I pulled the heavily-laded SUV to the end of the driveway and paused momentarily, looking through the rearview mirror at the ranch-style house sitting behind me. I sighed, as my eyes welled up, and a flood of memories came to mind. In that house was (probably) where I was conceived, played my first game of Duck Hunt, received my first spanking, got picked up for my first date, beat my father for the first time in basketball, got my first concussion (from playing indoor basketball that resulted in…

As a child, I lived my life through stories, and more specifically, what I considered at that time, daring, dangerous, and defiant stories, like those that confronted MacGyver. After our family sat down to watch it together every Monday night, I would excuse myself from the living room, exit through the hallway door, and enter into another world filled with danger and dangerous people, while I was armed with little more than a paperclip, Swiss Army knife, and duct tape. “What in devil’s name are you doing,” I’d hear…

I actually started writing this post a couple weeks ago after reading the book and watching the movie titled Silver Linings Playbook. The story follows a young guy, not too older then me, who has been struck with tragedy, losing everything, and is desperately looking for the silver lining in the clouds. Like so many things, I began writing this post in my head, but had yet to transfer my thoughts to paper computer screen. However, somewhat in a position of natural high on life, writing and publishing…

I had been looking at the clock on the wall above my desk for hours, peering up every couple minutes to check the time before looking back down to work on the computer, my leg tapping nervously away. For most of the world and everyone else in my office, it was just another Friday afternoon, but to me it was much more. It was one of a few moments over the course of my 27-year life that I would call “climactic”, if it was in fact that. My…

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 had HIGH expectations of my first surf lesson; verdict: Expectations exceeded!” Those were the words I penned tweeted after my first surf lesson just a couple weeks ago in Santa Cruz, California. Of course, being the philosopher I am, I just had to be so verbose in my 140-character summary of my first surf experience, which was fulfilling a childhood dream. I couldn’t just say something like “I caught my first wave today learning to surf.” No, really, I couldn’t, because I didn’t actually catch a wave….

I have a confession: I’m afraid of the ocean. Or rather getting in the ocean, but not like that clear, blue ocean you see in places like the Caribbean, but that murky stuff. I know, crazy, when I talk so much about the beach, live within walking distance of it, and dream of building my own beach house. Yet as a little boy, I had what I consider the closest near-death experience of my life. As nice of a summer day as it was, I was one of…

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 can’t do this any longer.” I sat up in bed after yet another sleepless night. It was something that someone would say in the midst of a dead-end job or a bad relationship. But I wasn’t. Not even close. I was in Costa Rica in an apartment just a few blocks off the beach. I had been traveling for months and had all intentions of continuing this with a trip to Europe on the horizon. So what was the problem that made me feel so physically and…

We often approach travel as where we take a trip. But what about instead approaching it as where the trip takes us – or rather, “where travel can take you”, which is the motto of AFAR (Playing off the John Steinbeck quote: “People don’t take trips – trips take people.”). It makes a case for experiential travel. It’s often what separates a tourist from a traveler. This type of travel isn’t based on a look or terminology, but more of a perspective. As Daniel J. Boorstin wrote: “The traveler…