I visited 27 countries last year within the confines of a corporate job.

Exploring the Middle Ground

When it comes to exploring our lovely planet, two disparate “archetypes” (or personas, if you will) emerge as being highly prominent. Most of us are one of these:

 1. The Corporate “Suit” — This person understands the value of commitment to a career — of hard work, accomplishment, and a fat 401K. They may have considered the impulse of travel before, but only as a whimsical thought, far beyond immediate grasp. This person has 2 weeks of paid vacation per year — and they use it to jet to the Caribbean and “unwind”, an occasional ski weekend, or rowdy bachelor/bachelorette party. Travel is not a priority, and doesn't seem to fit in the cards. I’ve been this person.
2. The Backpacking Vagabond — The recluse traveler on an endless journey — seeing the world, smelling the sights, and getting the free t-shirts. This person has put life at home on hold, is traveling light, and living as absolutely cheaply as possible (think cooking pasta and hostels). They chastise friends and family back home who (they critique) are grinding it out in the “real world”, working 9–5 and chasing the proverbial carrot on a stick. I’ve been this person too.

While most tend to gravitate towards one of these two extremes, there IS a middle ground, a compromise. It’s a wonderful place to be, and I’ll show you how to get there.

For this project, over a series of interviews, I’ll highlight friends and folks I’ve met that epitomize this middle ground — and make travel + work meld in coexistence that manages risk, and allows exploration of our beautiful planet. 

The plight of the travelers paradox is no more — let’s explore the middle ground together! (And if you're part of this middle ground - e-mail me so we can share your story, and tips!)

A little about me:

I’ve spent the last year or so of my life traveling near and far (but mainly far) — all the time while employed by a massive Fortune 100 company. I made it to 27 countries — most for work, some for pleasure — armed only with the camera on my cracked iPhone 4S to record these incredible places, and a meager attempt at an Instagram account (follow me! @kurlington).

I’ve explored small wondrous villages in rural China, made it to the North Korean border, and driven through the mountains of Oman — white sand beaches in Abu Dhabi, rainforest hiking in Colombia, night clubs in Roppongi Hills of Tokyo, and even dove in the Red Sea in forgotten Saudi Arabia. In the same waking breath, I’ve stayed in a luxurious 5 star resort, and shared a dorm in a hostel with sand flies. Flown across the world 1st class, and two days later found myself on a 6 hour bumpy bus ride in the Guatemalan mountains with a Mayan woman on my lap. Presented in boardrooms, and been invited for tea under a dock. I live a life of dichotomy — of dual purpose — and would not have it any other way.

See the top 50 photos of my adventures in 27 countries in the last year here: http://imgur.com/a/iFlFH

Sneak preview of additional examples include: 

(1) a former colleague who’s left consulting to be a videographer on several around-the-world journeys, (2) a college friend living the life of a digital nomad entrepreneur, and (3) a plane companion who spent his corporate career traveling for business & pleasure, partially while based in Hong Kong.

 

Jeremy runs www.travelgenome.com, focused on exploring how to make travel meld with work and life, and making data-driven, intelligent travel recommendations based on interests and budget. He has a background in Strategy Consulting, with a focus on Emerging Markets. You can contact him at jeremy@travelgenome.com

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