Curiosity Killed the Cat but not this Traveller: Brent Curry
Have you ever been so curious about something that you would ditch your once a dream job, a promising future, your family and friends to simply find out what is this all about?
The moment I met Brent, in Israel, I knew there was something different about him. Something more than just another full-time traveller. When you decide to travel you will meet loads of people doing the same. Suddenly the travel things around you will start to look normal, but you will still find a few that will stand out, and that where Brent is standing in my point of view.
This is Brent’s current travel statistics:
|Spent per day||$29.37 (excluding the flights)|
|Distance travelled||11,4,113 miles (183,638 kilometres) enough for 4.6 revolutions around the Earth|
What is your name, age, and where are you from?
My name is Brent Curry, 37 years old, from Ohio, USA (but lived in Hawaii before traveling).
When did you start travelling?
I left on September 3, 2015
Like any other travellers, what is your reason for leaving home?
It has always been my dream, to see the world, but I realised one day that I should quit dreaming and start doing it. I wanted to do it while I was still “young” and in good health. I have friends who talk about traveling when they retire, but you never know, anything can happen. I hope I do too. Double-decker tour buses, nice hotels, fancy restaurants, planes, resorts, the whole bit. However, I also wanted to travel in the true backpacker style. Sleeping on floors and couches, 30-hour bus rides, eating questionable street food, partying with 20-somethings, climbing mountains and all the stuff I probably won’t be doing at age 65.
I was simply curious about the world. I used to host people on Couchsurfing and I met people doing around-the-world trips, but they were fresh out of college or taking a year off. I thought, “great for them, I wish I would have thought of that then but now I’m an adult and I have responsibilities.” Until one day, I hosted a 35-year-old Polish girl who quit her job. chucked her possessions and was on a world trip. I thought, “if she can do it, why can’t I?” That’s how it started.
Did your reason change in a way whilst on the road?
It has never changed. I got more and more curious. I had this idea that I could check things off my “bucket list” but the reality is that for every item you check off you add four more places you didn’t know about before. On this trip, I loved attractions, cities and even nations that I didn’t know existed when I left home.
You’ve travelled for so long, how did you manage to fund this? Most people saved money or worked whilst travelling, did you do anything differently?
It’s my life savings. I came back to the US with less than $100. I had a decent job back in Hawaii, but when I decided to do this I had a lot of credit card debt which took about a year and a half to pay off. After that, I was happy that I was debt free, but still, I had no money to travel. It took me another two years to save. I really buckled down in those 3.5 years. I quit going out as much, got rid of my iPhone, sold my car and got a bus pass, didn’t buy anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary and didn’t travel much. Overall, I was able to save about 55% of each paycheck which isn’t easy in a place like Hawaii. Thankfully the beach and the mountains are free so that was my recreation.
My original plan was to be on the road for 14 months, but during my preparation, I overestimated my budget by a lot. I decided I probably would spend $60 a day but in reality, I spent less than half of that. You can easily spend $60 if you want but you don’t have to. I was gone for 30 months, so I overestimated my budget by about half. The real key to staying on the road a long time is living cheaply.
I couchsurfed in some places and did a few volunteer jobs to save money on accommodation and food but that was a small part of the overall picture.
What do you love most about travelling?
The experiences in every place: people, food, nature, beer. I love the feeling of just walking in a strange place where I don’t understand the language and not knowing what will be around each corner. The sights, smells and sounds are intoxicating to me. You can easily purchase a guidebook or read online but I usually didn’t do that. I especially tried to avoid pictures of places I was going to go. I wanted to see places and find out things my own way.
What is the worst?
– Saying goodbye. Although it happened almost every day I never get used to it. I met literally thousands of cool people, some we only hung out for a few hours, some for a few days and a few for weeks or months. All taught me something and added to this experience. Seeing a lion or visiting a world wonder is great but the people you meet are the real story. I got the contact info for a lot of them and hope to see them again one day. Some just faded into memories. I’ve even changed my travel plans a couple of times because I didn’t want to say goodbye or to meet others again.
Did you ever feel like it’s time to stop travelling? Before now?
There was one time I seriously considered going home and giving up. I was in Ankara, Turkey in February 2016 when a terrorist attack happened. A bomb exploded about 200-300 metres away from me while I was eating dinner. I wasn’t hurt but what I saw that night rattled me, 28 people died and 61 were wounded. I’ve never seen chaos like that before or since. I was never as scared. I was Couchsurfing at the time and I didn’t go outside the entire next day, I was worried and started looking at flights back home. I was asking myself, “is this worth it?”
The next day, I felt better. Things were going back to normal and I thought, “what are the odds of being in TWO terrorist attacks?” After that, I decided to keep going and never looked back. I headed to Eastern Turkey and then onto Iraq.
Do you think it’s necessary to travel?
No, it is a preference. You can be successful, happy, educated and live a good life and have never left your home country. Would their life be better if they travelled? It has made mine better but people have different interests.
If yes, how would you persuade someone who wants to travel but full of doubts?
Trust your gut. I was all in on this plan for years and then in the last weeks, I was second guessing myself. “What if I get a raise/promotion at work? What if this girl I have a crush on likes me? What if I can’t find a job after? What if my favourite football team wins the championship and I miss it? Why would someone give up a stable life in Hawaii?” All were just stupid excuses for me. I gave myself a little insurance against turning back because I paid for a lot in advance. I spent around $5,000 USD before I stepped on a plane. I booked my flight 11 months before the departure, I got all the vaccinations and prescriptions I needed, as I was headed to Brazil I needed a visa, I purchased a year travel insurance. I already spent too much, so I couldn’t back out.
How about a tip to someone who is just about to set on a big trip, maybe want to do the same as you?
Do your trip. Not mine. Not anyone else’s. With social media, it seems like travel is a competition these days. You need to go to these certain places and get a selfie. You need to travel longer or to more places than the next guy. It is all crap. Enjoy every day regardless of what “must see” you missed or what other people are doing. Even if you are the “best,” no one really cares. You won’t get a gold medal after returning home. A practical tip? Get the vaccination(s) at your destination, it is 10x cheaper!
How did you keep track with your statistics?
Different ways. For the budget, I recorded every day on an excel sheet on Google Docs, I made sure to keep track of every transaction by the day. I uploaded my photos on Flickr which counted them for me. I tracked all the beers with the Untappd App. I tracked the cities, countries, and the distance on a site called travellerspoint.com So, everything was in the “cloud” if ever I lost my phone or tablet.
What is the next plan?
Job, I need a job. Do you know anyone? (laughing) I am a traveler so the journey is never over just on pause. See you all down the trail!
I literally talked over the phone with Brent for over an hour! I’m not only impressed with this guy, I am totally inspired. One of my favourite line that he said is “One dream has to die for another to start.” Referring to the fact that it was his dream to live in Hawaii but then he gave that up to travel.
Follow more of Brent’s story at WhereBrent.