I Travel Because

I Travel Because

As you all know I am a proud global ambassador for Allianz Travel Insurance and my good friends are currently running a campaign called “I travel because”. I’ve been asked to write a post about why I travel. It sounds pretty simple but it’s actually very complicated. I travel because of so many factors that have changed over the years that it’s hard to even put them into words but I’m going to try.

I travel because, Hector and Dad in Acadia National Park

Hector and Dad in Acadia National Park in 2018

It’s pretty well documented that I never traveled as a kid. I never left the country until I was 20 years old in 1998. I studied abroad in London and my whole world was kind of thrown for a loop. Had you asked me back then I would have said, I travel because it’s fun; I travel because it’s exciting; I travel because it’s new; I travel because I don’t have to be 21 to drink in other countries; and I travel because every day I traveled was the best day of my life. At 20 that was all true.

Beachcomber Island, Fiji 2003. I travel because

Beachcomber Island, Fiji 2003

As the years went by in my 20’s and I continued to travel a lot when I had opportunities away from work, travel became more of a passion and a lifestyle than just a fun and exciting thing to do. I needed to travel. It was my escape from the grind. It was where I felt the most alive. I needed to get out of the real working world.

Greenland 2011, I travel because

Greenland 2011

Come about 2006, I had already traveled to over 100 countries, had been to 6 continents and had been to some pretty amazing places. It was that year before a trip up Mount Kilimanjaro I started this website to document my travels and my pursuit of traveling to every country in the world.

Post skydiving in Lake Taupo, New Zealand 2003, I travel because

Post skydiving in Lake Taupo, New Zealand 2003

If you had asked me why I travel back in 2006, I would have said I travel because it’s fun. I travel because it’s exciting and I travel with purpose. I travel because it’s a fun goal and I like to have goals and to achieve. Travel became a bit of a quest for me. A quest to go everywhere basically and to venture places I had never been and in some cases; places I had never heard of before.

Djenne, Mali 2010

Djenne, Mali 2010

In 2008, I quit my Wall Street job for the second and final time and enrolled in business school in order to do something positive during my quest to visit every country. Back then it was still a different mindset regarding resume gaps, etc. Plus, I always figured I would just finish my goal and go back to get another Wall Street job.

The period of 2008-2011 when I completed my journey to go to every country in the world was really exciting. It was exhausting and cost a lot of money but was simply incredible albeit not always fulfilling. If you had asked me why I traveled then I would have said, I travel because I have to. I travel to complete my goal. I travel because I started something and now I must finish it.

The South Pole 2014

The South Pole 2014

One reason I kind of lost sight of why I traveled in the first place was because I had such a lofty goal. One thing people don’t realize now as so many people are trying to visit every country in the world is that I wasn’t even trying to do that. I was actually trying to visit every country in the world plus every territory as well. I was doing the Travelers Century Club list of 325 countries versus the now commonly used United Nations list of 193 countries. This is where it gets a little complicated so check out how many countries are there to help answer this epic question!

In trying to visit every country and territory, I often found myself in places I didn’t want to be, often for extended periods of time due to limited transportation and high costs. I started to not like travel as much because I had lost sight of why I loved to travel in the first place. When travel becomes a chore, it ceases to be fun.

However, come 2011, when I finished visiting every country in the world; I was able to feel like the pressure was off even though the only pressure I had was the pressure I put on myself. It was a nice feeling. But there I was wondering, what next? Should I get a job? Could I possibly work in travel or work my website into something? I really didn’t know.

Hiking in Norway 2012

Hiking in Norway 2012

If you had asked me in late 2011, early 2012 why I traveled, I would have said I travel because I’m looking for answers. I travel because I don’t know what to do. I travel because I don’t want to be like everyone else. I travel because I don’t want my life to be boring. I travel because I really want to.

In 2012, I pretty much spent the whole year trying to figure out what the heck I was doing. I knew I had something with what I had accomplished, my personality, my television exposure and business acumen but I wasn’t sure what yet. My year of networking, discovery and figuring out a new industry while still traveling to really off the beaten path places that I wanted to go to made me very happy. I got my first big deal in late 2012 and I was off and running.

Cape Verde Islands 2009

Cape Verde Islands 2009

Nowadays I travel because it’s my job. I travel because I get paid to travel. I travel because it’s a passion for me. I travel because I love it. I travel because it’s now a part of me. I travel because it’s still fun. I travel because I go where I want to. I travel because it’s given me a dream life. I travel because it’s a lifestyle. I travel because I can and I want to. That’s good enough for me.

Why do you travel?

Disclaimer: I work as an ambassador for Allianz Global Assistance (AGA Service Company) and receive financial compensation.

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  1. Sarah Fouts says

    I love how your reason for travel has evolved. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

  2. I love how honest this is really. None of the bullshit “I travel to find myself” or “enrich myself” or for reasons of finding culture etc. And being gone honest about how visiting every country is more about being a goal vs a fun thing. And also how when you get older, most travel is because you’re paid to or want to instead of all these lofty travel brochure reasons.

    I’m aiming to visit all countries and this is really the most honest reason I’ve seen vs all the other bloggers who go “oh it’s to meet people and culture etc”

  3. So good, Lee! I’ve had a similar journey, I never left the states until I was 18. Ultimately, you’re right where you’re supposed to be, rough road and all. 🙂

  4. Awesome post, Lee. I totally get it—anytime your former passion becomes something you HAVE to do it can lose the luster. Thanks for more great thoughts!

  5. Lovely dog! I also love to travel and I’ve recently switched to a healthier lifestyle and training for a race with SportMe marathon training app, which calculates distance, time, pace and calories. Finding new running routes is always a challenge, such as sneaking in my runs into my destinations. Your blog posts are a true inspiration.

  6. That was very nicely stated Lee. I am distracting myself from doing my homework because I wandered here. I feel traveling also happens through the safety of my room to you for instance in this very message. I am traveling, my mind’s thoughts, to this paper, to your inbox. Cool – how travel is really at the speed of light in a weird way. Anyways, I appreciated that you took the time to create this website overall because people like me stumble upon it in search of answers and after seeing your experiences have brought you much joy, I know that I too can find that through traveling.I am like beyond impressed that you are the youngest person in the world to travel to all the places literally. I wish I would have done a major in business but numbers were never my thing. But, I see why numbers are important – they literally bring you places that you only fathom of in your dreams. I am very happy that through your images and story you have captivated my interest in pursuing this journey on my own as well. I like the unknown and uncertainty that traveling somewhere new can afford, because it can provide a solace and serenity that is like the voice of God inside you. I wish you the very best in your life and looking forward to more of your stories.

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