California lighthouse

The days between my 30th birthday last year and my 31st birthday one month ago today saw me undertake something of a social experiment, where I committed to 12 months of living experientially. Something I called, my “30 at 30 List.” It wasn’t so much a travel bucket list, since it involved a lot of things that weren’t related to travel, but rather a life experiences list. While travel has been central to my personal growth the last few years, it’s not the end, but rather a means…

I sat atop the hill, attached at the hip (literally) to Dexter, my paragliding instructor, who was teaching me the science of how we would sprint down the hill and catch a “rising thermal” just in time to rise above the ground, and therefore, not crash into the tree line just below us. It all sounded very black magic-like to me. As if I was in Middle Earth and I was just supposed to leap and somehow one of Gandalf’s dinosaur-sized eagles would appear just in time to…

“Brenner,” the bus driver quickly blurted out to me, grabbing my bags and throwing them on the bus before I even had time to decide if this was really what I wanted to do, while also wondering if “Brenner” was in fact the name of a town, or just a German saying I was unfamiliar with. “Brenner?” I quizzically responded, as if saying it with a hint of skepticism would break down the language barrier and explain where I was actually going (it didn’t). “Yes, go to Brenner,…

#15: Eat a Philly cheesesteak….in Philly. As I marked that off my list last weekend, I crossed the halfway point of my “30 at 30″ list, an evolving list that I kicked off on my birthday to do at least 30 new things over the next year. Fat and happy (Having scarfed down my sandwich while my friends continued to eat), yet eager to see what kind of pace I was on, I pulled out my calendar iPhone. “I’ll be damned,” I shouted out at Jim’s Steaks in…

“His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy.” Yes, that is in fact the beginning to Eminem’s Lose Yourself. However, it’s also my reaction to anything that even remotely begins to raise my adrenaline, such as walking through the Tenderloin district of San Francisco after midnight, traveling to a country that I don’t speak the language of (Which is 95% of the world), driving by a state trooper (Even if I’m going the speed limit), and talking to a girl who I like. But something happened recently….

I originally wrote this post two weeks ago, but trashed it. I never want to come across with a  boastful or “holier-than-thou”  tone and sometimes I write posts like this, but then delete them because there’s too much of “me” in the writing. However, this morning as I sat perched in the living space of my hostel on the island of Fuerteventura, listening to the sounds of the street and overlooking the North African-style flat roofs out to the ocean, my eyes welled up with emotion as I…

I have somewhat of a love affair with bodies….of water, but especially that of the ocean. Not as much the getting into it, but rather the sight of it. Growing up we went to the beach every summer for family vacation, I spent my college summers living and working at Myrtle Beach, and I can see the Pacific Ocean from the roof of my apartment. Yet one thing I’ve never done is taken a cruise. I’ve found myself behind the wheels (or paddles) of boats, jet skis, kayaks,…

Last month I took one day off. One. “HYPOCRITE”. For those who follow me regularly, this is probably what you’re thinking. “Spencer, all I see is you extolling the virtues of long-term travel, a work/play balance, and sticking it to the man, and here you are working for all but one day in March?” However, I’m doing it so that I can travel more and have that work/play balance. Next week begins a series of several upcoming trips that are completely for myself, which includes a vacation to…

I eagerly ran downstairs when I heard the doorbell ring, knowing that my mattress was being dropped off. And I really mean dropped off, as I forwent paying the extra $25 for the delivery guy to carry it up 10 steps to my room. The problem with traveling for 9 months and moving 2,500 miles across the country is that you evidently have to buy things – like a lot of things. Hangers, towels, pillow cases, blankets, and toilet paper. After pushing and rolling the mattress end over…

“Uh, hello?!” I couldn’t get her attention. I had given the stare. You know, what I’m talking about guys. You’re at a bar and you see that one girl that stands out above the rest. You so innocently give a long look, hoping her eyes meet yours. No, this wasn’t a bar, but even better, on a beach in Costa Rica and one of the most beautiful sunsets I had ever seen. It was one of those moments like you see in the movies, where you see the couple sitting…