Two Guys Around the World

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

Two recent college graduates. $10,000 for a year. Exploring the world. Sound extraordinary? I think so, too. We love to share travel stories here on Wandering Educators, and here is a great one, Two Guys Around the World. The two guys are Sam Powers and William Reinhard, and they are sharing their journey with readers as they travel around the world, exploring and connecting with locals and far-flung readers alike.

New Zealand

New Zealand

 

What is most inspiring about these two guys is their ability to BE in the moment, and have fun while doing it. Their videos show the world, and make me laugh. I've also learned a lot from them - from how to avoid your laptop getting stolen, to the beautiful geography of places they've been.


I have been avidly following them, and was so happy to be able to sit down with Sam and chat about their journey. Here's what Sam had to say...

 

New Zealand

Great view, New Zealand

 

 

Video: We hike the Tongariro Crossing in New Zealand and try to hike to the top of the volcano that played Mt. Doom in Lord of the Rings. But on the way up, the clouds moved in, we got lost, and we were in serious danger.

 

 

 

WE: Please tell us about your site, Two Guys Around the World...

SP: TwoGuysAroundTheWorld.com documents our journey around the world. Our main method of documentation is through video. We have around 30 videos of our adventures around the world. We also post blogs and photos and have a map displaying where we are in the world.

 

 

WE: What was the genesis of your idea to travel around the world?

SP: I had spent some time in Guatemala as a computer teacher back in 2005 and the experience changed my perspective on life. It was the first time I realized that there was a different way of living life. Since then I had always known that I would go abroad again, but I was finishing up a bachelor's degree in Linguistics and had a steady well-paying desk job. In other words, I was secure. I was comfortable. And that didn't sit right with me. Some part of me said, "The easy life is no life at all."

I don't know where my main source of inspiration came from. This might sound silly, but I was partially inspired by two movies - "Into the Wild," about a young man's journey of self-discovery as he travels to Alaska, and "The Bucket List," which is a comedy about two men who have been given a few months to live and try to do everything they ever wanted to do in their last days.

 

Sheer Ice

Rested and clean, New Zealand

 

 

I didn't want to be that guy who has always said, "One day, I'm going to travel the world." Twenty years later he's working in front of the same computer, has a wife, three kids and a dog named spot. He's got a mortgage (which he was told was part of "the American Dream") and more debt than he knows what to do with. Now he can't travel the world. He's chained to "the American Dream."

"The American Dream" has always made me shudder a little. It doesn't seem right - the pursuit of happiness by means of corporate success and debt. There's got to be more to life than "things." Why does everything have to monetize somehow? Why do I have to have this new gadget thingy?

I guess what irked me most about my position in life is that I realized I was a spoiled king. I grew up in a middle-class family in the States, I have a bachelor's degree, I had a well-paying job. That puts me in something like the top 10% of the world's wealthiest people. But I was surrounded by wealth.
People who "had it better" than me. It's easy to feel poor in that type of environment.

But then, what about the rest of the 90% of the world who aren't as spoiled with money? What about the oppressed? What about the uneducated? What about the enslaved?

New Zealand

Sheer ice, New Zealand

 

 

I can't stick my head in the sand my whole life.

Part of this trip is self-discovery. Part of it is to see what "life is like out there." Part of it is to find my next role in life.

 

Oops, I didn't mean to deviate from the question so much. Sorry, I guess you can tell I think a lot about this stuff, but I could go on a lot longer...

 

WE: What has been your impressions of continually traveling?

SP: My idea of what "continually traveling" means has changed over the past 6 months. I used to think that "continually traveling" meant going to a new place every few days. And although that's technically a perfect definition, I've learned that it's not my style.

The type of lifestyle that moves from one location to the next every few days gets old very quickly. Every few days, everyone you know is "reset" to strangers and you have to restart with "The Conversation" all over again. The Conversation is conversational discourse you have with every single new person you encounter. It always includes (and usually begins with) three questions,

1) "Where you from?"
2) "Where you been?"
3) "Where you goin' next?"

After having that same blasted conversation with 20 new people every 3 days, you start to become numb to the questions and don't always answer them with the same zeal that you once did.

Moving around that much forces you to look at the world as a tourist (and "tourist" is almost a derogatory term amongst long-term travelers). You're just going to places and seeing the sights. You never get to know the locals well enough to call them "friends."

We've been traveling for 6 months so far and I miss my family and friends back in Kentucky. I'm certainly not a home-body, but I never want to be away from home for Christmas or Thanksgiving ever again. I also don't want to be gone from home for this long without returning.

I have a new idea of what "continually traveling" means. Travel to one location in the world and stay there for 1 or 2 months. Get to know the locals well enough to call them "friends". Experience where the locals go to hang out. See the hidden cave with glowworms that only the locals know about. Go back home for two weeks and love on your family and friends. Then go to some other place on the planet and stay there for 2 months. Repeat.

Argentina

New Zealand

 

This style of traveling allows you to always have a place called "home" while you travel. There's no point in trying to see the whole world in the span of a year (like me and William are trying to do). Take your time and enjoy it. You've got your whole life to travel.

How did that philosophy come to fruition? First by experiencing what it feels like to move to a new location every few days, and second by meeting more long-term travelers than I ever knew existed. Each with their own method of "continually traveling".

 

WE: How difficult is it to travel on a budget of $10,000 a year?

SP: Traveling for less than $10,000 a year can be really easy, or impossible. William and I tried the impossible route. If you stay put in one location and that location happens to be somewhere where you can live cheaply like in Guatemala or Thailand, then you won't even need the full $10,000. And this includes eating out at fancy restaurants and doing weekend excursions in exotic places. Easy.

 

Argentina

 

 

But try the same budget in some European country, you'll need a lot more.
Or even Australia or New Zealand. Australia has sucked several thousand dollars from me in a little over a month and I've had free accommodation nearly the whole time I've been here.

Travel to multiple "westernized" locations in one trip, and now you're talking big money. That was my and William's mistake and we're not going to make the $10,000 budget. But I believe we can still do it for about $15,000 if we really try hard.

 

William on the trail, Chile

Argentina

 

 

WE: Where are you headed next?

SP:  Ah, one of those questions from "The Conversation." We're in Australia now but next week we'll be flying to South East Asia - to Thailand. It will be quite a relief to finally be in a country where I don't have to spend 50% of my $15 a day budget on a bus ride to and from the city.

Food in Thailand is also really cheap... which is good for me since I'm on my "seafood diet". I see food and I eat it...

 


WE: Do you have any suggestions for adapting interculturally to so many different places?

SP: Couch Surfing. That is the answer to having an instant integration into the local culture. CouchSurfing.com is a website that connects travelers to locals. The locals open up their house to the traveler and the traveler gets free accommodation, usually free food, but most importantly, a local friend.

 

 Chile

William on the Trail, Chile

 

William and I do very little research before we enter a new country. We don't look at any guidebooks or ask travel agency's for advice. We just send a Couch Surfing request to some of the locals and once someone welcomes us into their home for a few days, we are given the whole scoop on their country. They know their country far better than any guidebook. We've avoided many tourist traps, saved loads of money, seen things only the locals know about, and made heaps of friends with this method of traveling.

Couch Surfing has literally changed my life.

 

 

More Kayaking, Chile

More kayaking, Chile

 

 

WE: What does the next phase of life include for you after the trip?

SP: There are a million things on my mind for post-trip life. They range from moving to California to focus on West Coast Swing to running with the "Two Guys" theme around Kentucky. We're also in contact with producers in Las Vegas who are interested in submitting a show idea to the Travel Channel. So we'll see what happens, but there are lots of exciting possibilities. 

 

 

Our CSA Friends, Guatemala 

Our CSA Friends, Guatemala

 

 

WE: Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

SP: I know there are people sitting in their office or at home
reading this thinking, "Yeah, that's awesome, I'm want to do that
soon!" But you make a condition, "As soon as I finish with X". Anyone
with a condition on their desire to travel the world will always have a
condition and they will never travel.

The time is now.

 

"But I can't because of Y". Yes, there are some very legitimate excuses for not traveling, but too many people think their excuse is legitimate.

You're attached to being in a relationship? Talk about traveling together. You're afraid? Traveling the world is not dangerous. I don't know why everyone in the States thinks it is... You're in massive debt? Then start living like a "poor person" until your debt is paid off. You're too old? Are you still breathing? Air is free in all countries. Have a comfortable job that pays the bills? Quit. Yes, I said quit your job. And while you're at it, sell your house.

Experience real freedom.

If you don't start making changes in your life right now, your life is set on a course - it's on auto pilot. If that's what you want, then you're safe. But for those who want to experience real life, change your life so that your life can be changed.

 

Guatemala

Arch of Mercy, Guatemala

 

 

Guatemalan Kids

Guatemalan kids


WE: Thanks so much, Sam. Your journey is remarkable - and inspiring!

To learn more about Sam and William's journey, please see:
http://www.twoguysaroundtheworld.com/

 

 

All photos courtesy and copyright of Two Guys Around the World

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Comments (1)

  • irishfireside

    9 years 3 months ago

    I have been devouring each update to the Two Guys website. Excellent attitudes, good production value...It's great to get to know Sam a bit more through this interview. Thanks.

    Congrats to them for their recent Lonely Planet Travel Blog Award Nomination.

    Corey Taratuta, Ireland Editor

    http://www.IrishFireside.com

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