About Me

My name is Gary Arndt.

In March 2007 I sold my house and have been traveling around the world ever since. Since I started traveling, I have probably done and seen more than I have in the rest of my life combined.

So far I have visited all 7 continents, over 175 countries and territories around the world, all 50 states and every US territory, every Canadian province, every Australian state and territory, over 125 US National Park Service sites and over 300 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

I have also:

Me and the ladies at Prambanan, Indonesia.


Get a free ebook with 100 of my favorite photos from the last year

My Background

Getting ready to ride in a F1 race car
I wasn’t always a world traveler. Other than occasional summer vacations, my family didn’t travel very much. I grew up in Wisconsin and never saw salt water until I was 21 years old. In 1998 I sold my business to a multinational corporation and they sent me on a whirlwind 3-week tour of their offices in January 1999. I visited Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, France, Germany, Belgium and the UK.

That trip stuck with me for years. I made a few other international trips after that to the Bahamas, Iceland, and Argentina, but never really made a commitment to travel.

In 2004 I decided to go back to school and study geology. After seeing the hell that Ph.D. students were going through, the idea of going to graduate school became very unappealing.

I decided to travel around the world.

It took about 2 years for me to tie up all the loose ends I had and sell my house. Finally, on March 13, 2007, I turned over the keys to my home.

I thought I’d be traveling for a year or maybe two. So far it has been over 9 years with no end in sight!

Random Facts About Me

SCUBA diving in the Great Barrier Reef
  • I own one of the larger collection of National Geographic magazines and books in the world. I own a good condition issue of Vol. 1, No. 1. Not a reprint, and unbound. When I put my things in storage, my National Geographic collection took up most of the space. I also own National Geographic vinyl albums, VCR tapes, books, old subscription flyers, and 8mm movies.
  • Prior to my trip, I’ve visited about 100 of the 380-some sites in the US National Park System. (that list is way out of date)
  • I’m an Eagle Scout.
  • I have 3 dimples
  • I graduated college with a triple major in Mathematics, Economics and Political Science. I also placed in the top 10 my junior and senior years at the college national debate tournament.
  • I love movies. I have a DVD collection of close to 700 DVD’s (mostly older and foreign films)
  • I am part owner of an NFL franchise
  • I have a ham radio license (KC0PED)

About the Blog

Me and several Spanish bloggers in Griona
When I went on my first around the world trip I created a small website for the people in my office to follow my trip. The word “blog” wasn’t around at the time, but I suppose it was a travel blog of sorts. I posted photos and updates, usually over dial-up connections that were available in 1999.

Given my background, when I started traveling in 2007 having a website was just a given.

About 9 months into my trip I was in Hong Kong and I began thinking seriously about what I was doing online. Not many people were reading my site. I probably knew the names of most of my readers because they were friends and family. I decided to rethink how I was doing things and began to take the site more seriously.

Fast forward several years and the blog has done alright. It was named by Time Magazine as one of the Top 25 Blogs in the World in 2010. I have about 100,000 people visit the site every month and over 1,600,000 followers on social media.

Photography

Me shooting in Morocco
99.99% of the photos on this website were taken by me or are of me. The photos which I did not take were either on the small number of guest posts I’ve had or were of things I didn’t have a camera around for but wanted to show (a whale shark is a good example) or I was in a place where I couldn’t take photos (like Broadway play).

I knew nothing about photography when I started traveling. I purchased a Nikon D200 and just started taking bad photos. Slowly I began to piece together why some photos were good and some were bad. I also followed photography blogs and began doing things like shooting aperture priority mode and saving files in RAW.

You can download a free ebook of my 100 favorite travel photos which looks especially good on the iPad.


FAQ

Q: What is your favorite place?

About to bungee jump off the Auckland Harbor Bridge

A: I have no answer to this question. There is no one best place in the world. I’m not even sure the question makes sense. I wrote my full thoughts on this question here.

Q: Why haven’t you visited China/Russia/Brazil/etc. yet?
A: The world is an incredibly big place and there are some places I just haven’t visited yet.

Q: Have you ever been in danger?
A: Not really. There was one time in Cambodia where I was pretty worried for a while, but in the end it was nothing. I haven’t been robbed, mugged or pick pocketed yet.

Q: How did you know what to pack?
A: I didn’t create a detailed list. I just sort of kept track of stuff in my head. I have a camera bag with electronics and a suitcase with everything else. The longer I travel, the less I worry about my gear. Now I probably couldn’t even make a list of my gear off the top of my head. I throw stuff in a bag and if I need something I buy it wherever I am.

Q: How do you pay for this?
A: For the first 3.5-4 years I paid for almost everything myself. The money came from saving I had from selling my house and my business. As the website has become more popular I have more opportunities for trips sponsored by tourism boards from different countries. I also have income which is generated by my website.

Q: Where do you stay?
A: Low budget hostels or backpacker hotels. I usually don’t stay in dorms but get single rooms. That is my one luxury and what raises my costs a bit over what most people might spent. It isn’t a huge expense, however. If I am on a sponsored trip, they often put me in luxury hotels. I have had many times where I stay in a youth hostel one night and a five-star hotel the next. It is very weird.

On top of the Franz Joseph Glacier, New Zealand

Q: Did you buy a round the world ticket?
A: No. I started traveling in the Pacific. Flights in the Pacific are a nightmare and buying more than a few stops at a time wouldn’t be worth it. Nowadays, most of my travel is point-to-point, so an around the world ticket wouldn’t make sense.

Q: How long will you keep traveling?
A: I don’t intend to ever stop traveling. I’m sure I’ll slow down and the way I travel may change, but I don’t know why I’d ever want to cease traveling entirely.

Q: Do you get lonely?
A: Sometimes, but talking to people you meet on the road and having the internet available (which has been everywhere so far) makes it easier. I hope to have some of my friends join me for stretches later on in the trip. I also read a lot. The iPad and the Kindle store has been a godsend.

Q: How many languages do you know?
A: Just one: English. Honestly, knowing another language might help me in some places, but the majority of the places I’ll be it wont help much because there are so many languages. If you have to know one language while traveling, English is it. I try to know certain phrases so I can get by. People seem to like it if you at least try. I am making an effort to improve my Spanish and I know several handy phrases in German and French also.

Q: What did you do with all your stuff?
A: It is sitting in storage.

26 Replies to “About Me”

  1. Hi,
    I am looking to travel by myself,notby choice,but want to know where i can go safely in the world. I have traveled to 4 continents and have yet to do the slavic countries, Africa,Asia and so many of the Islands in the Pacific and Indian Ocean…do you ever do meet ups?
    sharon

  2. Hi Gary,
    We just chatted with David (our nephew) and we hope to visit him in Singapore the end of January, 2009 (along with his parents). We’d love to meet and chat with you if you are in the area.

  3. I would like to say that, on behalf of the Scouts of Australia, you are doing a fine job. What you have accomplished is the very embodiment of Lord Baden-Powell’s legacy. I hope you are very proud of yourself, and see fit to visit Scout Groups all around the world as you travel.

  4. Lovely to read your About Me. I drop into your site regularly to see where you are and what you have been doing.

    I love the site – it is really visual.

    I have done a lot of travelling too: backpacking trips, working overseas, package holidays, etc. I still have a few places to cover, and reading other people’s travel blogs gives me an idea of what to expect, and what plans to make.

    If ever you pass through Leeds, England, send me an email and we could meet up for a coffee/tea!

  5. What a great site!

    Are you planning on hitting any of the islands off of Africa? I’m thinking Mauritius would be an awesome place to read about and see with your photos.

  6. Beautiful site… really. You are living my dream. I would LOVE to travel more. In the meantime, I shall live vicariously through your beautiful photos ;)

    Maureen (who lives just north of your home state of Minnesota… I’m in Winnipeg, Canada)

  7. Hello. Nice to meet you. Impression on your blog is : Cool. Really nice. One of the best I have ever seem around here. When I click on your profile: WOw!! Who is this guy??? You are amazing. Happy Travels. Wish i can go travel around the world soon.

  8. Wow…we missed the chance to meet when you travelling to Indonesia :) Maybe sometime in the future if you decide to come back again to my country, there’s many interesting place to visit besides Java

  9. Wow this is amazing!!! I would love to do the same!I think that traveling is so important for the spirit,the culture,the wellness,the inspiration!I live in Lebanon “stressful country” but i was born in Ivory Coast!You don’t plan on visiting Africa????Anyways,thank you for sharing your experience with us!

  10. Have you gone to Mainland China yet? I see pictures of Macau and Hong Kong, but you have to visit Guilin and the more remote areas of China. It is an amazing country.

  11. You are living the dream so many of us have. Just found your blog today and you have another dedicated reader. This is awesome. Something I’ve been thinking of for a few years now! I just need to build a more successful web firm first ;)

  12. I’ve just come across your blog, and I must say what you’re doing is wonderful! I’d love to travel too. I am from Romania, Transylvania region (I see you have’t been there yet), but have been living in Las Vegas for almost 2 years now. I’ve just started a blog about Vegas and other stuff. Good luck in your journeys!

  13. Amazing blog! Very shortly I will be traveling the world myself. It is great that you are living your dream. Check out my travel blog sometime. I think you will enjoy it.

  14. It’s refreshing what you’re doing. Inspiring as well! I, like many others, hope I’ll be able to do what you’re doing now someday =)

  15. Wow, I came through an entrecard link and was overwhelmed with the Hawaii Observatory picture. I’m coming out of my second retirement, but in my third, I’ll use your blog as a roadmap! Really cool stuff.

  16. hi, at first i thought u r a Malaysian cos i see some Malaysian photos. I like what you do.. travelling. I love to travel too, but can’t find the money and time..haha. But, the lonnger I wait, the older I get. Anyway, thanks for sharing. You should come again to East Coast of Penisular Malaysia. That’s where I am from. Very small town call Kelantan.

  17. HI Gary:

    I just talked to you Dad on the phone and he just told me about your “Around The World Trip”
    that is very cool. Something that I would Love to do, but don’t see how it would be possible. Glad someone in the family can and did.
    I am Anunt Phyllis and Uncle Bob’s daughter Barb, the second oldest. don’t know if you remember me.
    I am one of those relativies who also LOVES to travel. My Mom used to tell me I am the one born w/ wings. It is hard for me to find someone to travel with. Guess we all get caught up in everyday life.
    Well now that I do know about your adventure I will be checking in.

  18. Hey man. I love what you are doing. Its so cool !!! I hope to do it someday, traveling around the world. That is if I save enough cash for that, perhaps 20 years from now, fortunately I am still below my 30s.

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