WSGT’s next Travel Influencer is Konrad Waliszewski of Go Konrad. He is also the CEO and co-founder of the travel app, TripScout, which will allow you to have a local and authentic self-guided tour wherever you are in the world!
1.)Where was the first place that you traveled that made you think WOW—travel is amazing (think history book come to life or …..)
I was 12 years old and in Paris with my family. My older sister and I decided to go for a run (I was an aspiring professional basketball player at the time and needed to keep up my training). We got very, very lost. We had no idea where we were and this was before it was normal to have a cell phone. As we aimlessly wandered around trying to find something familiar, we stumbled on so many great Paris scenes – dozens of French bistros, beautifully smelling bakeries, old men sipping espressos at the cafe, and charming side streets. At a point of pure exhaustion, we turned the corner and were right in front of the Eiffel Tower. We grabbed an ice cream and relaxed in the park under its shadow. We experienced so many new sights, smells, and sounds that day. The inconvenience of being lost became an adventure we’d never otherwise have. We somehow realized that this was a great way to travel. I was hooked.
2.)If you had unlimited resources, where would you go and what would you do?
I love finding ways to help people I meet on the road, so I’d give at an even greater scale. However, beyond that, unlimited resources wouldn’t change anything about what I do or where I go. I visit 2-3 countries per month, do work I love, and don’t care much for luxury – so none of that would change.
3.)What were you afraid to do and how did you find the courage to overcome it?
I’ve actually feared inaction far more than action when making life decisions. Life is short, so I never wanted to live with regret or apathy, but I rarely had to pull from within to get the courage to pursue a dream. I’m not overconfident, I simply think I have a logical view of risk: most feared outcomes are unlikely and manageable if they happen; the feared outcomes can often be mitigated with some advanced creative thought; and even if the feared outcomes happen, they can often be reversed. Since a young age, I told myself that “it’s better to regret doing something, then regret not doing it.” I also knew at the end of the day that overcoming setbacks create a better story and craft our character.
4.)What apps do you use regularly that make your life easier?
TripScout is my go-to travel app. It provides a self-guided tour through cities – both on and off the beaten path. Our local guides curate a list of sites for you and provide engaging audio guides on an offline map with GPS – so you can navigate around the city without using your data or international roaming plan. Explore cool neighborhoods, try local restaurants, sip the best coffee or cocktails, and see all the iconic sites while you learn about the local history, culture, and food as you go along. The maps and GPS work offline, so you don’t burn through data while exploring a city. Admittedly I am biased, since it is my company, but I created it because it was the app I always wanted when traveling.
5.)What place do you wish more people have seen?
Papua New Guinea, Georgia, and Ethiopia.
6.)Best advice you have been given?
Live a life you don’t need a vacation from.
7.)When were you surprised by the kindness of strangers on a trip?
I’m surprised by the kindness of strangers on nearly every trip. I’ve been given so many cups of tea, bottles of beer, places to sleep, free guides, and safety help over the years. Many people are curious about foreign travelers and feel the strong urge to be of assistance to their journey. I’ve been to some very poor and statistically dangerous countries, but I’ve been generously given significantly more then what has ever been taken from me. I’ve found that the poorer and more “dangerous” a place is, the kinder and more hospitable it actually is.
8.)What inspired you to travel for extended periods of time or live in a new country?
Curiosity. I’ve always been fascinated by what places are like, how people think, what people use to cook, how history shapes the present, how society evolves, and what perspectives are formed based on one’s situation.
9.)I travel because….
Every trip changes me in some way. Being pushed outside my comfort zone and routine, along with the sensory bombardment of new sights, smells, sounds, tastes, and customs, invigorates my mind and creativity. There’s a warped sense of time and I become uniquely present. I never know what will happen, but I know I will come out a better person and more connected to people, the world, and my true self. The feeling has become addictive.
Konrad Waliszewski has visited approximately 100 countries and Forbes has called him a “modern day Marco Polo.” He is the CEO and co-founder of the travel app, TripScout. He also maintains the travel blog Go Konrad.
For up-and-coming travel writers, Konrad recommends:
- The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
- Essentialism by Greg McKeown
- Seth Godin’s blog
- Kevin Kelly’s 1,000 True Fans
Keep up-to-date with Konrad through his:
Our next Travel Influencer interview will be up in a week, follow the series here.