Be flexible, go with the flow and let the world roll over you
Michael Hodson was a lawyer in the States for about 10 years when he decided to close it all down, pack up and attempt to circle the globe without flying in late 2008. Sixteen months, six continents, and forty-four countries later, he succeed…. and just kept going. His adventures can be followed on his blog, Go See Write, on his YouTube page, Facebook and Instagram. We were curious to learn more about how he succeeded in such an adventurous mission, and that's why we've interviewed him.
1. How long has your blog been up and running? Was there any particular reason why you named it "Go See Write”?
I started blogging in 2008. In the beginning it was just mainly for family and friends, but I got a lot more serious in 2010 and have been a professional since that year. The name is just what it sounds like. I go places, see them, then write about them. Then again, now I am doing a lot more video, so I suppose it should be more Go, See, Video now!
2. How do you fund your travel?
Right now I primarily do three things. First, I do a lot of video production for clients such as the Four Seasons, Cox & Kings tours, and more. I really love making videos and it has been my primary focus. I also do some freelance writing, and I organize and run blog trips and YouTube marketing and promotional trips for destinations and clients.
3. Who is the most inspiring person you’ve met on the road?
Off the top of my head, I would have to say Jaume Marin, who runs the Costa Brava Tourism Board in Spain, which is a place that is near and dear to my heart. He’s inspiring for his love and full embrace of life, and also of where he lives. I try to get back to that part of the world at least a couple times a year and Jaume never fails to put a big smile on my face. He is always energetic and in a good mood and has such a positive and caring life outlook.
4. What's the most useful travel expression for you? In how many languages can you translate it?
Thank you is the nicest thing you can learn in any language. I have probably said those words in 30-40 languages, but I’m not sure I could remember more than 4-5 right offhand. But it is is the first phrase I try to learn anywhere I go. That being said, I am answering these questions in Turkey and for the life of me I cannot pronounce it in Turkish. I still have another week to get it right though.
5. Is there something you can’t travel without?
Well, I can’t travel without my computer and my cameras because then I couldn’t get any work done. But on a more personal note, I can’t travel without my mini-iPad. It has my books on it, my music, and my podcasts. The way I travel, with long overland trips all the time, requires me to have something to occupy my time, as I stare out the windows and enjoy the scenery going by.
6. What are the best qualities of your travel mate? And his/her worst flaws?
Flexibility is the key for me. I can’t travel with someone that has to have things their own way all the time, since things are always going to be new and unique and different out there. If you don’t have the personality to go with the flow a bit, let the experiences of the world roll over you without complaint and with some wonder in your heart, I really have no desire to travel with you. Also, if you can’t handle silence and have the need to fill every gap during the day with chatter… just stay away from me.
7. Do you have any bizarre travel rituals?
Good question. I don’t think so. The oddest one I can think off offhand is that every time I go through an airport metal detector, I have to tap the inside of the detector with my fingers as I walk through. I suppose it is a mild good luck charm. It’s worked so far, so I guess I shouldn’t complain.
8. Based on your traveling experience, what would be your best tip for a newbie traveler?
Fewer set plans in advance. This is advice I give almost everyone, no matter how much they have traveled. So many times, the best things that happen on a trip happen with free time and without plans. You meet some cool people at a hostel or bar and you decide to go with them to another nearby town the next day and make lifelong friends. Or a local tells you about a sight you’d never heard of and you are able to go see it. Enjoy the spontaneity of the road and don’t assume you should have plans for every minute of every day from the moment you book the trip on your computer at home.
9. What’s the biggest realization that you’ve got out of your traveling?
The world is such a massive, massive place. If you are flying everywhere, I think you lose that realization, but the way I travel, I experience it all the time. When I got home from New Zealand to Philadelphia via cargo freighter a few years ago, it took 22 days to get there. The Pacific Ocean is simply massive. From northern Zambia to Dar es Salaam on the coast in Tanzania was 3 days by train. From Moscow to Beijing was 6 days straight through by train. The world is wonderful, amazing, and huge.