IMAGE SOURCE: Everything-Everywhere Photography
Sometime between Saigon, a bus ride and a bar in Mui Ne .. Gary Arndt managed to find time to do a virtual interview with me about his Everything-Everywhere blog and his travel experiences. If you are not familiar with Gary Arndt .. he’s the guy that sold his house in March 2007, packed up all his possessions (except for a laptop, his camera and some clothes) and went travelling around the world! After 40 countries and territories strong since he started this adventure, he is still going strong! Follow GaryArndt and Everything-Everywhere.com and subscribe to this great travel blog’s RSS!
Interview With Gary Arndt
Hi Gary .. Thanks for doing this interview for my “And You Will Travel” blog. Can you give us an overview of what you are doing and where you’ve been?
In March 2007 I closed on my house, put my things in storage and hit the road to travel around the world. Since then it has been quite an experience. I’ve been to 43 countries and territories and 50 World Heritage sites. I started my trip in the Pacific visiting many of the small island countries of the region, headed to East Asia, South East Asia and Australia.
What inspired you to travel like this?
I did a fair amount of traveling in college, but always in the US. I never saw salt water until I was 21 years old. The first time I left North America was during an around the world trip I took for business. It was a whirlwind trip which only lasted a month, but it was something I always remembered. After that I took trips the Bahamas, Iceland and Argentina. After selling my business, I hit a point where I had to decide what to do with my life, and the decision was easy. I was going to travel.
Have you ever been in any danger on your trip?
Yes, but it didn’t seem like it at the time. In October 2008 I was in Cambodia and I took a trip to a temple called Preah Vihear near the Thailand-Cambodia border. There had been a border skirmish there a few months before hand. It turns out on the day I went, a Thai solder was killed by a land mine and there was more shooting at the very spot I was at just a few days later. While I was there it was very peaceful, but had I gone a few days later, I would have walked into an armed conflict.
What was the best experience of your trip?
I took up SCUBA diving when I was in Hawaii. I subsequently been certified as a rescue diver. I’ve gone diving in the Cook Islands, Fiji, Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, The Great Barrier Reef, the naval pier in Exmouth Australia, Thailand and Palau. I’ve been swimming with whale sharks, the largest fish in world, as well as in the jellyfish lake in Palau. Growing up so far from the sea, I’ve been making up for lost time.
What was the worst experience of your trip?
That would have to be in Kiribati. Kiribati is a very small island country deep in the middle of the Pacific. It is very difficult to get to and I had to go far out of my way to make plans to go there. When I arrived in Tarawa, I was denied entry to the country because my passport had gotten wet. The pen used to fill in the blanks on the visa stamp had bled off when my passport got wet and the immigration official wouldn’t let me in the country. Normally such a problem wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but Kiribati is in the middle of nowhere and expensive to get to. I ended up traveling across most of the Pacific Ocean in a 30 hour period and was in five countries: Solomon Islands, Nauru, Kiribati, Fiji and the Hawaii.
Of all the places you have been around the world, did you ever feel that you overstayed your welcome? Do tell!
I have a habit of settling in to urban areas for longer than I expect. I was in Melbourne for a month, Hong Kong for three weeks, and I’ve been in Saigon now for 20 days. I tend to alternate between moving a lot, and then staying in one place for a few weeks where I can work on my website and relax. It is almost always in urban areas where I stay too long. My biggest regrets aren’t the places I stayed too long, it is the places I didn’t stay long enough. Due to cold weather, I left South Korea before I wanted to, and some islands in the Pacific I wish I could have stayed longer.
When you get come back home after travelling all around the world, and look at your worldly possessions once again, what do you think your first reaction will be?
I plan on traveling again after I get back, so I don’t know what I’ll think. I used to have a 3,000 sq/ft house and now I live out of a bag. I’ve learned you really don’t need much. A laptop and some clothes and I’m set. There is a good chance I’ll end up selling a bunch of the furniture as it costs money to store it.
Tells us all about your general travel plans for 2009!
I’m going to try to get back to the US in March or April of 2009. I’ll have been gone for two years at that point and I’d like to see my family again. I plan on staying in the US for 3-4 months before heading out to the Caribbean and South America. I also plan on writing a book and doing more video podcasting.
Thanks to Gary for doing this interview!
If you are considering travelling around the world and looking for ideas where to spend your next vacation .. Follow Gary Arndt around the world on his http://Everything-Everywhere.com blog.