GARY ARNDT : world traveler, writer, photographer & host of The Global Travel Conspiracy podcast
Gary is an inspiration. He’s traveled to over 170 countries and territories all over the world. He runs the website Everything Everywhere and hosts The Global Travel Conspiracy podcast. He’s an award-winning photographer and his writing has been published in The Atlantic, Outside Magazine, & The Huffington Post. We talked about making decisions, group travel, podcasting, and overcoming fears.
01. What’s your typical morning routine? How do you get your day started?
Given how much I travel, I don’t really have a typical morning routine. I have different schedules in different places. I’m always in different time zones and have various degrees of jet lag. I have a set schedule for posting things to Instagram and my website, but that is based around Central Time in the US, so things will be different all around the world.
02. You’re well known for selling your house in 2007 to travel the world. I’m curious to know how that decision was made. Was there a tipping point that just made you feel like if not now, when?
The decision to travel was made in an instant. From there it took me over a year to make it happen. That involved tying up loose ends, selling my house, packing, etc. There really was nothing stopping me as I had no wife or kids, so once I came up with the idea, it was simply a matter of execution.
03. After years and years of constant travel, you finally rented an apartment in the states. How is that going for you? Do you miss the uncertainty of not knowing where you’ll sleep at night?
It has taken some adjustment. It is odd the things that require getting used to. I realized that I’ve been in a state of almost constant interruption the last 9 years. Maids knocking at your door, planes to catch, etc. Being able to be at home and just work without interruption, is a big change. I’m also getting used to not eating out every meal and trying to get into some sort of routine to be more productive.
04. I’m a huge fan of The Global Travel Conspiracy podcast. Why did you decide to start a podcast? And who is your dream guest?
I had wanted to do my own podcast for a while. About a year ago I was contacted by CBS who had just launched a new podcast network. I had several ideas for a show, but I decided to just go with a simple interview format. In terms of getting the most downloads or exposure, I suppose getting someone like Anthony Bourdain or Rick Steves would be the ideal guest, however, there are lots of travelers out there with great stories, and those are the people I really want to talk to.
05. I know you do some work with G Adventures. What exactly is your relationship with them…and how do you feel about group travel like that?
I am a brand ambassador for G Adventures. I have been working with them for over 5 years now. They are a great company and I average about 2 trips a year with them.
I do a lot of solo travel, but by no means do I put down group travel. The types of trips G does are exactly the sort I recommend if you want to go on a guided trip. The groups are small, they use local transportation and lodging, and focus on experiences and local culture.
They offer a wide range of tours for different comfort levels. For example, if you are a very experienced traveler, you probably might not bother with a group trip to a place like Western Europe or Southeast Asia. However, no matter how experienced you are, you can’t really travel to places like Antarctica or Bhutan by yourself. You have to go with a group. Those are the type of tours I tend to go on with G.
06. Imagine you’re talking to someone who has never done any serious traveling, maybe they’ve been dreaming about exotic countries, maybe they’ve purchased some Lonely Planet books but just haven’t bought that plane ticket yet…What advice would you give to someone looking to start traveling the world for the first time?
When all is said and done, you just have to do it. Book the ticket. All the planning in the world isn’t really going to prepare you for when you are on the ground.
Many of the fears people have about traveling disappear once they are on the ground and have to confront them. What they are really afraid of is the unknown, and once you are there and can see and experience it for yourself, it is no longer unknown.
07. One of the things I love about travel is that transcendent moment that comes around every once in a while, an example for me would be seeing Machu Picchu for the first time after dreaming about it for years. Do you have any significant moments like that you think about?
Yes, but they don’t really come from the iconic places you think they might. It comes from seeing things unexpected, or something which you never thought was that big of a deal. One of the greatest moments I’ve had was watching the sun set and the lights turn on, on the Hong Kong skyline. I was able to feel the energy of the city.
08. Are you working on anything new right now that you’re excited about?
I have several big things I’m working on. Now that I’m not traveling full time, I have the time and resources to finally get them done.
09. What is currently inspiring you and in what way? (book, movie, song, podcast, anything really…)
I read a lot of history. I just finished a biography of Genghis Khan, and now I have strong desire to finally travel to Central Asia.
10. How do you end a typical day? What do you do to unwind?
I like to read. My Kindle is something I take with me wherever I go. I just got the newest version and it is an absolute delight to read on.