My name is Gary Arndt.
In March 2007 I sold my house and have been traveling around the world for the last 11 years. Since I started traveling, I have probably done and seen more than I have in the rest of my life combined.
Below is a summary to give you a better idea of who I am and to learn more about my website.
- My Background
- Random Facts About Me
- About My Travels
- About the Blog
- About My Photography
- Frequently Asked Questions
Get a free ebook with 100 of my favorite travel photos!
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 enjoy learning but didn’t enjoy doing research so much.
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 lived on the road, traveling non-stop for 9 years. In 2016 I finally “settled down” and got an apartment so I had a base I could return to between trips.
Today I’m still traveling about 3-5 months and visiting upwards of 20 different countries each year.
- 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.
- I placed in the top 10 at the college national debate tournament my junior and senior years .
- I’m an Eagle Scout.
- I have 3 dimples
- I graduated college with a triple major in Mathematics, Economics and Political Science. I’m a few credits away from degrees in Geology and Geophysics.
- I love movies. I have a DVD collection of close to 700 DVD’s (mostly older and foreign films). These are almost all rendered useless by streaming.
- I am part owner of an NFL franchise.
- I have a ham radio license (KC0PED).
Here is a brief synopsis of my travels to give you an idea of what I’ve done over the last 11 years. Suffice to say, I’ve done a lot of traveling.
- Visited all 7 continents. I actually visited all of them in one year once! (2012)
- Set foot in 198 countries and territories around the world on the Travelers Century Club list of places
- Traveled to all 50 US states and every US territory
- Explored every Canadian province twice (and with my next trip to Saskatchewn it will be three times!)
- I’ve been to every state in Australia, Germany, South Africa, and several other countries. I try to explore places completely.
- Been to over 150 US National Park Service sites in my quest to visit all 417 in the US. I’ve almost visited all 60 US national parks.
- Photographed and docummented trips to over 375 UNESCO World Heritage Sites around the world. I’e become one of the world’s foremost authorities on World Heritage Sites.
I have also:
- Landed and was launched from a nuclear aircraft carrier
- Gone dog sledding in the Canadian Yukon
- Bungee jumped in New Zealand
- Floated in the Dead Sea
- Crossed the arctic circle in the Yukon
- Rode in a Formula 1 car at 180mpg (300kph) in Spain
- Been in the water with great white sharks in South Africa
- Dove in the ruins of the Great Lighthouse of Alexandria in Egypt
- Swam with whale sharks in Australia
- Been spelunking in Borneo
- Rode the world’s highest zip line in Puerto Rico
- Rode out a tsunami in Hawaii
- Visited an active war zone in Cambodia
- Resisted the temptation to take a $5,000,000 moon rock in the Solomon Islands
- Been kicked out of the nation of Kiribati
- Experienced the Thai New Year (Songkran) in Bangkok
- Experienced Holy Week in Jerusalem
- Got caught in the middle of a political protest in Thailand
- Swam with jellyfish in Palau
- Visited many of the greatest museums on Earth
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 in technology and the internet, 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 with hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.
- Twice was a National Geographic Traveller Finalist for Travel Blog of The Year.
- Earned a Gold Medal (2012) and two Silver Medals (2011, 2017) for Best Travel Blog by the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA)
- Earned 3 Lowell Thomas Awards, which are the most prestigious prize in travel journalism.
- Won over 40 lifetime NATJA Awards, a record for travel bloggers.
- Have spoken at or keynoted almost every major travel industry event in the world.
- I was the first full-time blogger admitted to the Society of American Travel Writers (2011) and the first ever elected to its national board of directors (2017).
National Geographic Traveller said:
“In the travel blogging world Gary Arndt is one of the big fish.”
The New York Times said:
“Gary Arndt(‘s) blog, Everything Everywhere, is routinely cited as a model for success…”
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.
In 2016 I moved from Nikon to Sony, a move that do not regret in the slightest.
I’ve come a long way in my photography from knowing nothing at the start:
- I was named the SATW Travel Photographer of the Year in 2014.
- I was twice named Travel Photographer of the Year by NATJA (2013 & 2015)
- My 3 Lowell Thomas Awards were all for Photo Illustration of Travel.
- I have won 2 Norther Lights Awards for my photography of Canadian destinations.
- Have been on the list of the 100 Most Influential Photographer in the World the last 3 years.
You can download a free ebook of my 100 favorite travel photos which looks especially good on the iPad.
Q: What is your favorite place?
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/Iran/Peru/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 pickpocketed 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 an 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 spend. 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.
Q: Did you buy an around 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 won’t 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: Some is still in storage. The rest I unpacked when I got an apartment in 2016.