In 1999, Earl Baron left home for a 3-month trip in Asia and never came back. We talked about
Going to Pakistan expecting to dodge bullets...
Three big misconceptions about long-term travel
An obsession over knowing how things really are (instead of what media tell us)
The exhilaration of waking up, not knowing who you’re going to be
Intense travel experiences in India, Pakistan, Yemen, and more
How we’re all just trying to get through it all...
Three things to do if you want to do long-term traveling (just three!)
Warning: This will make you want to pack your bags and book a trip to Thailand. Do NOT read if you want to stay at your job and your hometown.
Enjoy. Then check out his deal, Ditch Your Excuses and Make 2014 the Year You Travel, to allow him to personally help, guide, and convince you that yes, you can do this too. Now.
I remember sitting on this ancient wall in the jungle of Cambodia… Thinking, “Man, what is this feeling? I felt it all over my body. I’m so here in the moment. I’m having so many life-changing experiences. I haven’t had anything like this in my twenty one years of existence.”
That’s when I realized I had to continue traveling.
As soon as I came up with that, I debated in my head. There were a lot less people traveling permanently. Back then they really didn’t like the idea because it was just too different.
I pictured myself as hard as I could working as a sports agent back home. Then I pictured myself doing my endless rewarding travel experiences.
When I picture it… There was just no way I could go back knowing what travel was about.
I couldn’t be in an office, think back, and say, “Remember what it was like in Cambodia having incredible experiences?” I wouldn’t have survived. That was it.
It made me sick just thinking about it.
One week of travel is not much. But it was enough to make me realize I really could not go home. I can’t know what’s out there in the world and think about that my whole life.
Important – I was actually there.
I was very young and naïve. But once you make it happen, get the travel experience, and you see it for yourself? It made me see I needed more of it. I really would not have been able to handle having an office job.
It’s the education I never had. The fact that I can be in India or Cambodia and meet people I never would have met had I not been traveling. These days I’m not really into the sights as much.
Not vacation. It’s education. And bonding with people around the world.
That’s why I come to India a lot. Because it’s so intense.
Experiences, people, and things I see, hear, taste, and feel… I would never get anywhere else in the planet.
Travel is my life. It not only fascinated me, it changed me. It’s this educational existence that’s constantly challenging and making me feel and become better.
If I was back in an office, how would I get such a challenge?
How would I be able to continuously grow? If I’m always around the same people? If I’m in the same place? Every day? It completely engulfed me.
It’s not seeing the Taj Mahal or Machu Picchu over lunch. That’s not it for me. I love waking up not knowing what I’m going to see, hear, or experience. Who I’m going to meet.
Who I’m going to be at the end of the day.
2006. India. I saw this: “Foreigners can now go to Afghanistan and Pakistan.”
It took me a month but eventually I got a visa to Pakistan.
Then I went off.
Not very liked over there.
It was amazing.
Within 2 weeks -- this sounds like an exaggeration -- but it’s not: I had a hundred people come up to me and shake my hand. They ask me where I come from.
I say I’m American and they say,
“Oh, please go home and tell your family and friends and everyone you know: Pakistani people are not terrorists. We don’t like terrorists. We’re just normal good people. We like America. Please go home and tell them we don’t have any problem with people.”
And it happened over. And over. And over. Every day.
That had a major effect on me.
What I realized is this: A lot of things we think we know about the world… We don’t know the full story. From that point on, everything I read or hear, I always reserve a little bit of space…
This probably isn’t how things really are.
That changed my travels’ focus. I started going to places people think they know what’s going on. But I went and saw what it’s really like for myself.
That’s when I went to Afghanistan, Yemen, and Syria: All places people strictly should not go to.
Because I now want to go and show the world what places they really are. I had a feeling that people and places were not what we think.
When I went to Pakistan, I thought I had to dodge bullets. That people were going to kidnap me.
Instead, people begged me to go home and tell people they are human beings.
In Pakistan, I crossed over into tribal regions. One night in a small village in the mountains, I ended up spending a few hours with members of the Taliban.
They want to kill all Americans and Jews. They love Hitler. Americans are the devil and all. This is a tribal region so it’s a completely different country than Pakistan.
We talked and had great conversations. They were very nice. They’re in the middle of nowhere. No education. No idea what they’re talking about. I don’t recommend a new traveler go running over to tribal Pakistan.
I also experienced a brief kidnapping in Bangladesh for a few days. That was pretty ridiculous in the end.
We see only the worst stuff.
For example, India. You get all this bad news about assaults. People tell me, “I can’t believe you’re taking a tour there.” Well, I’ve taken 2 tours and nothing’s happened to anybody. Nothing stolen. No attacks. Nothing at all.
It’s not what people think and believe.
One thing I’ve realized: Most people don’t want to have enemies, to fight, or to hate other people. They just want to have enough money to provide food and shelter for their family and have some fun. That’s it.
They don’t care about problems most of the world think exist. Just human beings all wanting the same things. Just in different countries.
That was important to learn. Because it’s just our perception. If you remember everyone’s a human being and remember to treat everyone with respect… Most situations aren’t as bad as they seem.
If you think people are bad, bad things will happen. But if you don’t have that mentality and you’re open to meeting people? Chances are nothing bad’s going to happen.
We like to group people. It’s easy to label them.
But remember we’re all just trying to get through it all…
We tend to forget we’re humans. If you can remember that, your perspective will change.
I go to places everyone thinks you’re going to be kidnapped. But I don’t get scared because I’ve learned enough now.
Recently, I went to Yemen. It says, “Leave. Don’t go. If you get kidnapped, you’re done with. We can’t help you.”
But I’ve learned enough now: It’s not always what it seems. I’m not going to avoid going to a place like Yemen because I know: Bad things are just in some areas. I’m going to take my chances and if anything happens, it happens.
To still go out, pursue this lifestyle, and go and uncover what’s really happening and meet all these people...
To me the risk is worth it.
I’ve gone to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq… Nothing’s happened. That’s not a guarantee things are not going to happen. Yeah, there are dangerous parts.
But you can learn what to do and how to behave, limit the risk, and still meet people all over the world. So the fear thing is not there for me anymore.
It’s all about education.
The more you take time to learn about the situation, about whatever you’re getting yourself into… The more power you have to decide. The risk is big only if you don’t do your research.
Travel. Business. Personal life. Making smart moves is all about getting knowledge. There’s plenty out there. Just take time to learn.
How do you learn?
The most reliable is talking people. Find bloggers who’ve actually been there. Contact them directly to get firsthand knowledge.
You can Google but you never know how reliable it is. Best to find people who’ve been there. Talk to strangers. The more people you talk to, the more you gain.
I used to be extremely shy. It was very difficult to talk to people.
Just get out there and say, “Hello.”
It’s the easiest word, “Hello.” Say it to anyone passing by. It becomes addicting once you start and see the rewards. You meet lots of interesting people.
Everything’s easier than we think – like public speaking.
Most people fear the idea. But if you force someone to go onstage to speak… She’s going to be fine in five minutes. It’s always the stuff in our heads that we’re afraid of.
If we force ourselves to do it, we find there’s generally nothing to be afraid of.
I had a typical American upbringing. I went to university. I was ready to become a sports agent and was pretty excited about that.
It started when I took three months off to see a bit of the world. I booked a flight to Bangkok in December 1999 and to Cambodia for the millennium.
About a week into my trip I thought to myself… I’d only been here for a week and I’d already had so many experiences. What would it be like if travel was my actual lifestyle? It would be unbelievable.
Just like that, I didn’t want to be a sports agent anymore.
I taught English. Did some traveling. Worked on cruise ships as tour manager.
One day a friend suggested I blog. I had no idea what a blog was. I found it interesting but I didn’t really like writing. Eventually, I tried and wrote a couple of posts.
Then some stranger found my blog. He wrote a comment and sent me an email. And I said, “Whoa! That’s crazy!”
If one person could find my blog, then that’s all it takes.
So I dedicated myself to the blog. People want to travel but think they can’t. They want me to help them do it too and they followed it.
I have all this experience. I might as well use it. Maybe I could turn it into something more significant, something to help others?
I just did it and kept going. And it turned into a full time job.
You take small steps. Nothing happens in an instant. It’s a ton of hard work and you have to be determined to face the obstacles.
Decide you want to do this.
I’m a firm believer if you really believe you can achieve it… If you just learn some things, put in the effort, then you can make it happen. Most people quit things, not because they can’t make it happen, but because they never believed they can.
If you have doubts from the beginning, it’s not going to work.
It was a major challenge – writing is not my favorite thing to do. It takes a long time for me to write one post. That alone was not easy.
I had no idea what kind of work is involved – I just know it’s a lot. Probably more than I can imagine. But if I want to make this my business then I gotta do it. I decided to go for it. From that point on, I committed myself and saw it through.
It’s just learning.
I sat down and spent six months figuring out little bits of code. Plenty of things, I just had to learn and overcome. Then one day, boom! The website’s up. Then social media. A routine. I suddenly knew how it all works.
I break down things people want to do in two categories:
1) Things you 100% absolutely want to do.
When you think about it, you get so excited. You feel it in your body. You just want to do it. Things like that you make them happen. (Like my tour project around the world.)
2) Other things where you’re not so sure… You’re excited but it’s not a priority.
You learn systems and ways to go about it slowly: One step and one obstacle at a time. Take a spreadsheet, put in what you need to do, and set deadlines. Everybody needs to set up their own discipline. Make a plan.
To do full time traveling, three things.
1. Spend one full day going over as many travel blogs as you can.
Make a list of how everybody’s doing it so you see there are millions of ways people do it. The best thing is to see how everyone’s making it happen in their own lives.
2. Get in touch with people.
Ask them how they do it. It’s all about meeting people and asking questions. Some won’t reply. Many will. They’ll give you advice. That’s important advice from people actually doing it.
3. Close your eyes and think about travel.
Think about the entire world. Which destinations pop into your head? Which destinations get you so excited you want to pack your bag right now? And you would fly there right this very minute if you could?
That’s where you should start.
Read the details about how Earl affords a life of constant travel here wanderingearl.com/how-i-can-afford-my-life-of-constant-travel/ Then a year after, how he can still afford it: wanderingearl.com/how-i-can-still-afford-my-life-of-constant-travel/
Did you read all the posts, dream of traveling, and still. Feel. Stuck? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. The good news is, Earl wants to help you Ditch Your Excuses and Make 2014 the Year You Travel. So allow him to personally help, guide, and convince you that yes, you can do this too. Now.
Check out his one-hour class where he’ll personally inspire you to get off your butt. He’ll teach you how you can afford to discover all the intense experiences the world is waiting to offer you. What are you waiting for? Read about Earl's deal.