Gary Arndt spends his life doing something that is hard for many people to imagine: traveling. Always. The blogger behind the popular travel blog Everything Everywhere (and a regular contributor to The Atlantic's Life channel), he actually doesn't have a permanent residence, although he recently told me that he might start renting a place, just to have somewhere to stay during breaks between trips.
Arndt has been to every U.S. state except South Carolina, every Canadian province except Saskatchewan, every U.S. territory except the U.S. Virgin Islands, every continent except Antarctica, and 86 of the world's 320 countries (as defined by the Travelers' Century Club). Here, he discusses booze cruises, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and his favorite travel app.
What do you say when people ask, "What do you do?"
I tell them I travel around the world, knowing full well that is going to lead to a whole host of other questions. How do you pay for that? Don't you get lonely? What is your favorite place? It is a conversation I enjoy having even though I've had it a million times. What I do is pretty unusual and most people are fascinated by the idea of it.
What new idea or innovation is having the most significant impact on how people are thinking and writing about travel?
I think the answer to that is the same as the answer in almost every part of life: the Internet. What I do wouldn't be possible without the Internet. Most of the flight and hotel booking is all now done by the Internet. Mobile devices are taking this even further by eliminating the need for guidebooks. All the information you need about a location can be found in your pocket.
What's something that most people just don't understand about what you do?
For most average people I meet, they usually ask the questions I outlined above. Paying for it and friends/family are usually the two biggies. Most people think that travel is far more expensive than it really is, and most people have rooted lives, so the idea of always moving is something that is hard for them to relate to.
What's an emerging trend that you think will shake up how people travel?
I have been seeing more and more people take extended trips of several months. I think the economy and a greater realization that stuff isn't going to make you happy has made more people turn to travel. Americans traditionally haven't been a traveling people compared to the Dutch or the British, but I think that is slowly changing.
What's a travel trend that you wish would go away?
I am a big believer that there is no right or wrong way to travel and that any travel is better than no travel. That being said, if party islands in Thailand, all-inclusive spring break drink-fest resorts, and booze cruises went away, I wouldn't complain. I don't begrudge people for having a good time or relaxing when they are on vacation, but there are some spots I've seen that take it way too far and you have to ask why someone spent hundreds or thousands of dollars to travel somewhere just to wind up face down in their (or someone else's) vomit.