14 Years Ago Greg Left His "Good" Job For A One Way Ticket To Asia: He's Been Living As A Vagabond Ever Since
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21st Jun | 3 min read

Originally from Kentucky, USA, Greg took control of his life in 2006 and reinvented himself. Now, his mission is to help others do the same by sharing stories on his blog Vagabonding Life.

Why I Travel

I spent eight years working a “good” job as a network engineer at IBM but realized I didn’t want to spend 35 more years waiting for vacations and retirement to gain life experience. I didn’t care about buying a lot of stuff. I really just wanted my time and happiness back, two things I was selling in the first place! I resigned, bought a one-way ticket to Asia, and began vagabonding solo in 2006. I continue traveling because doing so is the fastest path to self-growth.

I'm Passionate About Meeting New People

This subject is so dear to me, I’m currently writing a book about it! Meeting extraordinary people is the most rewarding part of traveling the world. I’ve fallen in love, met inspiring people, and had too many life-changing encounters to detail. International travel, especially in remote places, tends to attract special people.

The way the brain perceives time is partly based on how many novel experiences its recording. That means friendships and romance intensify on the road more quickly than they do at home. It’s a cliché but very true: One conversation on the road can change your life.

How I Choose Where To Travel Next

I listen to my heart—or other travelers. I was in England when a famous travel friend told me about studying kung fu near the Shaolin Temple in China, so I signed up! Sometimes the next adventure is a spontaneous decision. I was hanging around Thailand in 2016 when I decided I had to do something more memorable. So, I grabbed a flight to Kathmandu, geared up, and spent 19 days wandering around the Himalayas alone.

Unless something prevents it, I travel yearly for as long as I can. I still consider myself to be “vagabonding” even when I have to settle down in a place for a while.

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Most Memorable Travel Moment

Getting to meet artist and author Sallie Latch again in 2019 was a memorable moment. She’s a true inspiration, and I left there ready to change the world. We first met online in 2010 via my blog then many years later in Bangkok. I flew out to San Francisco to see her last year. She’s been traveling and making the world a better place since she was 19!

Things That Prevent Me From Traveling More

My parents are in their 70s, and I value the time I get to spend with them. I also enjoy getting to watch my nieces and nephew grow up.

Challenges Of Traveling

A warning for the fellow empaths out there: Traveling exposes you to humanity in the raw. You see the effects of war, land mines, extreme poverty, animal cruelty, and other things that will stick with you. And these aren’t just images on a television; they’re real human beings you’re meeting in person. The rewarding part is you also get to see the extremes of human triumph and what we are capable of. I’ve seen firsthand how a legless refugee can be a happier and kinder person than some of the wealthy people I know at home.

What's Still Left On My Travel Bucket List

It’s a long list. I hope one day to spend some extensive time in Japan getting to know the culture. I’d also like to spend a summer somewhere in Scandinavia.

Advice To Travelers

Put your phone into airplane mode when you go out. You can still use it to snap photos without losing the moment by communicating with people at home or worrying about social media. Upload stuff later at night, not right then and there. Explore the place, but keep in mind that it’s really just a catalyst for meeting extraordinary people. Stay present, and talk to everyone—travelers and locals alike. That’s what makes the magic happen.

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    December 24, 2020 at 12:05 AM

    Greg, as I keep learning more about you and your extraordinary travel experiences, my lust for more travel just gets more fired up. But not only are you an astonishingly, brave, adventurous traveler, you are a one-of-a-kind special human being. I’m hoping for another reunion here or there or anywhere.