Jeff's blog

Who’s Out There Now? It’s Spencer

Written By: jeff

Posted On: February 22nd, 2011

career break travel adventures

Spencer Calling Home? Copyright

In this week’s ¨Who’s Out There Now¨ feature, we bring to you Spencer, aka The Traveling Philosopher. A true southern gentleman, Spencer’s recently taken his charm and wit on the international road.  Currently in Central America, he’s looking toward the UK come springtime.  His site offers strong opinions, perspective and healthy dose of witty quirk.

1. So, where in the world are you answering these questions?

I am answering it from a beach bar in Coco, Costa Rica.

2. So, explain the meaning of the name of your site? How does it link to your style of travel?

I’m actually terrible at coming up with site names, and the name is the result of a Gchat conversation with a friend of mine. While I enjoy the places I see, it’s more of the conversations and experiences that are long-lasting. Travel is very contemplative for me and the more I travel, the more I realize the less I really know about life.

3. So, how’s your Spanish and how thick is your southern accent in Spanish?

It’s not great. I can ask questions and usually respond with broken Spanish. However, I was encouraged when I was mistaken today for Canadian.

career break travel adventures

Spencer at Red Rock Canyon. Copyright

4. Somehow I missed your post “What the Price Is Right and Plinko Taught Me About Travel.” As someone who can be found daily on the Price Is Right game on Facebook, I can appreciate the comparison. Does the fact that your travel schedule is so random reflect something about you or the nature of travel?

I lived a carefully planned life for all but the last year of my life, and it didn’t get me very far. These days I like the “plinko” style of life I’ve chosen. There is no method and it’s completely spontaneous and that’s how I like it. It may drive friends and family crazy, but there’s a certain rush from it.

5. Beyond that post, you have a lot of similar posts like 10 Things Traveling Through Central America Has Taught Me, and What I learned From Burger King.  Are you intentionally looking for lessons learned in the most unlikely places?

Again, it’s just all very spontaneous. It’s not that I’m trying to find these lessons, but they find me. Plus, I love it when other travelers can similarly relate beyond the typical travel cliches.

career break travel adventures

Spencer at a volcano in Costa Rica. Copyright

6. So you recently started dabbling in video. Why and what do you want to achieve with it?

Hm, that’s a good question, and one I’m not sure I have the answer for. I also recently bought a DSLR. While travel writing is my passion, I like to consider myself a storyteller. I think videos and photos offer an element to storytelling that words may not quite achieve.

7. Career break, nomadic adventure, backpacking, how do you characterize your trip?

I would probably call myself a digital nomad. While I travel via backpack, I don’t really feel like I fit the classification of a backpacker. I’m more of a slow traveler. I’m spending a couple months in each place I travel.

8. What are some of the secrets to travel that you’ve discovered that you think more people who aren´t traveling should know?

Now if I shared my secrets, they wouldn’t be secrets anymore now would they? While I love guidebooks, I only use them to a certain point. It’s more of a map for me. I recommend that people use it to give them some direction, but try to learn enough of a language to at least get by and depend on local’s recommendations. I’ve rarely been let down by locals, but guidebooks have left something to be desired at times.

career break travel adventures

Spencer as Don Quijote? Copyright

9. What was your first ¨We’re not in Kansas anymore¨ moment?

After pulling an all nighter the day after Christmas, I was catching some sleep on the van ride from the San Jose Airport to Coco when I was woken up by the driver swerving and slamming on brakes. I raised up my hat and looked over the seat to see a family of iguanas crossing the road.

10. What´s been your most ¨local¨ experience so far?

Eating fried plantains. I’ve never had a desire to eat them, but it’s my favorite thing to now eat in Central America.

11. What has been your most embarrassing moment?

Not knowing the colones/dollar rate before going grocery shopping.

12. What´s your secret for getting the most out of your journey?

Don’t follow where the crowds go, instead follow the locals. They’re often going to that place away from the tourists spots that has no website, guidebook entry, and maybe not even a sign.

career break travel adventures

Spencer on a boat in Nicaragua. Copyright

13. Finally, our lightening round.

  • Best dish you’ve found so far: Fried plantain
  • Most exotic food eaten: Alligator tail
  • Most breathtaking moment: Catarina Viewpoint overlooking Apoyo Lagoon
  • Biggest disappointment: Not being able to find a good burger.
  • Most memorable place: Hermosa Beach
  • Most memorable person: Marvin, my Costa Rica tour guide.
  • Best thing to have on a long bus ride: Swedish Fish
  • Worst thing to have on a long bus ride: The runs
  • Best thing you packed: Pen and notebook
  • Dumbest thing you packed: Pair of pants
  • Funniest travel habit you have: Taking photos of cliché travel items i.e. fannypack
  • Place you wish you could’ve stayed longer: Lake Nicaragua

You can follow Spencer online at TheTravelingPhilosopher, and on Twitter  @spencerspellman

Every week, Career Break Secrets profiles a different traveler or traveling couple who are embracing the ¨Because Life Is Out There TM¨ travel spirit.  These are people who have taken the plunge to embark on a career break and are currently traveling the world.

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3 Responses to “Who’s Out There Now? It’s Spencer”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sherry Ott, BriefcasetoBackpack. BriefcasetoBackpack said: Via @CareerBrkSecret Who’s Out There Now? It’s Spencer – In this week’s ¨Who’s Out There Now¨ feature, we brin… [...]

  2. Mmmmm fried plantain! This quickly became one of my favorite things from Central America :) Great interview — enjoyed it!
    Brooke vs. the World recently posted..Day 53- Tours for Under 35′sMy ComLuv Profile

  3. Thanks Jeff for featuring me. Such a fun interview!
    Spencer Spellman recently posted..What Living Abroad Has Taught MeMy ComLuv Profile

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