Sup! Spence here, though Spencer M. Spellman is what my passport says. I’m a Freelance Travel Writer, who since flying by myself for the first time at age 7, just hasn’t been able to kick the travel addiction. What can I say? I’m a junkie. Growing up in the deep south, my southern drawl is my most distinguishing characteristic, no matter how hard I try to mask it on Twitter. Sometimes I like to say things like “holla”, “pimpin” and “playa”, but that front goes right out the window when you meet me in 3-D. I first started out in the travel industry as an Editor for travel guide publisher 10Best. I wrote, edited and managed 10Best’s social media and digital travel guide content for over 450 metros worldwide. I left 10Best to become a Freelance Travel Writer. I’m a regular contributor for multiple websites and publications, with my writing appearing for National Geographic Traveler’s Intelligent Travel blog, NileGuide, Uptake, AOL Travel, the Matador Network, Drink Me Magazine, and Expedia, where I’m the Editor-in-Chief. My travels have taken me from ziplining the rainforests of St. Lucia, to eating alligator tail in the Florida swamps, to Vienna sausage eating contests in South Africa.
So that’s the travel part; so now what about the philosophy part? My first class in college was a Philosophy class, which I took for the sole reason that the class syllabus included watching several movies. I was sold when in the class description I saw “Bladerunner”. Unbeknownst to me, this involved watching the movies out of class, rather than in class. This got college off on the wrong foot. After a tumultuous relationship with my education major, I switched majors during my senior year to Philosophy, completing all of the course requirements in a year to graduate. I maintain that this was one of the best decisions I ever made. So I didn’t make myself marketable with my degree?! How many people actually use their bachelor’s degree in their career field?
So why Traveling Philosopher? Of course the obvious: I’m a philosopher and travel writer. However, if you know anything about philosophers, then you know they can’t just leave it at that. One of my heroes is writer Pico Iyer. I recently read an essay by him on World Hum where he states that the traveler is part photographer and part philosopher. Iyer states: “his deeper purpose, what elevates his mission, and makes it more worthwhile, is to take his subject out of space, too, to explore those larger questions every place dramatizes and that apply to almost everyone.” In essence, I see myself as a storyteller. My intentions when traveling involve taking the ideas, people and places and taking you, the reader, and painting a beautiful picture that transcends time and space. It’s music to my ears every time someone says to me after seeing photos or reading stories or tweets about my travels: “I was living vicariously through your trip”.
So what will you find here? Well first of all, you’ll see my guard let down much more here than any other of my writing. I swear. You’ll also find me ranting here. These typically are also the rants of others and I think these facilitate good discussions. Most importantly, you’ll see a lot of travel writing. I live to travel. Before I’m back from one trip I’m already looking to the next. Travel is much more than just a place or a vacation. That’s where the philosophy comes in. One of the Webster Dictionary definitions for philosophy is: “the most basic beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of an individual or group”. Is that not what you find when traveling? Those beliefs, concepts and attitudes are what typically differentiate a trip to New York City from a trip to Malawi.
Also, you’ll find me quoting quite a bit. The quotes typically sum up what I’m experiencing in life at that time. So here you go:
“20 years from now, you’ll be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the things you did. So throw off the bowlines; sail away from the safe harbour; catch the trade winds in your sails. Dream. Explore. Discover.” – Mark Twain
Welcome to The Traveling Philosopher.
Photo courtesy of Kirsten Alana.