As part of our goal to make life easier for bus travelers, we keep in touch with travelers who’ve had firsthand experiences around the world. Last time, we featured Miro & Lainie from Raising Miro. Today, we’re happy to feature Gary Arndt from Everything Everywhere.
Gary Arndt sold his house in 2007 and have been traveling around the world ever since. He’s visited all 7 continents, over 116 countries and territories around the world, all 50 US states, 9/10 Canadian provinces, every Australian state and territory, over 125 US National Park Service sites and over 180 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In 2010, Time Magazine named Everything Everywhere one of the Top 25 Blogs in the World.
1. Where are you now, and what’s your next destination?
I am writing this in a bus station in Liberia, Costa Rica. I’ll be heading to San Jose in an hour and tomorrow I hope to visit my 192nd UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Talamanca mountain range. Next week I’ll be heading to northern Canada to the Yukon.
2. You’ve traveled over 7 continents and visited over 116 countries. How do you keep travel interesting and exciting?
There is always something more to learn. You can spend your entire life traveling and never run out of new things to learn and experience. The Earth is much larger than any human lifetime.
3. You’ve got a great travel photography ebook that everyone should dowload. I was especially touched by the Red Shirt Protester in Bangkok, and the Kids in Canoe at Rennell Island. Can you share your photography process— do you set out to capture moments, or let them come to you spontaneously?
It all depends. Both of those images have interesting stories behind them.
The photo of the red shirt protester took place in Bangkok in 2010. There were huge political protests taking place in Bangkok while I was there. I went down to the main protest area several times to meet and photograph the protesters. One day they were going to hold a rally at the Prime Minister’s home which was only a block from where I was staying. I went down with my camera and was between about 10,000’s protesters and maybe 1,000 police in riot gear. It started to rain and all the other photographers took shelter. I had an umbrella with me, so I stood out in the middle of the street and took the photo of the single man standing in front of the police. It is one of my favorite images.
The photo I took on Rennell just happened. The Solomon Islands is a country which gets very few tourists. Rennell Island is off the main archipelago and gets maybe 100 tourists per year. East Rennell is a 20 mile drive from the airstrip (which is just grass) over coral. During that 20 mile trip we had 8 flat tires. At the end of the road is a large lake you then have to cross. I was told they get about 10 tourists a year in this part of the island. One day I visited one of the villages on the lake and the kids in the village had a blast following me around. When I left by boat, they hopped in a canoe to follow me, waving their arms the entire time. The photo I took was my parting shot of the kids as I left.
Great photos can happen at any time. Sometimes you can plan for it and sometimes they happen unexpectedly.
4. In yesterday’s blog post, you mentioned taking the bus in Costa Rica, and how confusing the bus system can be because there is no central bus depot. What do you think of Busbud’s mission, which is to gather the world’s bus travel information? Would this type of information help your readers in their travels?
Absolutely. In many countries such as Costa Rica and the Philippines, the bus system is very distributed. There are many different bus companies which run different routes from different places in each city. There isn’t necessarily a central bus station. There is also seldom any signage to tell you where to go. The more information you have, the easier your life will be.
5. Can you share a memorable bus travel story with us?
I took a bus in Egypt from Luxor to Suez which went up along the Red Sea. The bus was so dilapidated that spent most of it sitting on a spare tire. I’ve never counted the number of countries I’ve traveled by bus in, but it is certainly a big number. Even in some countries with an extensive train system, I often end up taking a bus because it is cheaper and just as fast.
6. Finally, there are many random facts about you that people are surprised to discover, like the fact that you are a part owner of an NFL franchise, and you also have a huge collection of magazines and DVDS. For Busbud readers who hesitate to take on a long-term travel trip because they’d be leaving behind so much “stuff”, what advice would you give them?
Stuff can be replaced. The actual act of getting rid of much of your stuff is actually a rather therapeutic experience. Once you spend an extended amount of time living out of a bag, you realize just how little you need to actually get by. Most of what you need can be put into storage and it will be waiting for you when you get back.
Photos by Gary Arndt at Everything Everywhere