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12 Secrets of a Modern Day Nomad

by Katie Sorene

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…

gary-sydney

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.

pohnpei

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.

rice-burger

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.

marshall-island

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!

luxor1

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!

Follow Gary’s amazing trip on Twitter and at his Everything Everywhere travel blog.

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.

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11 comments… read them below or Add a Comment

Sarah

i wonder if gary will ever get bored of traveling?? i did it for 6 months and that was enough for me!

pohnpei sounds lovely!

Melvin

Nice interview! I was in a MC D’s in Bombay, but I actually didn’t like their burger… But it’s right, first you think MC D’s is everywhere the same, but it isn’t.
I’ve heard from a good friend (who is from Morocco) and should get along with bargaining etc. that he never had experienced something as bad as in Cairo. What a shame, I would love to see the pyramids, but if it’s like that, I’ll wait a bit longer. :)

Soultravelers3

Great interview!

I don’t think one has to get bored with traveling, Sarah. We have been traveling as a family since 2006, been to 4 continents & 29 continents so far & over 76,000 miles ( mostly over land) & have had over 2.5 million views of our Youtube videos.

We feel like we have just gotten started and find it an ideal life of freedom! I think the key to extended world travel is slow travel and deep immersion. We enjoy the photography, doing videos and documenting our journey and connecting with others through social media like Twitter & Facebook. We have not been lonely, bored or homesick once!

Today, one can school and work anywhere & we were surprised to learn that we travel the real world as we travel the web3.0 world and that adds a special aspect that one did not have in the past.

My daughter can immerse deeply with one culture while maintaining her home culture & talking to grandparents & friends on free webcam skype calls. She even does her piano lessons over the web with a teacher on another continent!

The more we do this, the more I see it as an ideal life & why 70% of families dream of doing it. More people are doing it than ever today & I think that will just continue as it is easier, cheaper & more enriching than most people realize.

We actually travel the world & live large on much less than we could by living at home.

Education is also in the midst of a huge change & we have met so many innovators in that area as well. This was one of our main reasons for taking our open ended world tour. We have found that there is not a better way to educate a global citizen of the 21st century!

jim

Great story but why the McDonalds? surely its better to eat local food wherever you go?

Katie

Soul Travelers, thanks for sharing your amazing traveling lifestyle with us. Love your blog and see that you recently spent some time in Santorini – very special place!

jim, I’m sure Gary eats a lot of local food but uses McDonald’s as a lens through which to experience each new culture….

Nomadic Matt

Like Gary, I eat mcdonalds for the same reason. When in italy, I was fascinated by how trendy the stores were. It was like eating in fine dining.

Craig

We started travelling a year before Gary. Since February 2006, we’ve been travelling around the world. We’ve spend most of the last three years in Europe. Now we’re spending six months in New Zealand — our home — before heading off to South America. There’s too much world and not enough time!

While we’ve been on the road, we’ve built up an award-winning multimedia travel website, so — like Gary, who I chat to often — we’re doing something right :)

Jason

Gary, Nomadic Matt and Craig from Indie Travel Podcast have all been great resources for those of us that are just beginning our travels. You guys are all an inspiration.

newquayweb

i love item 6. It’s like asking a mother to choose between her children. hahah. nice comparison. it is true for until you haven’t seen all of the world, you really can’t tell which is the best one.

jordan

I was atcually thinking bout leaving on a trip my self and just surviving off the land. Do you think itas possible? also would it help to get others to come along with you like a threeman squad?

Lenore Greiner

I love what Craig just said – “There’s too much world and so little time!”. I feel the same way.

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