Hello, my name is Ian.
And I’m very excited to meet you.
L et me be the first to welcome you to ‘The Spur Trail’! If you’re not sure what that means head on over to the Start Here page and you’ll find the super story behind it all. Here I will tell you all about myself, how I came to travel, what I’ve done in my life, where I was conceived…ok probably not all of that but we’ll dig into a little history I promise.
I grew up in a small, rural Minnesota town. If you can, imagine a place where there are no stop lights. A place where the few stores we have are closed by 6pm. A town where possibly the coolest thing, is the house covered with earth & grass. Later in life I would return as a substitute teacher and roll down that house’s hillside with my 4th grade students. On at least one occasion a student road a horse to school and tied it in the pasture across the highway. We performed musicals in the Cafetorium. That’s theatre talk for Cafeteria/Auditorium. I mention all of this because even though I grew up hearing about the outside world, here in my comfortable little town it didn’t seem all that real.
Theatre set everything in motion. I don’t know if I’d say I had a shell, but acting broke me out of something. After my first performance I joined everything I could, not just theatre. I went from participating in almost nothing to just about everything. I was hooked on meeting people, activities that got me out of school, and performing. Some of the groups I joined included trips to Anaheim, Chicago, and Minneapolis. Something about meeting people from other places was very cool to me.
I went to college to pursue Music Theatre. Let’s imagine (because I don’t remember specifically) I was on my way to my 8am ballet class. I happened to walk past a table full of pamphlets, each with a different country on it. In that moment I knew I had to study abroad somewhere. I would settle on a full year, leaving for Norway the fall of 2006. After a semester in Oslo, I would backpack through Europe and return home for a week to turn 21. Then I would repack because things were going to be a bit different down in Brisbane, Australia. I would study photography for my second semester.
When I returned, I don’t think I had realized the impact of the reverse culture shock. I had experienced a great many new things, seen a ton of new places, and couldn’t share it with anyone. Back at school there were two years worth of new students and theatre had lost the shimmer. With just over a year left, quitting seemed stupid and switching majors felt too much like starting over. I stuck it out and though I tried, I had realized my passions were with a different medium. Travel, adventure, photography was all I thought about, and somehow I decided my first job after university should be a janitor in Antarctica.
There are many travelers out in the world, and many ways to do it. You can travel indefinitely, or extremely long-term. Some people are weekend warriors that have regular full-time jobs. This blog isn’t going to teach you how to do any one thing. It’s going to open you up to ways to include travel into your life, whoever you are. From me you will learn of a style that is perhaps unique, exciting and rarely glamorous. You will integrate travel into your life on a deeper level beyond simply visiting landmarks. You will learn how to collect experiences, alter the way you see the world, and be able to do it all over and over again.
Travel is a drug. It’s my cocaine.
I like to think I came up with that analogy on my own, driving down some highway through Montana or something. When you have that kind of time to reflect, you discover yourself. Or regain consciousness and wonder where the hell you are. It used to be I got an amazing high just stepping off the plane, meeting someone new at the hostel, seeing a landmark I’d always heard about. In my early thirties that has changed a bit, as now I need more to get the same high. Lately I’m finding more zest in making connections. Witnessing life as people do it day to day. Returning to places I’ve been before!
My experiences are not my own to keep. The glory of travel is that it makes us better people, and opens our minds. But that’s no good if I’m the only one who knows about it.
So here we are. Please come along with me, and enjoy the variety of insanity that accompanies me on the road. From helpful information and firsthand reviews and recommendations, to hilarious accounts of this, that and the other thing. I’ll take pictures, share my secrets, and most importantly inspire you to get out and see a couple of spur trails along the way. What are you waiting for?