If given the chance, would you quit your job, sell your house, and leave your friends and family behind to travel the world and see its wonders firsthand? This seems daunting, but there are days that I’d love to shelf my responsibilities and travel to my heart’s content. Gary Arndt, author of the travel blog Everything Everywhere, which was named by Time Magazine as one of the Top 25 Blogs in the World in 2010, has done just that.
He sold his business in 1998 to a multinational corporation, and after a whirlwind tour of their overseas offices, he was struck by the travel bug. Gary sold his home in 2007 and began to travel the world, for what he thought was going to be a one or two year trip. Five years later, his journey continues.
At last count, Gary has visited all seven continents, over 116 countries and territories around the world, all 50 U.S. states, 9 of of 10 Canadian provinces, every Australian state and territory, over 125 U.S. National Park Service sites, and over 180 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
We wanted to hear more about why Gary decided to start traveling, what he enjoys most about travel, the biggest lesson he’s learned, and where he’s heading next. Read on for these details and more.
1) What sparked your decision to sell your house in 2007 and start traveling? Was it a difficult decision to make?
I had reached a point in my life where I didn’t know what to do. I enjoyed traveling, so I decided to go travel. It was actually a very easy decision for me to make. I had nothing tying me down, so it wasn’t as big of a decision as it would be for most people.
2) Do you typically travel alone?
Always. I have invited people to join me, and I’ve had friends say they’d come and travel with me, but so far no one has.
3) Where is your dream destination to visit, and why?
When it comes to travels, I don’t really have dreams. I’m out actually fulfilling all my dreams. That being said, there are still many places I’d love to visit: Peru, Nepal, Russia, and Kazakhstan to name a few.
4) What has been the most interesting destination you’ve explored, and why?
That is extremely hard to say, as I’ve been to so many places. My short list would be Micronesia, Jerusalem, Angkor, Haida Gwaii, and Oman.
5) What do you enjoy most about traveling?
Freedom and learning.
6) What destinations are still on your bucket list of places to visit?
Quite a few places. Despite all the places I’ve been, I have yet to visit many large countries such as Brazil, China, India, and Russia.
7) Have you ever been surprised, either pleasantly or disappointingly, about a destination you’ve visited?
I was very surprised by Oman. I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived, but I really liked it. I was very disappointed by my visit to the Pyramids in Egypt.
8) What is the most inspiring experience you’ve had while traveling, and why does it stand out?
It might be swimming with jellyfish in Palau. It is an experience like no other on Earth.
9) Where do you consider home?
I don’t have a home. I literally travel non-stop. I visit my mother in Wisconsin once or twice a year, but that is as close as it gets.
10) What travel and photography tips would you like to share with our readers?
Take the time to edit your photos. Even simple edits with basic editing software can make a world of difference.
11) What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from traveling?
The ability to adapt is more important than the ability to plan.
12) Where in the world are you headed next?
Tomorrow I leave for Las Vegas. From there, I head to Costa Rica where I will spend the rest of January. And from there, I go to the Yukon in Northern Canada and then Germany, Jordan, UAE, and Italy before winding up in Toronto in June.
Thank you for answering our questions Gary! Be sure to keep up with him on Everything Everywhere to find out where he’s going next, and enjoy some of his amazing photography.