Gerainger Fjord, Norway

Let’s Share Our Stories & Inspire Each Other

Derek Everything Else 94 Comments

Gerainger Fjord, Norway
As I sit here right now on my flight from Florida to New York City, and my quick two-week visit to the US approaches its end, I can’t help but notice that I’m feeling more inspired than I have felt in a long time. And I’m fully confident that when I return to Bucharest next week, that inspiration will only increase even more.

I’ve realized that over the past month and a half, instead of just thinking about what I want to accomplish, and then procrastinating forever, I’ve been taking concrete steps and working hard to achieve the goals I’ve set for myself these days. And it feels wonderful. My efforts are not only paying off but they are motivating me to create even more goals and getting me excited to work even harder to achieve those as well.

What are some of these goals that I’m finally focused on?

That new eBook I’ve wanted to write for a while? I’m writing it! And it’s coming along better than I ever imagined. I won’t go into any details right now but I’m hoping this eBook will help make it possible for anyone interested in travel to take that step and be able to travel as much as they wish.

That idea I’ve had about showing other travelers around some of my favorite countries? I’m setting it up!

And there’s two other major projects that I’m also working on (not just thinking about), projects that are becoming more of a reality with each passing day.

Even just writing about what I’m working on gets me even more pumped up to continue!

But alas, the point of this post is not to dwell on what I’m working on right now. In fact, that’s enough about me. It’s your turn!

I want this post to be a place where anyone can come at any time and receive an intense dose of inspiration. And the only way to make that happen is to hear from each of you. Let’s share our goals and how we’re trying to achieve them. Our own experiences just might be able to provide the extra inspiration that someone else needs in order to make the changes they’ve been wanting to make in life.

So, what are you trying to achieve right now and what steps are you taking?

Are you trying to find a way to travel? What challenges are you facing? Have you found ways to overcome those obstacles?

Or, if you’ve lost your motivation, what went wrong and how can we get it back?

Again, I’m inspired right now. And I really want you to be as equally inspired as well because every single day is an opportunity and we just can’t afford to waste them. So let’s make this happen and help each other out!


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Comments 94

  1. Hi Earl….well I have to say that I stumbled upon your blog a couple of months ago and had no idea people like yourself were out there doing this type of traveling. I guess I though tit was just mostly Europeans with their 10 or 11 weeks of vacation that would jump around from hostel to hostel, so to find people like yourself, Matt from Expert Vagabond, and Patrick from HitchTheWorld, has not only opened my mind to the endless possibilities, but has literally swept m away into a fantasy land that I hope to one day make a reality for myself as well. Your articles on making money have also inspired me, as I have found what I believe to be a project that may be able to make some money online, utilizing the work I have been doing for the past 13 years. Granted, I have no clue about how to create a website and am not by any means a techie, I have committed myself to learning how to create this business idea and get moving on traveling. Your blog has been a true inspiration and has certainly led me to let go of some of my preconceived notions about certain parts of the world, an my fear of not earning enough money to survive. Now where else could I have gotten all this boost of positive energy without paying a shrink $150/session for several months. HA HA. I hope to meet you someday out on a journey, and after having traveled significantly in Latin countries, I am excited about seeing something completely new and being introduced to an entirely different culture, so I am looking at Thailand…..also because I scuba dive and want to be WARM….ok HOT!!!! I hate winters and cold, so sorry, I will never meet up with you in Romania. 🙂 Thanks Earl

    1. Hey Craig – Come on now…it reaches about 90 degrees in Romania during the summer! Surely that’s hot enough 🙂

      Seriously though, I really do appreciate your comment here and it’s always wonderful to know that others have found some inspiration through this site. And if you have any questions or need any advice about the project you’d like to get off the ground, just let me know and I’ll do my best to help you out as best I can.

  2. Hi Earl,
    My story–I’m a full-time teacher and part-time waitress saving to see the world.
    My upcoming travels (if all goes well) — a month in Europe, a year in South Korea(teaching), then a year RTW…
    My goal — to maintain a functioning travel website, to inspire those who wish to travel and share my experiences. I launched my site last week and I’m way too anxious to see it take off.
    Thanks for reading this post, and always replying to comments. You inspire me.


    1. Hey Daphne – I’m excited for you and it’s great that you’re planning on traveling for quite a decent amount of time! I’ll check out your blog now and I’m sure that if you put in the required effort, you’ll achieve your blogging and travel goals before you know it 🙂

  3. Hey Earl

    A lot of people have a very self-destructive mindset when it comes to travel, so the message I would like to give everyone is WHERE THERE’S A WILL, THERE’S A WAY!
    I really wanted to go to Africa and go on a safari, see the beaches in Zanzibar, work with orphans and swim with wild dolphins. At first this seemed like a distant dream to me, because I didn’t have the money, or anyone to go with, and I could never get enough time off work, blah blah blah. I had about a dozen excuses why I couldn’t go. But then something strange happened. I was sitting at my desk one day and out of no where I decided that’s what I was going to do and that I would figure out how after. So I immediately told my boss I would be needing time off (whether he liked it or not, I was going) and began the plan on how to get to Africa. Long story short, I got on the plane to Tanzania alone, raised money before leaving for the orphanage I volunteered at (these funds also paid for my flight to Africa) Made a TON of friends, went on an amazing 4 day safari, swam with wild dolphins in Zanzibar, and got to meet 55 of the most amazing little kids who do EVERYTHING on their own and they are all under 8 years old! Now I am putting all my belongings in storage and jumping on a plane to Costa Rica in May to begin my travels through Central and South America. I’m hoping to find work teaching English and I’m not coming home until I am fluent in Spanish and Portuguese! You’re right tho, getting on the plane alone is definitely the hardest part. However; one thing I have learned is that the limitations in our lives live only in our minds and it is only ourselves that make things possible or impossible.
    Thanks for the inspirational boost!

    1. Hey Christine – That’s an awesome story and I think you’ve provided quite an inspirational boost as well! What you’ve done is exactly what I try to explain to everyone who wants to travel…just start and you’ll work it all out along the way. And just about everyone that does take that leap ends up with a similar story of how they achieved their goals and are now preparing for the next life adventure. I’m sure your trip to Central/South America will be no less rewarding than your experience in Africa!

  4. Hello again Earl!
    I am currently looking into a year of teaching ESL in Georgia, which would start in the fall! My goals after that are quite lofty: I want to meet my sister in Italy (where she’d be finishing an internship about the same time my contract was up) and do an altered version of the silk road (Istanbul, Georgia to show her my home, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, China and if we have time/money into South East Asia!)

    It is kind of insane because we are pretty well traveled but have always been hostelers, and hostels don’t exist (or at least not on the search engines) in some of the more obscure ‘stans. Nevertheless, we are determined. Maybe you could meet up with us somewhere =]


    1. Hey Kacie – I would love to meet up with you on that trip 🙂 Central Asia has been near the top of my list of places I want to visit for a long time now. And that’s alright that there aren’t hostels….a little searching online, especially if you find other travel bloggers who have been to those places, will definitely reveal some places to stay. Let me know when you have your plans more finalized and we’ll see about meeting up!

  5. Hi Earl!

    My husband and I are traveling overland from Alaska to Argentina in a veggie powered truck with our five children. That’s a pretty big goal in itself.

    But right now our focus is on increasing our location independent income. We’re taking a 3 month pause in Panajachel, Guatemala, to focus on our growing our websites. We’re inspired and motivated!

    Thanks for this post

    1. Hey Rachel – That’s sounds like quite a unique trip and it’s definitely a huge goal! But it seems you’re well on your way towards achieving it. Enjoy Guatemala for now and I shall look forward to following along with the rest of your journey!

  6. Pingback: This Post Is For My Friends In Syria | Wandering Earl

  7. It is amazing how each of us has a different story, yet we all have the same desire for adventure and travel. I am madly working on product for my digital scrapbooking website whilst working a day job exclusively to save for our travels. My aim is to cover travel and living costs with my business, whilst my dear hubby will work on income to cover our fixed costs. We love our little beachside community, with our network of family and friends, so we are keeping our home base. But the yearning to travel gets stronger and stronger each day.

    I would love to hear from anyone who has travelled extensively whist still paying off debt at home. We have a small mortgage and no other debts, and only recently I have even considered the idea of actually still servicing the debt along with the basic costs of keeping our home whilst traveling. We won’t be renting our place out as that is the cause of our current mortgage…repairs from the last tenants.

  8. I love this blog! It is nice to read about other people who also have an adventurous spirit.

    Right now my goal is to finish my masters degree in geology by next December… I suffer from procrastination, perhaps caused by fear of the daunting task ahead of me. Luckily I have found a career that lets me travel to places that tourists would not ordinarily visit, and it makes me feel like an explorer. This summer I’m heading to remote areas of the Yukon (northern Canada) on a gold exploration project. My motivation to finish is from a desire to work abroad.

    Thank you for sharing your stories, I enjoy reading about every one of them!

    1. Hey Melissa – That does sound like quite an amazing career you have lined up and I have no doubt you’ll get to visit regions of the world that most of us travelers will never see…or even know exist!

      And I’m happy to hear that you’re enjoying the blog…I certainly love having you comment and share your own thoughts!

  9. Earl, you’ve got pretty much the best travel blog going.. never seen a host so interactive with his guests.. I purchased the escaping the rat race and that was solid.. Basically now I am chasing a dream.. have dropped out of graduate school to study internet maketing full time. I feel as if I am finally doing something for myself, but at the same time you doubt if there is a pot of gold at the end of this path. But studying something I love is so refreshing and I know I will eventually attain the income needed to fulfill my lifestyle (luckily, for us travelers vagabonders only earning 20k is really needed).. by the way, is your counter at the top of this screen fixed to Romania, or have you been there awhile?

    1. @Vagabonder: I really appreciate that comment and to be honest, I love interacting with the visitors of this website. It definitely is what I love most about having a blog! And you’re right about the income levels needed to sustain such a lifestyle…you don’t need a pot of gold as a bowl of gold will be more than enough. Seems like you’re quite excited about studying the internet marketing and I really believe that success is guaranteed for those who have the determination to continue learning and to face the obstacles that will appear. Those who don’t succeed with this stuff tend to be those who just give up at some point.

      And I have been in Romania for a while, since the middle of December…apart from a quick 13 day visit back to the US that I just returned from two days ago. I just didn’t change the counter to the “US” during that trip for some reason but I usually change it the day I arrive in a new country.

  10. Hi Earl,

    So I graduated from college last May in the U.S. I took a job in a lab since I wanted to live in Manhattan. But I felt that I was not enjoying the city because of my job (mostly my boss). I quit it and then worked as a private tutor. Then I felt I could do better things than being a tutor; so I moved back to Nepal in December. Not all my friends could understand my move; but I had to do it.

    I now plan to start a travels business especially focusing on middle-class Indians for traveling to Nepal. Also I would like to travel all of the SAARC countries and backpack most of South East Asia within the next two years. I’ll be traveling India and Bangladesh for the whole of March and perhaps more this year. So I at least put a foot in the door!

    1. Hey Vishal – That sounds like a good plan to me, especially if it’s the plan that makes you the happiest! You’ve clearly taken some steps towards your goals, some difficult steps, and now that you’re focused on your new idea, all you need is to stay focused to make it happen. I look forward to hearing about your new travel company once it’s up and running.

  11. I’ve always contended that the best thing about travel is the state of mind you find yourself in. Everything’s new and people generally like new things. As foreigners we can be treated with fascination by locals and conversely we are awed by things that might be mundane for them.

    I’ve spent the last two years trying to capture this positive energy. I had a ‘YesMan’ year in Sydney as I prepared for my EuroTrip which I’ve just returned home from.

    The plan is to continue living in the moment but have my sights set on visiting the 30 NBA cities of the States. While traveling around Europe I created a mission to have a basketball experience in each Country I set foot in. It was really just a pretext that forced and enabled me to befriend locals and search out events and places I might otherwise not have explored. With that mission accomplished I hope to continue it in North America.

    In literature its called a “Macguffin”. Its the suitcase or microfilm everyone in the movie is chasing. It doesn’t even matter what it is or what it represents, its simply a device that progresses the movie forward. I think that’s important in life – Having purpose and direction.

    1. @Loz in Transit – I couldn’t agree with you more as I also believe that having a purpose, any purpose at all, is important when traveling. And as you stated, it really doesn’t matter what that central theme may be as it is simply a way to interact with the people and culture of wherever it is you are visiting.

      But it’s a hard concept to grasp because when people think of goals, they tend to think large and grand. It’s not easy to understand that even simple goals can play a huge role in the outcome of our travels.

  12. Great post, Earl! Sounds like a lot of good stuff happening for you in the near future, congrats!

    I quit my insurance job last May to get married and move to Germany, where my expat husband was already living. Then a few months later, I set off for 5 months to take a round the world trip, something I’ve always wanted to do. I just got back, literally last night, and now I’m trying to figure out my next step. I refuse to go back to insurance, and I’d love to be able to work from anywhere so my husband and I can travel more often. So my goals are working on my blog, writing more, improving my photography skills, and researching other options for making money in something travel-related.

    Thanks for being so inspiring!

    1. Hey Ali – It’s so good to hear the stories of those who made bold moves and who clearly don’t regret those decisions! The first step is realizing that there are options for us to live the lifestyle that we want most. It certainly takes hard work to achieve, just like anything else, but if I’m going to work hard, I much prefer working hard towards a goal that will bring me the most happiness. And it seems that you feel the same…

      I’m sure that the experiences you had during your five months away will provide more than enough inspiration to keep you focused on achieving your goal of being able to travel more often!

  13. Great work as always Earl! You’ve always been a source of inspiration and advice for me and have been instrumental in speeding up my process of becoming a digital nomad. Just this morning I received the paperwork for my new business Greater Good Web Solutions and (will be unveiling the new website shortly) am one step closer to working from whatever sunny locale I find myself in. Thanks and keep up the good work!

    1. Oops, forgot to leave my inspiration for everyone else. Once I decided on my goal (to travel and live in Latin America) it seemed overwhelming. The thing that has really helped me to achieve what I have so far is to hold myself accountable. Rather than day dreaming about it I ask myself everyday, “What are you doing about it?”. That way everyday I am working towards my goals. It seems pretty obvious but if you’re honest with yourself you can really get a lot accomplished quickly.

    2. Congratulations Jason! So I guess the business is official! I’m looking forward to seeing the website and learning some more about your plans…

  14. Awesome stuff Earl. Maybe it’s the time of the year, maybe it’s something in the air, but I’ve been on the same page lately – just super positive, goal oriented and feeling great. Thanks for sharing such an awesome post – by the way- just before reading this, I posted something similar at – How cool is kismet? Sorry we missed crossing paths in Istanbul, but maybe the next place…

    1. Hey Vago – Whatever the reason, I’ll always welcome an extra dose of inspiration at any time! And I’m sure we will cross paths at some point…it always tends to work out eventually.

  15. Hi!
    I recently started reading your blog, and I have to say that I love your writing style. Your posts are interesting and witty – it seems like you really have an awesome life! Anyway, I’m a teacher from Seattle, living in South Korea this year teaching English. I’ve been here since last August, and I’ll be here until August, 2012. Before I came here, I really had doubts about living in Asia – I thought there’d be too many cultural differences, it would be dirty, I would die of tropical diseases… But I really really love living here. Last month I took an amazing vacation to Vietnam and Hong Kong that really inspired me to want to travel some more, so I’m going to take a few months off in the fall to travel around Southeast Asia – Vietnam (again), Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and maybe China.

    Anyway, just wanted to say that I enjoy your blog!

    1. Hey Megan – I love to read about someone who had fears about traveling but did it anyway! And then, once they arrived at their destination, they realized that there wasn’t much to fear in the first place. I’ve never been to South Korea but can only imagine that it’s a great place to spend a year…especially when you can ‘hop’ over to Southeast Asia for more rewarding travel experiences 🙂

  16. We love writing down our goals. It’s so interesting to look back at your goals for previous years and see how many of them you accomplished. Last year our goal was to start the Maverick Expedition- a journey that will take us around the world hand delivering letters to strangers. Well, we started it by retrieving the letters from a barrel in the Galapagos but we have yet to deliver any. This year our goal is to obtain sponsorship for the remainder of our journey and hopefully complete it.

    Other goals include getting better at making videos, traveling to at least 10 new countries, and getting our good friends to travel with us.

    We look forward to seeing what goals you accomplish!

    1. Hey Tawny – That’s an impressive list of goals you have for this year! And of course, there’s really nothing stopping you from achieving them all. And that Maverick Expedition sounds interesting. I never heard of that before and will have to check it out myself!

  17. Hi Earl!

    My plans change so fast it’s not even funny anymore. However there is always one constant – I love to write. But of course questions arise: what do I write about? how can I get people to read what I’ve written? will they like it? will they return? and so on…therefore, the pressure is huge. I’ve just started a small project, my second blog, which stems from my love of books. I love to read and I want to bring that part of community together to a place where we can exchange ideas, book titles, authors and impressions. I also want to be launched in the reviewing business. I managed to get an offer from Chicken Soup for the Soul, and got to review their latest book. I can’t tell you how happy I was when I received the copy, then sent my opinion. It’s strange that what I think will have success, has little or none, and other articles I write bring a lot of attention. I try really hard to provide good content as often as I can, but with other 2 jobs it’s pretty difficult. But I decided – I will take small steps, allow one hour/day to work on my website and hopefully readers will come. I would also like to write a book, fiction that is, and I’ve tried my hand in several fantasy/thriller stories on my first blog, fiy3ro. A lot of people advise me to write a book, but I know it’s not that easy. I will try though, and hopefully inspiration will not abandon me!

    1. Hey Joseph – That’s not a bad constant to have as it is always something you can work on, no matter what your situation or where you happen to be! The other thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to overload yourself. So I think focusing on small steps is the way to go, especially if you have 2 other projects you’re working on. This will allow you to keep making progress while producing quality work. And then eventually, you’ll have time to write that book!

  18. Hey Earl I’m surprised you answer every comment! That must be an incredible feat over time.

    In any case, I’ve been wondering about your travels. Have you ever considered translating useful phrases on small cards you can carry around with you when you enter a country with no common language? You could translate it with something akin to babblefish. Now I know that it isn’t the most accurate of technologies but it manages to get the point across most of the time. If you haven’t done it, could you please give it a try and tell us how well it goes?

    P.S. Sorry for the last message, on reading it again I realize some parts weren’t well written and now I can’t edit it. I should’ve proofread it, but it was late at the time. In any case, I hope I do manage to be able to have such a lifestyle. I sometimes check on the internet how much would it cost for me to be able to carry out the trips I wish. I’ve always wanted to do a “historical trip” where I follow the course of history by visiting historical places in a chronological order.

    1. Hey Miryr – I’ve never considered that as usually, carrying around a small phrase book (either an actual book or a version on your phone) is more than enough. Everything you need would be inside those pages. Also, I generally take the time to learn the most common phrases on my own so that I am prepared when in a new country. Knowing the basics ahead of time makes a huge difference!

      And no need to apologize for your last message 🙂 I do like your historical trip idea and I think that, with proper research, the cost wouldn’t be nearly as much as one might imagine!

  19. Hi Earl;

    Since you know my son, Tyler Fitzpatrick, I thought you might be interested to read my latest blog on his first ever flight involving U.S. Immigration.
    By the way, thank-you so much for your insightful and entertaining blog, also for being such a wonderful travelling companion to Tyler on his first journey away from home.

    All the best,
    Suzanne Fitzpatrick

    1. Hey Suzanne – That sure is an interesting post you wrote and what a way for Tyler to begin his travels! And it was honestly great hanging out with Tyler. He’s such a nice guy and a great person to travel with!

  20. Earl I wish I had your passion and sense of purpose.

    I am finishing my college degree and graduating this summer and quite frankly…I don’t know what the hell to do with my life! I have talked about this issue lately with so many people and nobody seems to know the answer so maybe you can help me out.

    I spent 5 months last year traveling around Europe and I was immediately hooked. If it weren’t for the one semester left toward my degree I wouldn’t have returned. However, now that I am back and am nearing the end I don’t know what to do. I seem to lack the drive toward my career in journalism that I had before I went to Europe…now I would honestly be content with a life of constant travel working different unimportant jobs in different places to afford my basic day to day living expenses. However, for most people that isn’t exactly the definition of success.

    My parents want me to get a good job and settle down, my friends are all either getting married, finding jobs and settling down or finding a school for their masters degree. I don’t want any of that!

    So anyways next summer I am going to Greece with my parents on a family vacation and plan on perhaps staying in Europe afterwards, traveling around for a bit until I finally find a city that feels like home and where I can find a job. I was born in Germany so I think that perhaps if I live there for a year or so I will be able to regain my German citizenship and can live and work in the EU…but once again…that involves settling down!

    So I really don’t know what to do…I love my family and my life here but I don’t feel mature enough to grow up and start being serious so soon. Is this a selfish decision? Do you ever regret not pursuing a career and staying in one place? And also how does your family feel about your nomadic lifestyle? I am very close with my parents and I want to make them proud but I can’t bring myself to be confined like that…

    Do you have any suggestions? I am pretty lost…

    1. Hey Kirsten – Thank you for leaving a comment! And my first piece of advice would be not to worry. Very few people have any idea what they want out of life when they finish college. Even many years later most people are still confused!

      And if you feel that you want to give the traveling lifestyle a try, if you feel that would bring you great happiness, then you owe it to yourself to go for it. Besides, no decision is permanent. If you live in Europe for a while, travel around and work and eventually you decide it’s not for you, you can always return home and enter a more career-oriented lifestyle.

      What’s the worst that can happen if you try to travel and live overseas? Nothing too bad really 🙂 As for me, I don’t regret not pursuing a career at all. I knew I wanted to travel and this is what makes me happy, so there is nothing else I would have rather done. Is it a selfish decision? I look at it like this…a happier me is certainly going to be able to do more good in this world than an unhappy me. I’m not sure how much I could offer the world if I was stuck in an office and stuck in a career that didn’t excite me.

      In terms of family, naturally, they weren’t too thrilled with my nomadic lifestyle at first. But eventually, once I proved that I wasn’t just bumming around the world, that I was in fact creating an actual, sustainable lifestyle for myself, they came around and offered their full support. And these days, they come and visit me once or twice a year and they have started to travel more on their own as well.

      So, it might be hard for your parents at first but they’ll be proud once they see that you are achieving things that most people believe are unattainable dreams!

      1. Ok that really does help thanks Earl.. that is a very interesting way to think about happiness and I wouldn’t have thought about it that way.

        All I know is that despite all of the difficulties of travel (visas, money, language barrier etc.) it was still the best time of my life and it made me realize that it was what I wanted to do. If what you say is true then maybe that is the best route for me…at least for now.

        Thanks for the help!

        1. I agree with Earl and have some of my own advise. Only you can decide what your own level of success is, it has nothing to do with anyone else. At the end of the day, if you are supporting yourself, not asking anything of your parents, and you are happy then that is all that matters. Some people want a career, some want a family, some want other things. It really doesn’t matter. I am a little older than Earl, and in my life, I have wanted neither a family or a career. For years I thought something was wrong with me, but the I realized that I am happy to earn enough income to pay my expenses and afford me the opportunity to travel as often as possible. Now I am working on changing that income to a little more on the digital side so I can travel more frequently and for indefinite periods. Don’t give up your dream for what you think someone else wants or expects from you. It is your life, and at the end of the day…maybe even years down the track, most parents end up coming out with that all along they just wanted you to be happy. They get over the things that they didn’t understand – in my case, a decision not to start a family. Focussing on creating a life that you want is not selfish, it is the ultimate success.

          1. Hey Missy – Absolutely solid advice! And I agree that happiness is the key…and I’ve found that eventually, family and friends do, like you said, come around once they realize that you are happy doing whatever it is you chose to do, whether it involves a more traditional path in life or a more unconventional one!

  21. Hi Earl-
    Thank you so much for the inspiration you provide. I really enjoy reading what you write and following along with your adventures.
    My main goal has been to travel when my children graduate from high school-not full-time, but as much as possible.
    To reach that goal, I figured I needed a career I could do from anywhere, so I am going to school part-time to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in Technical Communication, with hopes of becoming a freelance tech writer.
    My daughters graduate in a little over 4 years. By that time I will have completed my degree, hopefully have some work experience, and have built up a freelance client list.
    I am very excited about the future, and I appreciate all of the inspiration you provide.

    1. Hey Kristi – Seems like you are taking some concrete steps to achieve your goals as well! That sounds like a great plan to me and I’m sure when those 4 years have passed, you’ll be more than ready to get out there and do the traveling you want to do. It’s great to be excited about the future. I think that means you are certainly heading the right direction 🙂

  22. I am working on paying down my student loans and my mortgage within the next 10 years. I too want to travel, but to serve the world as a missionary. I want to travel with a purpose that is greater than me.

    1. Hey Nina – Thank you for sharing your goals! I’m sure it will be a great feeling when you finally make that last payment on the loans 🙂

    1. Hey Ian – I was just reading about the Inca Rally…and I’m thinking of participating. Not sure if I can work it into my schedule yet but I can, I’d love to join!

  23. First of all, great work! And I just want to say thanks for helping to inspire the rest of us. You’ve got a good heart.

    I’m trying to use this year to get started traveling abroad. I’m heading to Central America this summer with a friend who’s already a traveler, herself. But after that, I want to head to visit Germany and see the places I frequented as a soldier. Then I want to spend some considerable time in the Czech Republic, notably, Prague. I’m a pro photog and I tend to see so much great work come from Eastern Europe. I’d like to go there and work under someone and soak up some of the air they breathe, much like an aspiring actor might move to L.A.

    Central America will be fairly easy, I think. Hitting the road a month later to Europe will be my challenge. I’d like to find a trusty network that I can plug in with that may help me to sustain myself and work with my camera as well as learn. I have no clue how I will do this. Not yet anyway. Its not enough just to get there. My formula for success is equal to earn double my expenses for the entire stay which may be upwards of 3 months. That’s the goal right now. Then repeat in 2013.

    1. Hey Terrell – Thanks for commenting and sharing your goals! I think you’re already a step ahead considering that you have your plans in place to travel to Central America this summer. Once that adventure begins I think you’ll discover that there are more opportunities out there that one might imagine. And this should translate to Europe as well. Just try your best to network with as many people as possible, hang out in the right places and even contact Prague-based photographers through their websites. At some point you’ll find that network you’re looking for and there’s nothing stopping you from starting the search right now, giving you plenty of time to make something happen!

  24. Sounds like you’ve got a lot going on. Looking forward to hearing about some of those other projects.

    I have a big project I am working on now. I am writing a Buenos Aires City Guide for Indie Travel Media. I am excited for the opportunity to write about a city I love AND take this next step as a travel writer.

    1. Hey Stephanie – That’s excellent and seems like quite an ideal opportunity! That’s the kind of project that could lead to many other things, so I certainly wish you luck with that. I’ll have to read through your guide once it’s ready as I’m much prefer to read a traveler-written guide than a traditional guide book!

    1. Hey Nate – I just read your post and congratulations! I agree that setting a date is the way to go. It’s much better than just saying ‘I’ll travel at some point’. Before you know it you’ll be out there on the road….and I can’t wait to hear all about your adventures!

  25. Hey Earl, can’t wait for the eBook. I’ve just arrived in Auckland, New Zealand (obviously!) a few weeks ago and have been setting up Visa, Home etc etc. Here for another 5-months at least and maybe longer. My goals are to live in many more countries. I’m not a fan of 2-week or even 1-month trips so trying to be a more long-term traveller.

    My goals here are to get steady on the websites again and nail down some savings (although it is expensive here). I also want to get back to my best shape, I have my eyes on doing a 40-50mile running road race one day!

    1. Hey Forest – I like your travel style a lot. You definitely get a completely different perspective when you spend so much time in one place. And it’s good to see you are focused on your goals. Living in one place for a while does make it easier to achieve other things as well because we can get into some sort of routine that helps a person stay focused. Good luck with the running…that is one goal that is not on my list!

  26. Hi Earl,

    It’s actually kind of ironic that you posted this now because, just yesterday, I was talking to my brother about what to do next. You see, I’m in Adelaide, Australia – maybe that says it all. My brother seems to have a good point in that I should move on and go somewhere exciting, like Brisbane where I can see amazing things and be around one of the most beautiful places in the world – Cairns. On the other hand, I feel like any of these popular tourist spots are going to be big cities (I don’t care for big cities because they’re expensive and tend to be a bit generic) and packed with other backpackers looking for work. The thing is that I am actually making some progress here in Adelaide – I have a network of friends, free accomodations, and now work is becoming available to me as well. Also, the Fringe festival is on so I figure it might be good to stick around for that. It’s just that I feel like when I finally do go to this new place (might also consider Perth or somewhere up North like Darwin) I might wonder why I didn’t go sooner!

    1. Hey Travis – That’s an interesting situation you’re in but at the end of the day, it’s a good one to have! Having to choose between staying in Adelaide, where you seem to be well set up, or moving on to a different Australian city, where you’ll once again meet new people and find new opportunities, is a choice that many people don’t have. And I think you should do whatever you are comfortable with. Perth and Darwin and Brisbane aren’t going anywhere so if you enjoy where you’re at now, then stay. At some point you’ll feel that it is the right time to move on and when that happens, you should move on. But if you’re not fully convinced yet, then there’s no reason to change your situation.

      1. Thanks Earl! I think that’s the right way to look at it, might as well stay a bit – I have a year and, as you say, “Perth and Darwin and Brisbane aren’t going anywhere.” 🙂

    1. Hey Andrew – I am absolutely planning on getting back to India this year and yes, that would be one country I would plan to show people around. And since you’ll be there for 3 months, there’s a good chance our paths will cross 🙂

  27. I do enjoy coming back to this blog. Gives me glimmers of hope when my leads start to fade out.

    I’ve done nothing but read and research travel options for months. I have a Creating Writing degree and TESOL qualification, and know that teaching English overseas is a damn good way to get the ball rolling. Thought I was going to score some work in Morocco and focused on nothing but that possibility for ages, and while that’s looking less and less likely it’ll happen (disappointing), I’m looking for an excuse to head over to that part of the world anyway. The best I’ve come up with is: After taking advantage of my standing invitation to stay in a Moroccan riad and write for a blog, I would quite like to walk with my partner across France. And maybe some other parts of Europe, provided my feet aren’t too wrecked.

    My struggle with inspiration doesn’t come from lack of faith that this is doable. Countless bloggers (including you, Earl) have told me this is doable. Rather, it comes from doubt that many other people I know aren’t going down this path. They’re all getting “real” jobs and saving travel for designated holiday breaks. Just this morning, I read on Facebook that a friend has scored photography work for an agent that works with Vogue and Vanity. That rattled me. I’m realising that people around me are achieving successes while I am shooting for something that I may not be able to see through (due to lack of finances, or whatever). And, even if I do see it through…will I come out the other side with anything that rivals “success”?

    I don’t know. Perhaps I’m just lazy because I don’t want to be a slave to conventional work for the rest of my life. I want the “easy way”, and I sometimes feel embarrassed by it. But, there are concrete things I want to achieve along the way. I’m not goal-less. For example, I want to reignite my love of writing, and eventually be paid for it. Start a dynamic and eccentric blog (already have ideas brewing). Walk…a lot. Eat…a lot. Manifest an even stronger relationship with my other half. Travel slowly. Experience tastes, smells, sounds and sights like none other. Accumulate pocket money in more…diverse ways (fruit picking? My pleasure).

    My biggest obstacle will always be my own lack of confidence, which is easily hindered by people raising their eyebrows when I mention wanting to do a lot with not a lot (i.e., money. That old thing). But, it helps to seek peace-of-mind in places like this, filled with those who want to break away from the status quo in seemingly impossible ways.

    Thank you for providing these opportunities. Hope to run into you all someday 🙂

    1. Hey Lauren – Everything you wrote makes sense and I understand that battle very well. I think it’s important to spend time trying to determine what ‘success’ means to you. It has a different meaning for everyone. Also, chances are, many of those people who are achieving photography work or other ‘successes’, are still missing something in life or are not as happy as we might imagine. You clearly have your goals and so, if you were to follow in the footsteps of your friends and try to make your way in the ‘normal’ world, it doesn’t sound like you would be happy. You wouldn’t be able to achieve the goals that you’ve laid out in your comment above.

      As for a lack of confidence, you just need to get out there and start. Once you do, that confidence will return and return quickly. Once you start to experience your goals first-hand, you will let nothing stop you from achieving more. And with every day, as you repeatedly face and overcome unique challenges, you will gain the confidence needed to continue.

      Let others raise their eyebrows. That’s what I’ve done. And soon enough, those very same people will start asking you how they can change their lives too 🙂

  28. Hey Earl!

    What a great idea for a post, it’s always nice to read (and be encouraged by) people’s inspirational stories.

    Last year I was pretty unhappy with the way things were going. I was doing a degree that I didn’t feel passionate about anymore, I had no idea what I wanted to do for a career, and the idea of working a 9-5 job for the next 40 years terrified me. All my friends were either going on to do further study or applying for jobs and neither of those seemed like an option to me. I wanted to travel but didn’t have a single dollar to my name and assumed (like most people tend to do) that I would need to save a lot of money before this could happen. Then I found your blog (and a number of other great travel blogs as well) and realized that my goal was possible, and I didn’t need to be a millionaire to make it happen. After brainstorming a number of (amazing) options for working overseas (some of which you talk about on your blog already), I have a plan and a one way ticket to the other side of the world.

    If you want something enough there are always ways to make it happen, and for me that was travel. I could easily have gotten a job like the rest of my friends, but there is no time like the present to start living your life the way you want to. I am lucky because I don’t have a house or a mortgage, I don’t have kids or a husband, and I don’t have any reason not to go (besides a huge student loan but I plan on working while I am traveling so with some monthly budgeting and repayments that isn’t really an excuse).

    There are so many opportunities for working while you travel (with or without a degree), money shouldn’t be the thing to hold you back (unless you want to stay in 5-star hotels and eat steak every night). Don’t wait until tomorrow or put off living your life on your terms, if there is something you want to do then go for it! This may not be travel related, it could be anything, but if you start making a plan and putting that plan into action, you will be surprised how many opportunities will arise.

    Thanks for inspiring me to not follow the crowd Earl, I am sure that many other people have also been encouraged by your blog (and this post), so keep up the great work 🙂

    P.S. In case you were wondering, I have scored an awesome job working at a summer camp in America for 3 months and then will be heading on to the UK to (hopefully) get a job working in a pub for a while before heading on to explore Europe! I would say wish me luck but I don’t need it – I’m making my own luck! 😛

    1. Hey Renata – Wow! That is absolutely inspiring! And I think yours is a comment that everyone should read as you laid it all out perfectly. I also like the fact that you mentioned your plan to pay off student debt while traveling as this is often a major factor that holds people back. But like you said, with some proper budgeting and finding work overseas, even student debt shouldn’t hold you back.

      Well, I’m inspired even more after reading your comment…and I shall look forward to hearing about your experiences in America and beyond!

    2. Hi Renata,

      I would also like to say thanks for posting that you are still going to travel while paying off student loans. I have some myself and that is why I have been holding off from researching travel options along with a friend of mine who will be graduating soon. We want to take a huge trip around Europe and have not had enough confidence to figure out how we can pay off loans while abroad. Knowing there are others out there doing the same really helps and the fact that you have so much belief in doing so is inspiring. I myself will be doing some americorp work in California this spring/summer and now I may try and set something up to make this Europe trip happen after that! Thanks so much!

  29. Good post Earl. Recently, I closed a deal with a spanish company for some money. although it’s little money, It’s very gratifying that my work is beginning to pay off.

    Maybe I would like to earn more money from my spanish travel blog so I can travel properly. I know most people take their time to write an ebook and sell it cause that really pays, but i don’t consider myself an authority on a topic to do that at the moment. I hope to overcome this in a future.

    1. Hey Osvaldo – Congrats on the deal! That’s certainly a step in the right direction. And my theory has always been…if you can make one deal, you can make 1000 deals. You just need to find the right people to work with.

      And not everyone needs to write an eBook. There are plenty of other online opportunities to pursue….and since you already have your spanish travel blog, you already have a foundation that you can build upon.

  30. Getting ready to embark on a 3 – 6 month backpacking trip all over se Asia. Thanks to Earl for all of the help and answering all of my questions…..God knows I will have more.

    1. Hey Jeff – It’s been my pleasure answering your questions and of course, keep sending them my way if you have more! The only thing I ask in exchange is to keep me updated about how things are going once you get to Asia 🙂

  31. Wooh! Love the inspiration.

    Here’s our story: my husband is graduating from college in June, and about a week or two after he graduates we’re going to pack up and take off on a road trip adventure around the U.S….and maybe beyond. We don’t know when we’re coming back, if ever. We’re bringing gear for camping, backpacking, WWOOFing/Helpxing, sleeping on our friends’ and relatives’ floors, housesitting, and lying on various beaches. I have a goal to not spend any money on accommodation for a full year.

    Right now we’re living on my measly income and saving all of the financial aid he’s getting for school, so we’ll hopefully have $10,000 saved up by the time we leave. When we run out of money, we’ll work, and then travel some more. I’ve been hyper-researching creating a “freedom business” for the past year, but I’m still not sure I want to be tied to my computer, beyond the writing that I already do. I have a casual blog, but I’ll be writing more consistently while we’re traveling. I have a few books I want to write, and I’m considering trying to break into freelance writing as well, but at the moment I don’t want an online business that requires internet 24/7, since we’d like to disappear into the woods or off-grid work exchange situations for weeks at a time.

    I love travel and we’re both finally in a position where we can do it. We don’t have everything figured out. I don’t have a successful online business or a blog with a large audience that will support our travels. We might get homesick after six months and decide to pack it in, or in a year we might find ourselves happily living out of our backpacks in SEA or South America. The important thing for me is that we’re open to anything, to the world, to life. We have many skills, we’re educated and resourceful, we’re passionate, and…this is our life. There are no rules. Nothing is going to stop us.

    1. Hey Zoe – There are no rules indeed! And having that open-mind and that willingness to take life as it comes and figure things out as they happen is something that makes the difference between surviving as travelers for a long time or having to give up on your goals at some point. You clearly have the right mind-set going into this and even though you don’t have everything sorted out (which is perfectly fine of course!), you’ll fill in those blanks as you approach them.

      Great stuff and I can’t tell you how good it feels to see someone write ‘nothing is going to stop us’!! That’s the attitude you need!

  32. Yo Earl what’s up how are you? Great post & idea (: .

    Well this is my firsts comment to write after discovering your inspirational website 5 months ago. Anyway here are my dreams i’m currently working on.

    *Developing valuable marketing skills & figuring out ways to make money in Iceland when I go there in June for 2 – 4 weeks. That will enable me to continuously travel when i’m ready to leave at the end of July, or August heading to Thailand next & then long journey of going to every country in the world acquiring transcendental experiences/knowledge.

    *Building my blog/website into being brilliant into achieving a location independent lifestyle, attaining a audience that my writing will resonate to as I work on honing my writing skills to the next level everyday.Creating valuable art to world into making it a better happier place. That will inspire people to tap into their inner potential to be even more amazing, making themselves a more attractive person in the inside & taking action in going after dreams.

    1. Hey Lau’ren’tay – Thank you for sharing and those are definitely inspirational goals you have! Seems like you are quite intent on traveling and open to finding creative ways to make it happen. So I have no doubt you’ll succeed. And even though blogs take time to build and require a lot of effort, if you stay with it and stay genuine, you’ll create exactly what you’re hoping for!

  33. I love the idea of this post. I’m feeling very inspired at the moment as well.

    At the end of last year I finally found that Travel is something I’m truly interested in, I love everything about it. I have goals to travel more abroad and also within my own country and this new found love has inspired me to do a few things that I usually find very scary.

    Firstly, I joined a college course for Travel and tourism. As part of the course we have to put on an event and I am leading the team! For me this is something very unusual as I shy away from these types of responsibilities and confrontation. However, I’m finding it very eye opening and even though it might not be what I want to do as a job in the future it’s an amazing experience.

    Secondly, my writing is something that I seemed to have picked up again this year. I like you have plans to write an Ebook and I’m continuing with my blog on a weekly basis!

    It feels a bit like this is the first year where I’m getting somewhere and hopefully the feeling will stay for a little while yet.

    Good luck to everyone that has commented, I wish you all the best for the upcoming year and thanks Earl for a great post!

    1. Hey Gemma – Those are big steps you are taking! It’s always a valuable experience when we force ourselves out of our comfort zone, which it sounds like you’ve done with the Tourism course. And just as that has proven to be an amazing experience, so are most of the challenges we decide to tackle in life. It’s always that first step that is the most difficult of course….

      And great work with the writing as well. Definitely keep that up!!

  34. First, great post. Inspiration is a great feeling.

    Last year I took my first trips outside the US. A month in Thailand and a few weeks in Japan. I wasn’t sure how I was going to like it but I ended up loving it. Prior to that it took me almost 2 years of selling my stuff, paying down some debts, and saving a few bucks. I will say one thing and one thing only. I’m hooked on travel.

    This year won’t be filled with much travel. My goal for 2012 is to get my business off the ground. I started a website design and hosting company and this last week I got my first two sites. I’m pumped and everything I make will be going back into the business.

    My ultimate goal will be to travel and work from anywhere I can find internet. I’ve had a taste and I want more.

    My message to everyone else is that it IS possible! It takes time, hard work, and constant inspiration but it’s worth it.

    Cheers all!!

    1. Hey Adam – Awesome story and such a good example of how anything is possible if you are determined to make it happen! Also, I think it’s great that you are making specific, calculated steps towards your goals. Having some kind of outline and realistic plan will make a huge difference.

      And congratulations on your first two websites! I’m sure that will lead to more and more and you’ll be back out there before you know it, with business going well!

  35. Ah Earl you never fail to inspire us and inspire others! Maybe writing these down will help more of them happen. =)

    Here are our goals by the end of this year – visit the following countries and receive some sponsored accommodation and interact with tourism boards along the way:
    Turkey, Georgia, Greece, Albania, Bosnia & Hercegovina, Serbia, HOME!

    Our personal goals:
    Make a life plan – when are we getting married? Where are we going next?

    Goals for the blog:
    Continue to get our traffic up, gain some dedicated readers (like you have in us, for instance! 🙂 ), take better photographs.

    Goals for our relationship with Wandering Earl:
    Meet up for Round 2 in Istanbul!

    1. Hey Dayna – Haha…I naturally support that last goal!! And it shouldn’t be too difficult to make happen 🙂 As for the other goals, you seem to have them all lined up and ready to be achieved…all that’s left to do is sit down and start checking them off. You guys already know what can be accomplished when you put your mind to it and stay focused so there’s no reason why you won’t succeed with the above. And I’m sure the pressure is already on Kurt to answer one of those questions 🙂

  36. At present I am trying to enter a university abroad. I’ve already been accepted but in order to be able to go I need to fulfil certain results. Since I’ve been young I’ve absolutely hated the idea of school, education never actually emanated from it, the only thing that came out of it was closed mindedness.

    The thoughts on whether I’ll be able to get the results I need at present range from extremely optimistic to downright cataclysmic. I can go through such a mood swing in a span of a few minutes. To escape the very type of education I wish to leave behind I need to succeed in it. In any case, the long hard hours of work, all the effort I’ll finally put in will pay off if all goes well.

    I’m planning of becoming a lifelong nomad just like you at some point in my life. Heck, sometimes the words I read in blogs like this bring solace to me. When life doesn’t seem to look up I think “One day I’ll be able to go on a plane, while looking back at all this bullshit and I’ll laugh because I’ve finally escaped it”

    1. Hey Miryr – I think anyone who loves travel or who wants to live a nomadic lifestyle goes through a similar range of emotions about many of the situations they face. There are always challenges involved but we just need to sit down, think through them and decide what will be the best move. Sometimes it won’t be the move we want to take but if we know it will lead us closer to our goals, it just may be worthwhile nonetheless.

      You’ll be on that plane one day. Just don’t let the down times take hold of you. Always remember that there are plenty of others who are already out there making it happen so there is nothing stopping you from doing the same!

  37. Hi Earl!

    Great idea.

    Things I’ve been working on:

    1) The ability to work from anywhere.
    I’ve always loved traveling and in between jobs and schooling and such I’ve taken several month+ trips to various parts of the world. But I wanted more. I wanted to have a career I loved AND to travel for months at a time. I wanted real flexibility–not just work-work-work and then play-play-play. So…

    I picked a city I wouldn’t mind living in for a while (Denver) and got a job that would not only let me build my career, but would let me learn a lot about how to run a business (you see where this is going). I created two new departments, I worked long hours and took advantage of every opportunity to collaborate with other parts of the business. I sat down with the accounting manager (as math is my worst subject), and asked questions about profit and loss and revenue and tax law. And when I saw an opening, I started my own business on the side.

    It was three years of learning at my full-time job and then a little over six months at an easy corporate job that gave me the time I needed to build my freelance business on the side. When I finally had a couple solid, long-term clients, I quit my job. And then I spent another year staying put and building up my business.

    But at the end of the day, my business is conducted completely online. I rarely have in-person meetings. I almost never need to have in-person meetings (so the ones I do have are mostly for the comfort level of new clients). And I’m very close to being able to work remotely from another country.

    This June, the lease on my house runs out and I board a plane for Scotland with my computer and my dog. It’s been a long time in the making – and it’s just about here!

    2) I’ve also been writing a memoir for the past several years. After revisions and re-writes and agent comments and editor comments, we’re in the home stretch. One more editor is reviewing it as we speak and my cover designer is working on concepts…yet another soon-to-be victory!

    1. Hey Gigi – Those are two HUGE victories!! Well done! The fact that you’ve achieved that goal of being able to work from anywhere, and were clearly determined to make that a reality, just shows that we are in control of our lives. We have the ability to turn a situation we don’t enjoy into a situation that we are excited about. It might take a few years and plenty of hard work, but if that’s the price for success…it’s fully worth it.

      And congratulations on the book as well! You’ll have to let me know when it’s available 🙂

  38. Hi Earl
    I love your site. I’m a closet gypsy, the George Baily of my family. I don’t think, at this point in my life, that I’ll ever live out of my suitcase. I’m okay with that, though. Reading what folks like you have done makes me remember that life doesn’t have to be stagnant- we can all do things we’re inspired to do. I write novels, something I love. There are others that paint or volunteer for charities or like you travel. We each have our own journey. And the point of life, I believe, is to enjoy the ride
    Thanks for sharing your ride

    1. Hey Ute – You are of course completely correct. There is no one one way to live and everyone has their own goals in life. And as long as we try our best to achieve those goals or to do the things we love, we will live meaningful and fulfilled lives. Not everyone wants to be a nomad 🙂

  39. I’ve had the same experience so far this year. I’m building an interesting blog project which will be launching in the next couple months. I’ve also been teaching myself JavaScript, practicing kettlebell and handstands (totally worth it), and rebuilding my personal website.

    I’m starting to build sites for others as well, which will hopefully springboard into a full blown web building income (meaning I can work and travel at the same time)! On that note, if anyone is interested in having a website built, be it a small business, personal blog, online portfolio, or whatever, let me know! I’m looking to flesh out my portfolio so the next five sites I build are FREE!

    I’ve also begun fleshing out ideas for a short film project with a good friend of mine. We’ve got our hands on a nice camera and should begin shooting within a couple weeks. Momentum breeds momentum!

    1. Hey Collin – Absolutely! And that’s good to see that things are rolling along for you. I also think it’s important to always have some non-work related goals, so having kettlebell and handstands on your list seem wise to me!

  40. Way to go, Earl! I’m looking forward to the next eBook – the others I have read by you have been great!

    My goals aren’t so dissimilar from yours – I’m working on a fantasy novel, trying to establish myself as a freelancer, and trying to build up my blog to be the best it can be. Then I’m trying to save money and have a bit of a nest egg saved before I leave to travel. That last part is easier said than done!

    But I’m finding that small steps overtake the longest strides. Doing one or two things every day, like writing a page, throwing out a single query, and stashing away a dollar or two, will eventually pay off.

    Best of luck!

    1. Hey Patrick – Small steps should never be ignored. Like you said, even saving a dollar a day makes a difference! And that’s great about working on a fantasy novel…something different than most people’s goal of writing a travel book 🙂 I shall look forward to reading it once it is published!

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