world travel creates entrepreneurs

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”

– Marcel Proust

The Pursuit of Adventure…

In a word, my mission and purpose comes down to Exploring. In every sense of the word. That is the best way I know how to help others and how to live a life of meaning.

Tomorrow I leave for a trip to Turkey with nine close friends. And I actually started writing this on a flight to Montreal for another buddy’s 30th birthday last week.

Just being in the international terminal in SFO gives me the chills. It always has.

Nothing has changed me more than the trips I’ve taken, the places I’ve explored and the people I’ve connected with.

I would not be an entrepreneur without it. 

In fact I wouldn’t be a lot of things…

While living your normal life, it’s easy to lose sight of the importance of getting your head out of the sand and seeing things from a different place. But sadly, most who’ve never really traveled, don’t really see the point.

I’d like to remind you all that there is a very big point. And in all the learning I’ve done, no single practice has had a bigger impact. There is no more influential classroom.

This is a tribute to the gratitude I have for what the world has taught me. And the businesses it has inspired me to create.

May it encourage you to dust off that passport…

How Travel Made Me an Entrepreneur: 14 Very Short Stories

1. When I studied and lived with a family for six months in Sevilla, Spain I learned that happiness can (and should) be prioritized over money and status. It turned out there was indeed another path.

2. Studying at the London School of Economics taught me the importance of understanding other cultures. That seeing things through others’ eyes actually made a difference – and was normal in most countries aside from the U.S. That business is not about what you think will help, but about what others need help with.

3. Seven weeks backpacking around Europe with a close friend (and now business partner) introduced me to a few people who unknowingly convinced me to take a crack at working abroad instead of jumping into American corporate life. That seven weeks turned into a year.

Oh, and that one early July 8th morning running with the bulls in Pamplona taught me that, while many things are less risky that we think, some actually involve more danger than meets the eye (but that’s a story for another post…).

4. When I moved back to Sevilla for that year, as a tour guide and founder of an English teaching business, I learned that with the right models, inspiration and passion – happiness and money could actually exist together. I never looked back. Eric and Jorge, thanks for welcoming me and inspiring me with your work at Discover Sevilla. That showed me my first glimpse of true possibility.

5. Martín, a very talented street-side painter in Lagos, Portugal, showed me what it meant to embrace a talent and help people in a simple meaningful way. I feel it every time I walk by that sunset on canvas hanging in my hall.

6. Two Portuguese brothers, Mario and Selmo, proved to me that your path never has to be scripted. As they got their undergraduate and MBA educations in Boston, and then moved to Lagos to start what has become one of the top party hostels in Europe. And as proof that friendships don’t stop at borders, Mario flew out last week to tackle the Goruck Challenge with me in San Francisco.

7. A few late nights in Russia showed me a bit more about the freedom that too many of us take for granted.

8. A stint in Dubai around 2007 showed me why it’s best to stick to building things where demand already exists. Flooding the market with hundreds of luxury high-rises does not necessarily create a bunch of buyers. Build what people want. Simple.

9. Spending weeks around the locals in Botswana, Zambia and South Africa taught me a new form of entrepreneurship and micro business. That a business can be anything as long as you decide to offer value and charge something for it.

10. It also made me promise myself to not take another moment or opportunity for granted, and to do everything I could to help people and make an impact, no matter how small. Because it’s all too easy to forget how much we have at our fingertips. It became an obligation to do something meaningful.  

11. A week at a wellness retreat in Mexico allowed me to cross paths with Richard Leider, internationally recognized Purpose Coach and bestselling author, whose mentorship, friendship and guidance, along with that of Dick Bolles‘, became a lot of the foundation and inspiration for Live Your Legend. I recently did an interview with Richard, which I’ll share soon.

12. A few weeks in the Italian countryside with my family (and a few more times since then) planted the idea that one day I wanted to have a business that could be run from anywhere and would allow me to see as much of the world as often as I wanted. That was years before I had my first website. The subconscious is more powerful that we realize – crazy what an idea can turn into.

13. While laying out on a sunny log along a river in Chilean Patagonia, during a fly-fishing trip with my dad, I was struck with the name and vision for Live Your Legend (very much inspired by Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, which I’ll be reading for the 6th time while I’m in Turkey). I launched the new brand right after getting back to the states.

14. And a honeymoon spent cruising a rental car (with no rearview mirror) up the Croatian coastline reminded me of all the above, and inspired me to stay true to a path I’d unknowingly committed to on one of those first trips.

“The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.”

– G.K. Chesterton

travel creates entrepreneurs

Every Adventure Is a Reminder

Each trip is a shot of adrenaline.

A wake up call.

A way to suck yourself out of the laptop, out of your bubble and out of the world you think is so worth worrying about.

A reminder that there is so much left to see. So much to experience. So much to do and people to learn from.

There is endless inspiration and education to be sought out – but only if you’re willing to find it.

Every adventure going forward will do the same. They always do.  

Because it’s not until we get our head out of our own world, that we come to grips with what actually matters and what we’re really working towards.

Life is clearer when seen from a hiking trail towards Machu Picchu than it is from your desk.

Because of that, I will always keep moving.

In fact I’ve even toyed with the idea of creating some 1-2 week Live Your Legend adventures throughout the world, for a few eager LYL readers and myself. Anyone want to join?? (I’ll keep you posted).

Travel does not have to be something you only dream about. 

If you haven’t left your town or country in a while, I suggest it’s time you book a flight.

There will always be reasons to put it off. Do it anyway.

Leo Babauta travels with a family of eight (more on that next week) and Adam Baker and his wife spent a year seeing the world with their newborn on their back. Excuses don’t have to be excuses.

Especially when it comes to cost.

Chris Guillebeau, on his quest to visit every country in the world, travels to dozens of countries a year, usually flying First or Business Class. But he rarely pays for airfare. He calls it Travel Hacking. Chelsea and I happen to be flying business class to Turkey, thanks to what his Travel Hacking Cartel has taught.

I promise you the money is not what’s holding you back. You can spend a week in some countries for the cost of what most weekend-waiting job-haters spend on a couple nights out trying to forget who they are.

Those who haven’t traveled, simply have a priority issue. There is no other barrier.

Ideas are born through experiences, not sitting at your desk.

Because of what the world’s taught me, my desk can now be anywhere.

I’m forever grateful.

The how and the why are easy to answer.

My favorite question is…

Where to next?

If you need me I’ll be in some beach town in Turkey with my wife and eight friends – stockpiling inspiration for my next big project…

-Scott

 P.S. A good friend and past client, Jon Giganti just launched his new site and blog, The Catalyst Project. It’s definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re an employee and don’t plan on leaving your job. His intro video will get you fired up too.

Jon has built an amazing career as an employee in a big company and he actually enjoys what he’s doing (yes, that is possible ;)). He believes that you can do great work, even if you don’t work for yourself.

The way he’s helping people is by providing tools, techniques and approaches for the people who don’t ever plan to leave their corporate gig, but want more out of their career. It’s a niche that I haven’t see too many people tackle. Instead of quitting your job, make what you have more meaningful. If this sounds interesting, check out The Catalyst Project. He’s got some impressive expert contributors, and is giving away a pretty cool Catalyst Assessment Test during his launch.

Congrats on being live Jon!

Ok, now go put that passport to work.

—–

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Leave a Reply

61 Responses to “14 Very Short Stories of How World Travel Made Me an Entrepreneur”

  1. Jordan Bates says:

    Awesome post, Scott. Really got me fired up for the month I’ll be spending studying abroad in Spain in 9 days. Keep bringing the powerful and wonderful content! I’m a devout reader.

    • Scott says:

      Spain in 9 days! I’m am so envious! Part of my heart will always be out there. Enjoy… You’ll be there during San Fermin too. If you decide to run, I’d start mid way at the corner and take it easy on the partying that morning and the night before ;).

      Que lo pases bien!

  2. Zed Shah says:

    A very inspiring post Scott. On the one hand it kinda made me feel sad, why, because I used to be travel junkie up till 4-5 years ago. A month wouldnt go by without me dusting off my passport, booking a spontaneous flight into the unknown.

    But am happy now as finally I have got my online business to where I want it and it’s only getting better. This is the last year I stay put in the UK (My home), after which I wont be seeing much of this island as i’ll be travelling wherever possible.

    Slight difference now is that I made a comittment to mix travel with business …and do it in style ;-)

    Hope to cross on respective travels my friend

    Peace

    Zed

    • Scott says:

      Not a bad mix! I’d say it’s a worthy transition :).

      And using the passport once a month – that’s what I’m talking about!

  3. Keith Clarke says:

    Hi Scott,

    This is a very inspiring and brilliant article! A jolt that was most definitely needed. I loved this line by the way –

    “You can spend a week in some countries for the cost of what most weekend-waiting job-haters spend on a couple nights out trying to forget who they are.”

    It is about making the right choices and running towards things rather than away from them that will make us happier.

    Thanks for the post

    Keith

    • Scott says:

      It really does all come down to choices and priorities doesn’t it?

      Glad you liked the quote, I was a little hesitant to leave that in…

  4. Annie Andre says:

    Scott,

    Love this post. You explained so vividly the many benefits you received from travel. I am a firm believer in the benefits of travel and the power of time off but find it very difficult to put into words when i tell people why I love living abroad every few years. Or why it was important for me to give them the ability to attend school in France away from their own culture.

    But if i had to try, I think one of the many things or benefits i’ve experienced from travel has been discovering a side of me i didn’t know i had. I have a creative side. Living abroad and spending time away from the rat race opened up my mind to new possibilities which led me to discover that i have this very creative side which I not only enjoy tapping into but which i could potentially be very good at. I’ve always been a numbers person. all my jobs were in the realm of analytic and interpreting numbers. Numbers are exhausting. At least to me they are.
    ps.

    your friends project “The Catalyst Project” sounds very interesting. I think it could help a lot of people who feel trapped or helpless in their current situation..

    • Scott says:

      This is exactly what I’m talking about Annie! You clearly have seen a similar light as I did. I love hearing that!

  5. Well said, great article.

    I would like to add, to those who can’t travel for whatever reason. That you can have the same experiences in your own backyard.

    - Go visit a friend/family in another town for a while
    - Book a cabin in a remote location
    - Drive down a country road and get lost

    Great experiences are under your nose most of the time, you just have to take a chance.

    • Scott says:

      So true. The key is to get out of your normal environment in any way possible. Even renting a hotel or Airbnb in your own town is a huge step. Great point Richard!

  6. Hi Scott,
    I was in Turkey last summer. I strongly recommend you take this 3-day boat trip (with this exact company): http://www.alaturkaturkey.com/index.php?view=fethiye-to-olympos-cabin-cruise-gulet-cruise-turkey. We had a blast and met great people.
    Have a great journey and eat all you can.
    Rebards from Mallorca, Spain.
    Seb

  7. Thruhike98 says:

    Love the first photo. It’s of a place I know well, McAfee’s Knob in SW Virginia. Great article.

  8. As always, great stuff Scott. I appreciate you sharing how travel has personally changed you, it brings home the idea of travel as education to me. I love that you made the point that money is not really what stops people from travel. I think people convince themselves that is the case so they can point to something out of their control as to why they cant travel instead of making it happen. If we remove the excuses then you are right, the only question is where to go! Thanks Scott.

    • Scott says:

      It’s so easy to think of those excuses that are “out of our control”. Those are rarely actually true though.

      So where you off to??

  9. Erick Widman says:

    Ah I love your travel posts. Years ago I re-read Treasure Island and a simple phrase Stevenson used was “the joy of exploration” to describe when they first landed. It makes sense you identify with “exploring” as a key mission and purpose. I’m on the same page.

    And yes I vote as someone interested in a Live-Your-Legend themed travel trip.

    • Scott says:

      Alright- I’ll put you down on the travel list! That will be such a blast once it comes together.

      Im leaving for the airport in 2 hrs. So fired up!

  10. Lois says:

    Very inspiring post Scott! I’ve just taken the plunge myself. I quit my corporate job last year to travel. Upon coming back to the Philippines, I decided to become an entrepreneur. I’ve take the safety off and it’s scary and exciting at the same time. Next month, I’m off to Pamplona to run with bulls and get inspired. Hope to run into you at some point! I love meeting people who are living their passions!

    • Scott says:

      That’s awesome Lois. And like I said to Jordan above… If you decide to run, I’d start mid way at the corner and take it easy on the partying that morning and the night before ;). It’s also nice to go and just watch the running the morning before you run just to see how crazy it is and to strategize. The key is starting at point where you’re in the action but also make it into the arena. I was surprised with how steep the cobble stone path was too.

      No joke, I have never had a crazier more chaotic few minutes of my life.

      Que lo pases muy bien y buena suerte!

  11. Travelling is one of the most amazing experiences one can decide to live.

    I love it when you talk about Sevilla and Pamplona. Beautiful places. I can’t believe you run the bulls. I’m Spanish, I know what it takes to do it :)

  12. Enjoy your time in Turkey! I remember when Tim did his round the world trip he stayed for a month:) I’m sure you’ll have some great insights on this trip as well.

    • Scott says:

      Hey Meghan! Fun to hear you chime in.

      Btw, isn’t Tim pretty much still on that round the world trip?! That guy lives the life ;)

      Hope you’re well in LA! Say hi to everyone for me.

  13. One could ignorantly make another meaning to “Ideas are born through experiences, not sitting at your desk” but i sure agree with your meaning and explanation afterwards.

    Sheyi

  14. Anne Flint says:

    Really enjoyed reading about your adventures and travel experiences. And it is true what you say travel makes us better people and we learn things about other cultures that we don’t usually do when we stay in the same place.
    Excellent articles. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Gonzalo says:

    Hi!

    I’m from Madrid. I’ve read that you’ve been in Spain several times. I read your blog and emails and find them very inspiring. I’m always thinking about how to improve my life, and your writtings are very interestings.
    If you come to Madrid sometime it would be great to meet you. You have a guide here if you want.

    Regards!!!

    • Scott says:

      Well thank you Gonzalo. As it turns out I’ll be in Madrid tomorrow night. But only for about 12 hours. Would have been fun to connect. We are planning a much longer trip out to Spain for the next year or the next though.

  16. Point #3 – We’ve definitely learned that (and from travel as well). Like when my husband went base jumping, and driving through Mexico with our five kids. Things often appear more dangerous than they actually are.

  17. I’m really surprised you visited my country (Portugal)! Awesome :)

    I totally agree with what this article promotes. Travelling for me is like an opportunity to make a pause in my own life, ‘refresh my soul’ (so cliche…) and then kick adversity in the nuts!

    Thanks

    • Scott says:

      I LOVE your country. I have spent enough memories for a lifetime in El Algarve. What am unbelievable place. Cannot wait to go back.

      btw, writing this from my rooftop overlooking Istanbul right now. Not a bad office… :)

      Muito Obrigado!

  18. Ryan H. says:

    What a great post!! This really got me pumped up, it’s been a while since I’ve done any real traveling, and that is something I really want to instil in my new son from an early age – see the world and always keep moving.

    Cheers Scott!

    • Scott says:

      If there were one practice to teach a child to embrace. This very well might be it Ryan. I like how you’re thinking.

  19. Greg Denning says:

    Amen, Amen, Amen! I loved this one Scott. This is exactly why we are constantly traveling the world with our five kids. I want them to learn the lessons that I didn’t even know existed until I was 19 and went to Peru. Real travel, not tourism, is one of the best teachers in life. Let’s all get out and expand our realities and blast past our comfort zones!
    Thanks man.

    • Scott says:

      You are living much more than I am Greg. I love it! It would be awesome for you and Rachel to leave another comment telling the rest of our community about the lifestyle you’re living. You guys up for that??

      Thanks for the inspiration!

  20. Thomas Gonzales says:

    I’m totally new here, but I just wanted to say that I’m stealing this quote from you because I liked it so much:

    “Business is not about what you think will help, but about what others need help with.”

    I like to think of business as producing solutions, and a successful business produces solutions that people value enough to pay for. If you want to have a successful business, you really have to understand what people need help with because solutions to those things are going to be what they value the most.

    I actually work in government currently, but it’s interesting that one of the most problematic things that I see is people pushing for what they think will help. And everyone thinks that that is the only way to come up with solutions: a competition of best guesses.

    I think it’s ironic because trying to guess what will help is really hard, stressful, and exhausting work. It requires a lot of complex reasoning and analysis, whether done mentally or on paper. Asking people what they need help with, on the other hand, is much less stressful, much more rewarding, and leads to much better solutions with fewer unintended consequences. It’s just a little uncomfortable, takes some courage in putting yourself out there, and requires a lot more upfront effort. It also requires not being stuck on the notion that your idea is “right.”

    A conclusion this brings me to is that you could even take the “business” out of it: success, at an individual or organizational level, is about producing solutions that people value.

    I’m not sure if my thought process here is very illuminating for others, but I wanted to thank you for what to me was a brilliant and inspiring statement!

    • Scott says:

      First off welcome to the community and the adventure over here Thomas! I assure you, you are in good company :).

      The reality is that nothing gets produced inside of four walls. No one, I don’t care how experienced or smart you are, knows as much as the customer knows. Building based on their needs makes it a lot harder to fail and saves a fortune in guess work (and un-pulled out hairs). I can only imagine how you’d put this to work if you started building things of your own! No business realization was more powerful than this one, as simple as it is. Build what helps people.

      And I love your modification of the quote! I might borrow that from you if you don’t mind. A rendition of the Golden Rule of sorts…

      Thanks for stopping in and I hope you’ll stick around!

  21. Zac says:

    I recently moved to Medellin, Colombia to persue a career as an internet marketer after having never left the United States in all my life. I’ve been here for a month but I can say coming here has been one of the most important things I have ever done. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to live at home for too long ever again. Home is such a weird concept.

    Connecting with other cultures, learning about people, all of that, it’s just such a rewarding experience. I’m really digging this blog.

  22. Izzy says:

    Travel is crazy powerful. I like how you took your personal experiences and boiled them down to life lessons which connected to you becoming an entrepreneur. Very cool.

    When I travel it forces me out of my comfort zone. This makes me hyper aware of my environment and consequentially my own consciousness. I am always amazed by some of the strange ideas I come up with while travelling. These aren’t strange in a bad way they are strange in a great way.

    Another big bonus of travel is that it has drastically increased my gratitude. When I am exploring a new land in a culture that I cannot fully understand it makes me appreciate the little things back in my home country.

  23. I love a good travel yarn. Have you checked out Aleph by Coelho? It takes place on the trans-siberian railway. I’m stoked to check it out.

  24. saltna says:

    I would like to add, to those who can’t travel for whatever reason. That you can have the same experiences in your own backyard.

  25. Kelly says:

    Scott, I totally relate to your passion for adventure! I started mountain climbing with my husband 8 years ago when I moved across Canada to the Rockies and the confidence I developed as a result (in many areas of life) was amazing. The last 4 years we have been moving between Canada (home), China and now Scotland with our three year old more than climbing, but I think it still serves the same purpose in some ways – going on adventures! I think our parents did assume we’d cancel our move to China when my son was three months old, and it was difficult sometimes, but well worth it.
    I love the quote about looking on your own country as foreign – visiting 4, soon 5 European countries since March has actually left me inspired to learn more about Canada :)
    Now I’m destined to be an entrepreneur…

  26. Alyona says:

    How did you learn it about freedom in Russia, if I may ask? I live here and I’m quite puzzled what do you mean. Did you visit a prison?

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  32. Shadman says:

    Love your passion and posts, Scott! I’m a student who has just arrived in USA after living 7 years in Bangladesh. It has been a real eye-opener and during my trip I have seen how children are so great at connecting, how an airport can be your conference hall/ chat-room and how easy it is to make every small step an adventure!

    I personally love travelling and travelers, I would like to take up your offer;

    “In fact I’ve even toyed with the idea of creating some 1-2 week Live Your Legend adventures throughout the world, for a few eager LYL readers and myself. Anyone want to join?? (I’ll keep you posted).”

    Just bouncing some ideas off but you could make different types of these adventures centered around certain themes, or no theme or for us to imagine or a mystery theme you have in store for us?! Anything is possible and as a 1st time college student I really want to make the most of what I have ahead of me.

    P.S. If you know of anything like Catalyst_Project for College students, that could really help people like me,hey maybe I’ll start one?? :D

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    P.S.S. I’m also finding out about Unschoolery and places like mindvalley and coursera have helped me tons and hopefully much more.

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