GAFFL connects solo travelers with similar itineraries to explore destinations together. Whether you are backpacking in Asia, road tripping in Australia, or exploring national parks in the US, simply type the destination you are traveling to, find travelers who are going there at the same time as you, connect with them, plan trips, meet, and travel together.
After the 2008 financial crisis, my small web development/online marketing firm lost most of its clients and I had to lay off my team and reevaluate my life.
After much soul searching I decided to sell everything I had and go on a long road trip to do some soul searching.
Before I left I created a travel blog, mainly to keep my friends and family up to date as to what I was doing. Later that year, I launched MikesRoadTrip.com which eventually became the best travel blog of the year in 2010.
Since then many opportunities and accolades have followed. I continue road tripping as it has become a profession. I create content for destinations and brands, while also promoting on my various channels.
Before Covid, I was doing 12-14 big trips per year. During Covid, I stayed closer to home as road-tripping became the preferred mode of travel.
I recently signed a deal with an RV Mfg. to travel around the country creating content for one of their travel trailer brands. While road tripping I enjoy camping, hiking, kayaking, fine-dining, and exploring, while also documenting the adventures in film and photos.
Often it is based on an assignment I have with a destination or brand. Other times it is based on a place I have really want to road trip, but never have.
For example, this year I finally made it to the Florida Keys, which is likely on every road trippers bucket list. I finally got to check it off. If on an assignment, I often follow an itinerary provided by the client. Other times I do some online research and make a list of places I might want to visit.
I love reading travel blogs and watching travel videos during my research. I usually have a destination in mind, but never a route. I try and let the road be my guide.
When traveling abroad I have to pack around my camera gear, whatever is left over is for clothes. While on my current road trip towing a travel trailer, I have not had to leave anything behind, which has been very convenient.
Packing is one of my least favorite things to do.
I started my blog to keep friends and family up-to-date on my travels. I had no intention of making it a profession, but that’s the funny thing about life, you never know what twists and turns are in store for you. I tried to take the lemons of life and make lemonade, so far it tastes pretty sweet.
I tried to provide experiential content to my readers and followers, I like to say “I do the exploring, so you can have an adventure.” I provide several different types of content for readers, from listicles (e.g. top-10 things to do) when I have a lot of experience in an area to narrative storytelling when I’m really passionate about a place.
I also get into the weeds with in-depth road trip guides, providing all the information on where to stay, eat, things to do, etc.
This is always a difficult question to answer as I have been to so many places. I usually ask people to qualify the question, for example, my favorite beaches, or most scenic roads, etc. Some places that come to mind are Raja Ampat (which was not a road trip) in a remote part of Indonesia. This is a place straight out of Fantasy Island.
A couple of years ago I road tripped all over Tuscany, well beyond Florence or Sienna. I discovered old Etruscan tombs & sites, explored remote hill-top villages that date back more than 2000 years.
I have also road-tripped all over Romania, which holds a fond place in my heart, it’s a place with unspoiled landscapes and villages that look like they did hundreds of years ago with folks riding carts and horses.
Of course, my home country of the United States has so many extraordinary things to see and do as well. The coasts of California, the red rocks of Utah, and the impressive snow-capped mountain peaks in Montana come to mind.
Google Maps is one of my most used apps, there is so much information available, it’s not just for getting you from point A to B. Gas Buddy is another essential one. I have literally saved $1/gal by driving a mile in a different direction thanks to this app.
I have met so many amazing people over the years, but one that comes to mind was meeting a former NBA and Olympic basketball player on a flight.
I was flying from Seattle to Puerto Rico when my flight was canceled. After rebooking I was lucky to nab one of the last remaining seats, which happened to be a window exit row. I was excited to have the extra room and to try and get a bit of sleep, but destiny had other plans. One of the last passengers on the flight was a very tall man. This poor guy had the middle seat next to me and could barely fit into its confines. We immediately struck up a conversation and really hit it off. I was no longer interested in sleeping, but rather hearing this guy’s fascinating stories. Come to find out he was a former NBA player turned professional pinball player and he was heading to Chicago for a tournament.
A week or so after the flight my seatmate invited me to his house outside of Seattle for a pinball party he was having. Come to find out he had a massive game room the size of a luxury home. The entire story is a bit long, so if you’re interested, you can read all about it in chapter 7 of my book Lines, Signs & Forks.
I was on an Icebreaker tour in Finland back in 2014 and got to take a trip in a boom they had on the bow of the boat that lowered me over the edge and to the bottom of the ship in order to film the breaking of the ice close-up. It was extraordinary.
Time, and more time. I often work 14+ hours a day. I’m either collecting or creating content, sorting/organizing, and then finally producing it. Takes a lot of time.
Have a destination in mind, but not a route. Let the road be your guide and don’t be afraid to venture to places unknown, that’s where the best stories lie.
Other cool stories you might enjoy!