey Craig – That’s what happens…one little taste of travel leads to a desire to explore the entire planet!!

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