Hi! As you probably figured out, my name is John. I grew up in small town Kansas, and thanks to my dad, I 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 Benin, Qatar, or Vanuatu. 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. Then I met some people in my college days at Kansas State University 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. 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. I soon returned to the traditional workforce and have been taking as many vacations as possible, but now in my mid-40s, I continue to have an intense curiosity and insatiable urge to keep exploring, and am always thinking of a way to do more of it. The time has finally come to explore a new direction in my life so that I may live my true passion of traveling. Hopefully I can inspire someone else to take their own leap, in whatever form that may be.
To date, I have traveled to all 105 Kansas counties, 45 U.S. states and over 50 countries and territories across 6 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.
I would brand myself as a big-hearted traveler looking for authentic experiences on and off the beaten track.
This is not my first travel blog, but it is the first time I have set the intention to make travel a part of my career. Until relatively recently, I had been resigned to just taking my annual vacation to a traditional bucket list destination because I didn’t really think there was another way for me to viably do it. I wasn’t afraid of traveling before, but realized that I still 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! What’s your quest?