Two years, 62 counties, 56,000 Twitter followers and scores of travel awards. I met up with eternal traveler, Gary Arndt to find out more about his never-ending trip and incredible online fan base.
I love to travel, who doesn’t? But could I do it for years on end? Probably not.
Gary Arndt, on the other hand, is a modern day nomad. He’s been on the road for over two years with thousands of fans following his travels online.
Here are his answers to the questions I know you’re dying to ask…
1. Why did you go?
I sold my company at 28, started up a few more, did a bit of studying and wasn’t sure what to do next. Traveling the world seemed like a good option.
2. How old are you?
I’m 39. There are definitely some benefits of traveling beyond the classic ‘gap year’ age: I’m financially stable, I know what I’m doing and don’t often get taken advantage of.
3. How much is your trip costing you?
Around $30,000 a year but I don’t stay in dorms or cook. It’s possible to get away with $15,000 on a tighter food and accommodation budget.
4. Do you ever get lonely?
No, I’m talking to people all the time, especially on Twitter. I’ve been very lucky with Internet access so far. I only get lonely when my computer is broken.
5. Why do you think your blog has been so successful?
Owing to the length of my trip I’ve been able to build up a strong following over time. Travel is very visual so I make sure I upload a new travel photo every day. I call myself a “travel pornographer”.
Many of my followers are living vicariously through me. I’m living out their dreams and following me online lets them experience the trip for themselves.
I’m also very personal. I respond to every message and often meet up with people along the way.
6. Where’s the best place you’ve been?
I can’t answer that. It’s like asking a mother to choose between her children!
7. Where’s the worst place to travel?
Egypt. Everyone wants money from you, you have to negotiate for everything and you feel like you can’t trust anyone. Visiting the Pyramids was actually one of my worst travel experiences ever.
8. What’s your best kept travel secret?
Pohnpei in the western Pacific is one of the most beautiful islands in the world and is completely free of tourists. There isn’t even one hotel there.
9. Where’s the weirdest place you’ve been?
That’s got to be the Marshall Islands. They’re totally dependent on aid from the US. Noone ever goes there and there are some pretty eccentric expats floating around.
10. I’ve heard you eat in McDonald’s everywhere you go. Why’s that?
I get a lot of stick for this but there’s a good reason. McDonald’s a great way of getting a cultural snapshot of a place. For example, you can get a tasty rice burger in Taiwan but you’ll never find a bacon cheeseburger in Israel.
In many places in the developing world McDonald’s is considered very classy food and working there a seriously high end job!
11. Where next?
Back to the US via Europe: Rome, Venice, Florence, London, Iceland then onto the Caribbean to get more serious about my photography.
12. When is your trip going to end?
I have no clue.
There you have it. Fascinating stuff. I quite fancy a McRiceBurger myself!
Could you travel for years on end? Got a great McDonald’s story? Post up your comments below, we want to hear from you!
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Photos by Gary. In order of placement: Gary in Sydney, Pohnpei (my favorite pic), Rice Burger, Marshall Islands, Luxor, Egypt. Taken from Gary’s fantastic Flickr album.