Warning! Explorers Only Beyond This Point

Derek Personal Stuff 25 Comments

I’ve been sitting here trying to write for the past few hours, finding it difficult to make any progress in what has seemed to be an unusual darkness. Only a few moments ago did it actually occur to me that the light is turned off in my room and the sun has now set. Absolutely perfect, I thought. This is often how I feel when I’m trying to write, as if I ‘m stumbling around in the dark for no reason at all.

Well, my friends, that will all change starting right now. Not only have I just switched the light on in my room, but I’m about to switch the light on on this website. It’s about time I pull myself…


For those of you who have been following this blog so far, you’ve noticed I’ve posted a random collection of travel stories, personal updates and general observations about life over the past couple of months. While I’m definitely happy with the progress of this site, I’ve reached the conclusion that both myself and my readers deserve more.

It has become clear to me that I have yet to even break the surface of what I want to say and of what I want to share. My life revolves around travel. In fact, my life is travel, as I am always backpacking through or living in some new land. But again, that’s only the surface. Why I actually live this lifestyle is the real question.

So, this 32-year old wanderer is about to make some changes.

I need to focus on the core of my travel addiction. A core that involves a strong desire to use my travel adventures and unique interactions in order to broaden my understanding of the world and help me become a global citizen. As a global citizen I am able to embark on even more adventures, but with an increased ability to promote cross-cultural understanding and the value of diversity, respect and equality, the opposites of which are the root of so much unnecessary fear and hatred these days. Basically, I am able to spread the love that travel has given me.


The expeditions of explorers throughout history have always fascinated me. With intense interest I read the tales of Marco Polo, Zheng He and Ernest Shackleton. The word alone – explorer – sounds magical to my ears and has always enjoyed the top spot on my list of most desirable professions imaginable.

Well, as of recently, I have achieved this dream. Starting last week, when people ask me what I do for a living, I have begun telling them that I am an explorer.

After discovering that I don’t travel by sailing ship or camel caravan and that I don’t carry around a quadrant or compass, I am typically asked to elaborate. And so I state that I am a ‘new breed of explorer‘, one who searches not for a more efficient sea passage to a faraway continent but who seeks instead a happier, more fulfilling and more globally beneficial course through life.

As we all know, there’s not really anything new about this idea. But the phrase acts as a constant reminder of why I spend my time wandering around the planet. The thought of being an explorer and putting myself in direct contact with the places, people and cultures that I want to learn about, is a feeling like no other. It is a feeling that tells me I’m doing something right.


Of course not. It’s one of many ways.

But here’s the thing, becoming a global citizen is my way. It’s what I know best and it’s a way that I know works and works incredibly well. So when I decided to have a good, long think about what this website was all about, I decided that I wanted to connect with and inspire people to become global citizens.

Not only that, but I also want to share my stories and provide an example of how a life of travel is, for lack of a better phrase, one hell of a good time! (White-sand beaches, wild festivals and champagne at the Pyramids of Giza are a few things that immediately come to mind!)

Before I digress too much, I’ll just mention that I have plenty to say about these topics, as will be evident with my future posts.

I’ve even added a new page to my website that gives a more detailed explanation of what I’m trying to get at here. While I repeated some of the information in this post, I think it’s still worth a read: New Breed of Explorer.


For now, let me just apologize if this post has come across as a bit scattered and all over the place. It has been written under the spell of uncontrollable excitement and motivation. It’s now 2:37am and I am as wide awake as one can possibly be without the assistance of chemicals. I’m literally pumped up over the direction of this site and it’s keeping me awake. Perhaps I need to go for a 3am run!

Before I lace up my trainers though, I want to sincerely thank all of my readers. Whether you have been following this site for some time or just happened to stumble upon it today, I am thrilled to have you as part of this community and I hope to connect with each and every one of you. So if you’re a new reader, make sure you sign up for the RSS feed or email subscription!

And I encourage you to flood my inbox with emails, comment on posts, share your thoughts and tell your stories. After all, such interaction is exactly what being a global citizen is all about.


(I also want to particularly thank Lisis over at www.QuestForBalance.com for providing the inspiration I needed to define my goals for this site. Several of her ridiculously amazing posts played a huge role in making this possible. So thank you Lisis for all of your support!)

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Comments 25

  1. A friend just recently referred me to this blog and I have thoroughly enjoyed every post. I am currently studying in China and during an exercise in class today we were asked what we wanted to be when we grow up. Having some of your ideas fresh in my mind I simply responded that I wanted to be a traveler. The teacher gave me a quizzical look and told me to say a REAL job…maybe I should of said an explorer? haha Heres to you and others like you that make this world a great place to live in. Hopefully one day I can put myself in a similar position as yours and become a global citizen. one love

    1. Hey Joe – Welcome to the site and believe me, no matter what you say, if you mention travel at all as a ‘profession’ or lifestyle, you’re bound to receive some crazy looks and comments! But, you need to stay focused nonetheless and eventually, once you start achieving your travel goals, everyone who thought you were crazy will soon be quite jealous 🙂

    1. Hey Abigail – I’ve always been a late night thinker/worker. Unlike people who seem to be most motivated in the morning, my motivation arrives well after the sun has set!

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  3. Earl –

    I love to see this excitement coming from you! Although, honestly, you always seem upbeat and excited, so I guess that’s nothing new 🙂

    You know what, I love what you’ve done with your blog and all of your writing. Your focus and what you care about (both people and places) is evident in your writing and I am very much looking forward to seeing where this goes!
    .-= Nate´s last blog ..Information Overload – Part II =-.

    1. Hey there Nate – Thanks so much for your support over these past couple of months! It’s been excellent connecting with you, reading your comments and following your observations on life and how we are affected by our surroundings over on your great site. And I’m looking forward to reading more of your thoughts as the new vision of this blog unfolds!

  4. Earl:

    I feel really inspired by your declaration to be a global citizen. It is something that most people don’t think about.

    Many of us were told that science and technology would replace religiosity as the “opium of the masses,” and would deliver us from blind faith, superstitions and other challenges.

    Instead, we find our so-called “modern age” wracked by xenophobia and violence. We fight against each other in the name of nationality, caste, skin color, creed, religion, you name it.

    Travel opens up a new vista of possibilities and ushers in a ray of hope in a world that has become cynical with half-truths and jaded by negative interactions. Travel expands your horizons.

    It enables you, travel does, to see things from the perspective of other people and also people who have been marginalized and are leading lives of quiet desperation, in the words of Thoreau.

    My best wishes on your sojourns to exotic places all over the world. May your ambassadorial skills bring peace and harmony in a world that badly needs to be healed. Bless your heart.

    1. Hi Archan – I completely agree with everything your wrote. And what bothers me the most is that the foundation of so much violence and xenophobia is simple, easily treatable misunderstandings and assumptions. Yet we ignore (by choice or not) the fact that our perspectives are not broad enough to understand the people we claim to hate or want to fight against and we just proceed as if there is no other possible viewpoint. But as soon as we are able to view the world from the eyes of others, which travel allows us to do, we realize that we are all fellow human beings in search of nothing more than peace and happiness. And suddenly that fear and hatred seems somewhat useless.

  5. It’s a deep-seated understanding that when you travel and you’re in a new place, that what you’re doing is somehow different than the backpacker sitting next to you–but until now it was impossible to put your finger on what that was. You travel with a greater purpose than simply to see, but to understand. There is less emphasis on the place itself, and more emphasis on its people. You are absolutely my modern-day Magellan!

    1. Hey Ash – Well, you’re my modern-day provider of blunt, necessary and effective reminders on how to approach life! And you’re right, I’ve never been one for choosing a travel destination based upon any particular sights or places of interest. It’s always been what type of culture do I want to be surrounded by and what type of people do I want to meet. And as long as I’m forced into new situations and have an opportunity to interact with new people, it doesn’t matter where I am…speaking of which, how was your latest adventure?

  6. Fantastic post!

    My own ambitions are much in line with yours, except that I haven’t even begun my traveling journey yet. We’re all global citizens living together on this tiny green sphere floating in space. To live in harmony together, we need to have mutual understanding and admiration for the things that make us all unique, as well as the same.

    As I begin my journey will very little focus, I find myself looking for ways that my journey might help others. It looks like you’re discovering answers to the very questions I find myself worried I will have difficulty finding! 🙂
    .-= Raam Dev´s last blog ..Searching For My Blogging Focus =-.

    1. Hey Raam – I think the most important part of using your journey to help others is to set forth with that mindset. And as you clearly have that, there is little need to worry about finding ways to transform your current small amount of focus into a clear vision. But don’t rush it, spend some time exploring and learning and don’t be afraid to follow some of the opportunities that will present themselves.

      As you’re headed to India soon, here’s an example of something I often do over there. Whenever someone attempts to pull a scam on me on the streets of India, instead of shooing them away, I will often invite them for some chai. This leads to a greater understanding between us and breaks down so many barriers. And sometimes, the ‘scam artist’ is suddenly my friend, we laugh, we talk politics, we meet again. I love that idea of taking a seemingly negative situation and transforming it into something so positive and I’m sure you’ll get plenty of chances on your upcoming adventures!

  7. I recently wrote a post about coming out of the closet as an activist an have been doing a bit of research since. In that light, I’m interested in hearing more about what you mean by this: “I am a ‘new breed of explorer‘, one who… globally beneficial course through life.

    The notion of a global citizen interests me as well. I’ve suggested that nations cause bigotry, but that’s partially a reaction to the failure to realize the freedom proposed in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights…

    Article 13.
    (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
    (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

    Article 15.
    (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
    (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

    I think about this every time I hear “if you don’t like it, leave” in reference to a myriad of political questions.

    Anyway, it feels like this post was more of an excited warning of positive things to come than a full explanation of what you’re thinking. I continue to look forward to your posts.
    .-= Andrew´s last blog ..Why I’m Not (Why Am I Not) an Activist? =-.

    1. Hey Andrew – This post was definitely more of a brief summary than a full explanation, although the more complete explanations will definitely not be too far behind.

      At the start of my travels, I used to travel simply to travel, to say I’d been to places and to check some wonders of the world off my list. While this has its benefits, I slowly developed a greater understanding that certain aspects of my travels had the potential to change lives. And so now I actively seek out these experiences and interactions, such as visiting regions that the majority of us tend not to understand and as a result have some level of fear and/or hatred towards its citizens.

      I’m convinced of the power that one conversation, one hand shake, one embrace or one smile holds when it takes place between people whose traditional lack of interaction has led to hatred-inducing misunderstandings. And if I am able to harness the exponentially positive power from as many of these moments from my travels as possible, then I am able to undo the bigotry that nations or a lack of freedom you mentioned has created. The idea is to be a global ambassador of respect and diversity, to lead by example and to let that example force those you come into contact with to re-evaluate their perspectives.

      I’ll also mention that your post about coming out of the activist closet has led me to consider several changes to my travel habits that I’m now going to work on. And the phrase “globally beneficial course though life” seems to be quite fitting for the mission of your expedition!

  8. Earl – my thoughts as someone who has struggled through several blogs. Do whatever you f-ing want. I love your writing and I personally don’t want anything else. Let’s write a script soon about your kidnapping story. Super serious.

    Love, D

    1. Hey Derek – I love that advice. I think too often people try to shape their blogs around what they think their readers want instead of writing about what is important to them and then welcoming the interested readers who want to join the community. On a side note, did I see something about you climbing the radio tower in Sayulita?? And I hope you’ve caught your first wave by now!!

      1. The rumors are true. I climbed to the top with a couple friends. Scariest thing I’ve done in a long, long time.
        .-= Derek´s last blog ..2009 Review, 2010 Goals & Dreams =-.

  9. Aww… Earl, you’re gonna make me cry! I feel like such the Muse today! And what girl doesn’t love that, I ask you? 🙂

    Mostly though, I am THRILLED to read this proclamation of yours, that is absolutely oozing with excitement and passion and purpose. It’s beautiful. I love that, as you look back on your life so far you can see that everything you’ve done has been leading up to this (whether you knew it or not). And looking forward, you have a clear vision of how you want your life to look, and the message you wish to convey.

    You are the perfect ambassador for cross-cultural understanding. I can’t wait to see where this takes you, and I’m looking forward to your upcoming posts (as always).
    .-= Lisis´s last blog ..Inspiration from Kurt Vonnegut: Life Beyond Computers =-.

    1. Hey Lisis – Well, you are indeed a star! And you are so right, it does feel as if all these years of traveling are finally coming together into one vision. And its one of the most exhilarating realizations that I’ve ever made. I too can’t wait to see where this leads!!

  10. This is a good follow up from a previous post. You have directly applied your principles of knowing what you are looking for/doing in establishing this website.

    It is also great you have defined terms (global citizen, explorer) which have a lot of deeper meaning. You could write a couple of posts on what these terms mean to you.

    Looking forward to continuing to read your blog – We need more cross-cultural understanding in this world. Keep spreading the love, baby!

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