Seal Beach Southern California

It was three years ago this month that both my best trip and best decision to date saw its final moments on a beach in Costa Rica. Seven months prior, in my “home” of the Carolinas, following several years of struggle that came to a head with a divorce, I sold and gave away everything that couldn’t fit into a backpack, quit my job to start my own business as a freelance writer, and set out to travel the world. Life had lost its luster. In honesty, I…

The following is a guest post from good friend, colleague, and mentor Kristin Luna, of the award-winning blog, Camels & Chocolate, and who I consider one of the most prolific travel writers I know. My friendship with Kristin Luna began like many of my magical relationships: online; no, not like online dating online – c’mon, she’s married – but rather through blogging. We’ve since become good friends (and are basically family, since ya know, we’re both from the south), and I was honored when she asked me to speak…

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…

It’s a moment of decision – one that is signified by my nervous foot tapping on the floor board and finger tapping on the keyboard. Through my rearview mirror I can see the sun start to peek over the horizon as the day starts to awaken. Yet in this serene moment (In a McDonalds parking lot in North Carolina, but serene nonetheless), I tap away nervously, glancing between the clock, my laptop, and then back at the rearview mirror as the sun finally clears the horizon and continues…

Is it really the final week of January? It seems like just yesterday that my barber was asking me if I had any New Year’s resolutions (Actually it nearly was. It was three days ago and she followed that up with telling me that I was too young to have gray hair). January is one of my favorite months of the year. For one, because it’s the last full month I get to enjoy at my current age, and secondly because it’s a time of eager planning as…

“So you’re kind of like the philosophical traveler”. My friend’s father noted this as we drove up Highway 101 to Sonoma County over the Thanksgiving holiday. I chuckled, responding with: “Yes, I am in fact kind of like the philosophical traveler. Traveling philosopher actually.” My friend’s father had put this together without knowing about my blog, looking at my business card, or knowing much about the history of my life. This had simply come up after talking about my reasons for being a travel writer and my college degree in…

I’m not big on end-of-the-year posts about what I did or what I’m going to do in the next year. There a lot of those posts and the Internet has enough of them that I would probably just repeat a lot of the things that were said. However, last night I sat down and went through every single photo I took in 2011. As I did, a strong sense of gratitude came over me as I realized that I put a LOT into 2011, making it the best…

I breathed in heavily and then back out as I saw my breath clearly in front of me. I sat on the stone ledge just outside of my room with my hands crossed as I shivered, wondering why the hell I was freezing on a mid-summer evening. I had been misinformed, as I sat there shivering in the only jacket I had, and one that I had just recently bought. The summer prior I was spending my afternoons lying on a warm beach every day with friends in…

From time to time I love promoting cool projects and people on my blog. Often times they are people doing extraordinary things that I wish I would’ve come up with. I recently talked about Broke-Ass Stuart’s IFC television show: Young Broke & Beautiful. As a fellow travel writer, I’ve come to appreciate Stuart’s work and how he is always working on an exciting new projects. The latest is a new book: Young, Broke & Beautiful: Broke-Ass Stuart’s Guide to Living Cheaply. He’s kicking off his east coast tour next week…

Like so many of my posts, this came off the whim this past weekend during a moment of decision and contemplation. I wanted a way to include some of the thoughts of people who inspire me. I hope they inspire you, as they, and many others are inspiring me. “Spence. What’s happening man?! How the heck are ya?” These were the words I heard almost every other day when Mike walked in. “Not too bad, Mike. And yourself?” That was my typical response, but it certainly didn’t represent…