Gary Arndt’s favorite travel experiences include getting tattooed in Rarotonga, zip lining in Puerto Rico, swimming with whale sharks in Western Australia and photographing political protests in Bangkok. Since he’s on a never-ending adventure, Arndt continues to add to this list. The Wisconsin native, who began traveling full-time in 2007, has thus far logged 96 countries with seven more scheduled by the end of 2011.
Arndt leads an enviable life, but he’s worked hard — and continues to. Prior to his travels, the triple-major college grad started and sold two tech companies. He spends wisely during his travels. His award-winning travel/photography blog, Everything Everywhere, is read by millions, and he’s currently writing a book on how to travel full-time. We may envy Gary Arndt but through his entertaining blog stories, we also admire his kind, thoughtful and respectful reflections.
The Boingo team first met Gary Arndt after his speaking session at BlogWorld 2010. He told us he’d been connecting with Boingo Wi-Fi since the beginning of his travels in 2007. We were delighted, as you can imagine. And now, we’re extra honored to be an official sponsor to the never-ending adventure of Gary Arndt. Check out our recent interview with this celebrity wayfarer (and be sure to click on the hyperlinks to enjoy Gary’s photographs).
- You’ve seen many amazing sights. Name a few that inspired you most.
Some of the most inspiring places I”ve been to include Wadi Rum in Jordan, the jellyfish lakes of Palau, Mulu National Park in Malaysia, Kakadu National Park in Australia, as well as Yosemite, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon National Parks in the US.
- Three destinations you’ve been to that you think are currently under-rated ?
I was just in Slovenia and I’m surprised it isn’t more popular. Ljubljana is a very pretty city and it is much more affordable than most European countries. It is also within reasonable distance from both Venice and Vienna.
- Three places you haven’t been to that are on your to-go list?
Despite all the places I’ve been, there are still more places I haven’t been. That includes: Russia, Antarctica, Scandinavia, Iran, Tanzania, Tunisia, Brazil, Tuvalu, Tibet, etc. I have enough places to keep me busy for a long time.
- Favorite place to Boingo?
I was recently in Switzerland and Boingo saved my butt. All the intracity trains have wifi and you can log on with Boingo. Most of the hotspots which are run by the mobile phone operators, are Boingo roaming locations, so I’ve been able to stay connected. I also avoided hotel internet fees because of Boingo. Bangkok is another place where I enjoy being a Boingo member — with almost 400 Boingo locations, Bangkok is a city where it’s easy to stay connected.
- What’s the most dangerous situation you’ve been in while on your travels?
I visited an active combat zone at the border of Cambodia and Thailand. Several soldiers were killed just hours after I left. On the way back we were stopped by a car and my driver opened up the seat to his motorbike where a gun was hidden. Thankfully nothing happened.
- You’ve tried a lot of food. Which ethnic cuisine is your favorite? What’s the most surprising dish you’ve tried and liked? What’s the grossest thing you’ve tried and did you like it?
My favorite cuisines are Japanese and Spanish. I can’t say I’ve ever had a bad meal in either country. The most surprising dish was poisson cru, which is the national dish of Tahiti. It is tuna with coconut milk, onions and cucumber and it is delicious. The grossest thing was probably grasshoppers I had in Bangkok. They weren’t bad but they weren’t something I’d go out of my way to eat either. I’d have to put durian in the same boat. I tried it during a trip to a Malaysian fruit farm and I didn’t understand why some people go nuts for it.
- Photography is a very big element of your travels. Are you self-taught? What’s in your equipment bag?
I’m a totally self taught photographer. I’ve never taken a course or read a book. Currently I shoot with a Nikon D700 and three lenses: 70-300mm, 14-24mm and a 50mm f/1.4. I primarily use Lightroom 3 to edit photos on my laptop.
- Advice for other travelers?
The ability to adapt is more important than your ability to plan. Once you arrive somewhere, your plans will probably get thrown off course so it is best if you just learn how to deal with it. If you worry about things not going according to plan, you’ll have a miserable time.
- You’re currently writing a book about how to travel for a living. Please tell us more about this project and what inspired it.
Every day I meet people who react in the same way when I tell them what I do: “Wow, I’m so jealous!” “That is so cool!” “I wish I could do that!” The fact is, most people can go on a long term trip and do so affordably. You have to think outside the box a bit, you have to challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone and you have to save up some money to do it. It can be done and I think everyone at one point in their life should take at least 3 months off to travel around foreign countries.