From those putting their hearts out on the field to those exploring the road less traveled, the SunglassWarehouse.com crew is pumped to introduce our latest series, where we highlight men and women committed to seizing the day and going Out & About. Check back each month as we interview individuals who have played, explored, lived, and gone the distance in the great outdoors.
This week, we’re joined by author, entrepreneur, blogger, and full-time traveler, Colin Wright. Colin moves to a new country every four months that has been voted on by his readers. While hopping about, he does all that he can to live like a local, try new things, and learn as much as possible. You can read all about his adventures over on his blog, Exile Lifestyle.
When were you first bitten by the travel bug, and where did you go first?
Colin: I’ve always wanted to travel, but never had the chance to as a kid. It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that I found myself with the opportunity to do so, and though it required that I completely uproot my life and change up my career, it was well worth the consequences!
The first place I went was Buenos Aires, Argentina. A lovely city in a lovely country, and a great first stop for someone who was as green to the ways of travel as I was.
You travel to different locations for four-month periods and let your readers select your destination. How did you get this idea? When did you start traveling like this, and how long do you plan on continuing?
Colin: You know, it took me four months to change up the lifestyle I was living before I started traveling. I was running a branding studio in Los Angeles, and accordingly, I had a whole lot of gadgets and clothing and all the other things young people who are successful in their career purchase because they can. Four months after I decided to make a change in the direction I was going, I had gotten rid of everything I owned that wouldn’t fit into a carry-on bag, started up a blog, and figured out how to continue working from the road. Afterward, four months seemed like enough time to accomplish just about anything!
I decided to have other people vote because I knew I wanted to travel, but I had no idea where to go. Since I hadn’t left the US at that point, I figured just about anyone else would have better ideas for destinations than me, so I asked them where I should visit. It’s worked out well enough that I have continued doing it that way to this day!
I’ll likely continue traveling this way until something better comes around. I’m having a blast with it, and I have enough time in between countries that I can still visit friends around the world, and take road trips through the States. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything, thankfully!
Is there anywhere you would rather not visit? Is there location that has not been suggested yet that you would like to live? Maybe we can help sway some votes. :)
Colin: Haha, you know, I don’t think there is a place I wouldn’t want to visit. I find that it’s the places that don’t come to mind immediately when you think of traveling overseas that tend to be the most fun — the places you haven’t seen a million photos of online and on postcards. So I would absolutely go anywhere, so long as I could survive the experience. And there are plenty of places I’d love to go and haven’t yet, but there are so many that I couldn’t possibly choose just one — every place I haven’t been yet looks great to me!
What has been your favorite and least favorite place to visit and why? Can you share a few highlights from your travels?
Colin: It’s actually very difficult to compare countries to each other, because they are all amazing in some ways, and not ideal in others. New Zealand, for example, is the most naturally beautiful place I’ve ever been. It’s unfairly gorgeous, in fact. But it also suffers from horrible internet connectivity and other issues related to its remoteness and small size. India, on the other hand, is large and sprawling and central, but also quite uncomfortable in many ways, and deals with massive amounts of poverty and the like. I learned something living in both countries, but very different things. I’ve enjoyed my experiences in every country I’ve visited, but likewise, for very different reasons.
I can tell you that I’ve almost been mugged, dressed in drag for a photoshoot and as a cowboy for a Bollywood commercial, have been the guest of royalty and of the very impoverished (and enjoyed the company of both), and spent time in the southernmost city in the world, trying to buy my way aboard boats heading out to Antarctica with green beer.
You tend to accumulate crazy stories fairly quickly when you travel a lot, so that’s just a quick run-down of a few instances that came to mind immediately!
During your travels did you ever find yourself in a situation where you thought, “How did I end up here?”
Colin: All the time! Thankfully, it’s usually in a positive sense, but every once in a while I wonder over the strangeness of it and question my choices. The latter happens most often when I’m crammed into a tiny seat on a chicken bus somewhere, or coping with a 13-hour layover in some inhospitable airport.
We are a sunglass store, after all, so we have to ask: Which pair of Sunglass Warehouse sunglasses would make for your perfect travel companion?
Colin: I’m a big fan of the retro square look, which, thankfully, seems to be quite popular these days. I haven’t seen them in dark brown before, so these seem pretty fresh and versatile to me.
You know that trying local cuisine is a key component to traveling, so what is the one dish you’ve had during your travels that you can’t stop dreaming of, and conversely, what is the meal you could do without trying again?
Colin: There were several dishes in Thailand that I could happily never have again (there’s one that I couldn’t even bring myself to touch — an unhatched chicken egg, cracked open and cooked in its own, black sauce), and I’m not a huge fan of the rotted shark fin dish that’s so popular in Iceland. But there have been far more dishes that I’ve missed after leaving a place, thankfully. Among them, I probably miss the empanadas in Argentina most. They really know how to make an empanada sing!
Thanks again to Colin for taking the time to chat with us!