It was a late Saturday afternoon in May of 2009 and I was sitting on my porch in San Diego. With a cold beer in hand, I kicked back to watch the sun-kissed hotties jog along Mission Bay as the sun dropped down into the Pacific. From the outside looking in, this was a great life. The only problem was, my mind was too fixed on meeting deadlines and reaching numbers to enjoy it. In one of the liveliest cities in the world, I had never felt so life-less.
Exams in Southern California had just finished and I had spent the last 3 months busting my ass between Buffalo, Salt Lake City and Long Beach to buy back as many textbooks as possible. I was the Director of Marketing for a successful college textbook company, and this had been my life since my sophomore year in college. Within that time, I learned a lot about business and marketing, but most importantly I learned that I was living someone else’s dream. I was pouring my soul into something I didn’t love.
It wasn’t until that Saturday afternoon, when the beer lost its taste and the view lost its inspiration, that it hit me. It was at that moment that I realized if I’m not happy with myself, it doesn’t matter where I live. It was time to start writing my own story.
After 6 years of constant work and chaos, it was time to start chasing my own legend.
I left work the following Monday and had a one-way ticket to Buenos Aires, Argentina by Wednesday night. I had no idea what I was doing, but my passion for travel and search for substance guided me.
———————– The Tourist 2 Townie Experience ———————–
To connect with like-minded dream chasers, share unique travel adventures and provide inspiration and advice for regular people who wish to do remarkable things. This site is more of a social experiment and lifestyle design than it is a travel blog. It’s about people more than it is about places. It’s about chasing dreams rather than following the norm.
My goal is to explore the world by going beyond typical travel experiences. I want to see exactly what it takes to become part of a foreign community and to truly understand a place through the people and culture that define it.
To help me accomplish this goal I created the list, which includes 6 life-changing missions that I’ve always dreamed of. While, I have no set plan on exactly how I will complete these tasks, I have a feeling I’ll make some good friends and great memories along the way. Come with me…
———————– My Definition of a Tourist and Townie ———————–
With my plan to transform from tourist to townie I should probably share my definitions of the two:
The Tourist – Someone who sees the sites, eats the food and gains a broad understanding of the layout of a particular place. I have been a tourist before and its nowhere near as much fun as being a local. Tourists tell you all about their trip while they rarely step off the tour bus or outside their hostel crew. Tourists you can spot coming from a mile away. A tourist is loud, annoying and lost.
The Townie – A local. A regular. Someone who has been around since everybody else can remember. They have their own seat at the bar and the waitress always asks them if he’ll have “the usual”. He’s the guy who can tell you stories about “the good ‘ol days” and will never let you forget where he came from. I townie is knowledgeable, connected and smooth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Latin America?
I first came down to Buenos Aires, Argentina based on very weird omens I kept seeing everywhere. True story. However, I continue to explore South America because after a year in Argentina I became infatuated with everything about this continent. The culture, the turmoil, the language, the food, the dancing, the women… the women. Plus, it’s cheaper than traveling to Europe.
Who will benefit most from following Tourist2Townie.com?
This site is dedicated to anyone looking to do more with their life. I’m not saying everyone should travel the world, I’m just saying everyone should pursue happiness and love what they do everyday. In particular, I hope the travel info and my personal experiences help expats, study abroad students and volunteers who plan on spending an extended period of time in South America and want content beyond popular tourist photos and backpacker hang-outs.
What are your major life dreams/aspirations?
Besides love, knowledge and financial freedom, I have 14 major, tangible aspirations. T2T will focus on the first 8 (to begin with). check out the list for more details.
- Live in a foreign country for at least 1 year.
- Learn to speak (fluently) in a second language.
- Learn to salsa dance like a latin heartthrob.
- Complete a “Great American Road Trip”.
- Learn to cook like a chef.
- Help a specific cause.
- Become versed in a martial art.
- Work at the World Cup.
- Learn to play an instrument (guitar and/or piano).
- Sail the Mediterranean.
- Heliskiing in British Colombia or Swiss Alps
- Motorcycle across a country.
- Build a successful business (that doesn’t run my life).
- Be applauded by more than 1,000 people.
Who do you think will win the World Cup?
If you didn’t know it already the FIFA World Cup is being staged in Brazil this summer. It’s a really big deal as not only is soccer something of a national obsession here, but also Brazil is known around the world as soccer’s spiritual home. There are a lot of great teams competing, including World Cup winners Spain, the always threatening Germany and Argentina that have the famous Lionel Messi. However I’m going to pick Brazil, partly because I love the country, partly because they have a great team including Neymar but also the entire Brazilian nation, and I don’t mean that figuratively, will be supporting the seleção (the national team nickname). I can’t be too wrong as according to this betting site Brazil are indeed the favorites; maybe I should become a professional gambler! Regardless of who wins this World Cup is sure to be an absolutely unforgettable experience for all those involved. Vai, Brasil!
How do you finance your travel?
Right now marketing consulting is my main source of income. I’ve worked with Spanish learning programs, medical tourism sites and other textbook companies. I also offer advertising and sponsorship opportunities on the site to help support my travel vices. My slow, long-term travel strategy also helps me keep costs down by staying in apartments instead of hotels/hostels and grocery shopping instead of eating out on the regular.
What’s your dream job?
If a travel show or “Hawaiian Tropics lotion boy” isn’t in the cards, I would love to start something like Room to Read or Toms. My dream would be to to create an organization that is both highly profitable and socially relevant.
Where have you been besides South America?
I had the opportunity to study in London when I was a Junior in College, which allowed me to see a lot of Western Europe. These were the adventures that sparked my interest to travel deeper. I went cliff diving in Wales, got lost in Barcelona, spent Christmas at the Vatican in Rome, went skiing in the Swiss Alps, made bad decisions in Amsterdam and had a 10-day romantic rendezvous with my tour guide in the Greek Islands (which I almost didn’t return from).
What’s your biggest fear?
ASK ME ANYTHING BELOW