1.)Where was the first place that you traveled that made you think WOW—travel is amazing (think history book come to life or …..)
Michael: This is embarrassing to say, but i really didn’t have much of a desire to travel until i was in my late 20’s, attending the wedding of a close friend in Maui, Hawaii. I grew up with a fairly typical isolationist American view point on travel, but 8 days surrounded by the beauty that is found on Maui had me wishing I would never have to go home again.
2.)If you had unlimited resources, where would you go and what would you do?
Michael: Well, this one is fairly easy. I’d be a cross between Johnny Appleseed and Santa Clause. Travel the world, plant hope, and spread good cheer while sharing my unlimited resources with everyone I met.
3.)What were you afraid to do and how did you find the courage to overcome it?
Michael: I have some nasty vertigo and jumping out of an airplane was probably the scariest thing I’ve ever done. I found my courage in my travel partner, Randi. She seemed so calm on the plane, and in the moments leading up to jumping out of a perfectly fine flying vessel to fall two miles towards the ground. Her calm made me calm….er.
4.)What apps do you use regularly that make your life easier?
Michael: As a global nomad I am often in new places. Tinder is great when it comes to meeting new people in new destinations. Skype and messaging apps make it possible for me to stay in touch without needing a phone plan, which is great. Really enjoy Snapseed and VSCO for on-the-go photo editing.
5.)What place do you wish more people have seen?
Michael: A place of inner peace and self reflection haha. When it comes to a physical place I wish more people visited Nepal. What an amazing country. Incredible poverty and yet the spirit of the people is so strong. And of course the landscapes are incredible.
6.)Best advice you have been given and by whom?
Michael: A friend once told me that I needed to leave New York City, and go off to see the world. I was 25 or so at the time and scoffed at the notion.
7.) When were you surprised by the kindness of strangers on a trip?
Randi: We were in Pai, Thailand. Michael rented a scooter so we could explore the surrounding countryside. We stopped on the side of the road to take some pictures of the rice fields. Suddenly and unexpectedly, it started raining. When I say, raining, I mean it was a torrential downpour of biblical proportions. We ran back to the scooter but couldn’t get the key to turn in the ignition. We tried everything we could think of but it seemed like a lost cause. Thankfully a nice local Thai man on a motorbike stopped to assist us. He explained in Thai and hand signals that the ignition was locked and showed us how to unlock it. Without his help, I’m not sure how long we would have been standing there trying to figure it out.
8.)What inspired you to travel for extended periods of time or live in a new country?
Randi: I’ve known for a while that I loved travel but didn’t really understand that I could do so without spending loads of money on short trips. When I met Michael, I was taken by his travel stories and how he spent months abroad traveling on a budget. His experience gave me the confidence to follow my dream of travel full time.
9.)I travel because….
Randi: I have a restless soul and a curious mind. I want to see new things, encounter cultures that are different from my own, and understand more about how each of us on this planet is different from one another, yet at the same time, very similar.
Randi and Michael recommend:
TBEX is a good conference for blogger networking.
Randi and Michael, co-founders of the travel website Just a Pack, are two friends from NYC who decided to embark on a multi-year journey throughout Central America, Europe, and Asia in 2014. Now, they live out of their backpacks and travel on a budget full time.
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Our next Travel Influencer interview will be up in a week, follow the series here.