“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,…

I was lying flat down on my apartment floor, paralyzed with fear and pain, beating my arms on the floor, crying, and screaming aloud about why this had happened. A routine Monday morning had been interrupted by a call from my aunt, telling me that my mom had unexpectedly passed away. You see my mom had a certain invincibility to her. She volunteered, worked her ass off for years at a job where she was undervalued, rarely missed a service at the church she had spent decades at, and took…

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…

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…

As I grow older, the memories of my early childhood become a bit more hazy. Nonetheless, there are just some memories from my childhood that seem forever ingrained in my mind: Peeing on my first electric fence (Which was also the last electric fence I peed on), kissing my first girl, setting up a basketball goal in my parents’ carport involving an outdoor trash can and the utility room door, and seeing my first snake. However, an even more indelible memory was the first time stepping foot onto an…

As 2011 comes to a close, I’m coming up on seven months in my new home of San Francisco, California. I recently published my favorite travel photos of 2011. It’s no surprise that I featured several photos from California, including San Francisco, Big Sur, and Los Angeles. As I looked through all of my travel photos last week, I noticed that so many of my favorite photos from the year came from California. While I had traveled to California several times before moving here, I came here with…

I woke up Monday morning and looked at my calendar, doing a double take. Seeing that Christmas was now just days away and not weeks or months away, my initial reaction was fear. I have so much to do! But alas, I don’t. My shopping is finished, I’m not traveling, my apartment is empty with no roommates for the holidays, and it’s my first holiday season I haven’t spent on the east coast with family. I’ve enjoyed taking in the holidays this year without feeling any pressure. That…

Everybody has that one thing, whether traveling or at home, that is yours. For some antique shopping, for others jogging, and yet for others it’s taking photographs. It’s that timeless piece of our lives that we love to do more than any other, no matter where we are. For me, it’s sunsets. Some chase tornados; I chase sunsets. I don’t always take photographs, but many times I just like to stop and watch the sun fall behind the horizon as the sky radiates with color. And it’s not…

“Today I walked into the office with a briefcase and I walked out with a backpack, never to return again.” Those were the words I penned tweeted 13 months ago. A few minutes later I was on I-85 on the way up to North Carolina, yelling expletives at the giant South Carolina peach, which actually looks more like another rounded object that has a crack down the middle. I left with no intentions of ever returning. The next day I was spending the night in the Charlotte Airport,…

No, I’m not leaving anytime soon, if that’s what you’re thinking. I arrived in San Francisco nearly six weeks ago and stand by my recent statement that it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made. Can you afford it? Isn’t finding an apartment difficult? Will you still be able to be self-employed, travel, and live in San Francisco all at the same time? These are all questions I’ve fielded at one time or the other and I’m more confident than ever that this is where I’m supposed to…