John The Traveler

About Me

Hi! I am John. I grew up in a small Kansas town, and thanks to my dad, began collecting stamps at a very young age. That instilled in me a curiosity of the rest of the world. All of those stamps depicted real places somewhere in the world, with different customs, languages, currencies, people.

I spent much of my youth pouring over maps, imagining what life must be like in places like Djibouti, Qatar, or Tuvalu. It never occurred to me that actually traveling to these places would be an option for me. It sounded too scary, too complicated, or too expensive.

My curiosity and my many collections began with the alphabet

Then I met some people in college who had backpacked in Europe and West Africa. I began to realize that it was indeed possible, so I started saving up.

I continued on to graduate school, but instead of spending time writing a thesis that no one would ever read, I decided to spend the summer between my first and second years backpacking across Central and Eastern Europe.

The first photo from my inaugural solo international trip, which began in Witten, Germany

After getting my Master’s degree in Geography, I joined the Peace Corps and spent two years teaching English in Uzbekistan, followed by eight months of backpacking throughout Southeast Asia, India and Jordan.

When I returned to the US and after a few months of adjusting to culture shock, I packed up my car and drove east from Kansas to Washington, DC. I worked in “real” jobs for about 8 years, but the travel bug continued to haunt me, so in 2008 I quit and returned to Central Asia and Turkey for another 4 month excursion, followed by a few months traveling in the United States.

One of the modes of transportation in Bangladesh was riding on the back of a truck full of rocks

I returned once again to the traditional workforce, taking as many vacations as possible, but as I progressed through my 40s, I knew I still craved that freedom I had when traveling.

In 2018, I took a chance and went to a travel conference out of pure curiosity. There I met people who would go on to change my life. I started investing in myself and taking steps to figure out how to leave my full-time job.Thanks to the Location Indie community, I finally took that leap in 2022 and haven’t looked back since.

Hanging with the penguins in Antarctica

I am on a personal mission to promote curiosity through travel and cultivate purposeful travel through curiosity.

To date, I have traveled to all 105 Kansas counties, 45 U.S. states and over 60 countries and territories across all 7 continents.

I travel anywhere and everywhere I can, but especially like to go where it feels as if no one else has been, because those destinations tend to provide the more enriching experiences. At any given moment, I’m probably planning my next trip or dreaming of the possibilities.

Yes, I spent Christmas 2018 in Hell

I would brand myself as a big-hearted traveler looking for authentic experiences on and off the beaten track.

Before 2018, I had been resigned to taking my annual vacation to a traditional bucket list destination because I didn’t really think there was another way.

I had to conquer fears of my own potential and how that would play out in my life. I hope to share my travel stories and maybe inspire someone else to the leap as well.

I consider myself a citizen of the world and a “multipotentialite” because I am interested in so many different things.

Life is too short to focus on a few things when there are so many things out there to experience. It’s never too late to begin a life-changing journey, so fear not and let’s travel!

With my better half, enjoying the sunset in Uruguay