Today’s interview with a perpetual traveler features Charlie Grosso ofSpyTravelogue. You can also find her About page here atcharliegrosso.com and that will lead you to some of her other ventures in art, photography, writing and consulting.
Could you please tell us about yourself?
A 140 character bio reads something like this:
Art Gallery Director. Brand Consultant. Photographer. Adventurer. Writer. Possible Spy. Drove Across the World in a Tiny Car. Fearing Less Loving More. Only fitting I live under an alias.
I have a background as an advertising photographer and a creative director before I fully embrace the unconventional life I now live.
Currently I am the executive director of a roaming gallery in NYC. I write for various travel outlets when I am on the road. I am addicted to adventure and I seek out it out as frequently as possible, including being the only woman to complete The Mongol Rally alone in 2012.
I have been working on a long term documentary project called, Wok the Dog, about food markets around the world and I will finish the shooting portion of it this year.
Why did you decide to start travelling?
I don’t think there was a moment that I decided to travel. I did my first solo trip when I was 20, Europe on a EuroRail Pass. Nothing too out of the ordinary but the hunger for more set in ever since.
What keeps me on the road is a sense of love and curiosity. I want to see the world. I want to engage in it, be a part of it, and participate. I want to bring you stories back from out there so you would go see it for yourself.
How long have you been travelling?
I’ve been actively traveling for 15 years now.
What’s your favourite country, and why?
Ha! That is a tough question and I think one most frequent travelers hate. The easy answer, where I have not been.
What’s been your most memorable experience?
The things that really stick in my mind are the people that I meet. There has been no shortage of adventures, from The Mongol Rally and my teammates quitting on me and going it alone to being kidnapped in Morocco to buses filled w/ counterfeit goods crossing boarders to hitching a ride in the middle of the night in Colombia. It is seldomly just the event alone that makes it memorable but the characters that help fill out the plot line. My teammates and their individual temperament that lead to them quitting. Fellow ralliers that fills my heart with joy and the connect we share, the sense of camaraderie. Michele the Romanian judge who was on the bus filled w/ counterfeit goods and the cab ride we shared afterwards. The man who kidnapped me in Morocco is actually an ex-lover of a friend’s friend.
The good, the bad…..all the stories are made better because of the people who played a part in it and it is the people that I meet on the road that is always my favorite and makes the largest impact. Occasionally, I meet another part of myself and that is pretty remarkable too.
What’s your average cost of travel per week?
That really depends on the country I am in and what is going on. I’ve lived on $30 a day in Central America. I try to keep it very in-expensive.
What do you do to earn money?
I work as a freelance brand consultant which is something I can do from the road. The art gallery is growing and it is starting to sustain me.
What do you like and dislike about your lifestyle choice?
The uncertainty is something most people find challenging. There is no guarantee or certainty to be had and embracing the unknown as hard or as far as we do is not easy. There are moments when I question my choice and wonder if life would be easier if I stayed in advertising or just did one thing or gone the predictable path. However, I feel like I am actively living my life instead of just existing and counting down the days. Feeling absolutely alive as frequently as I do is something that I would not trade.
How has it changed you?
I worry a little less, fear less.
What advice would you offer people who are thinking about doing the same thing?
I wish this was a video interview…so you can see the look on my face. Ha! You mean, to go traveling or to live multiple lives at the same time?
Either way, don’t think too hard about it is what I would say. Thinking just gets in the way and this is the advice from someone who has a PhD in over-thinking everything. Everyone I know who now lives on the road and are a perpetual traveler started out on a 3 month – 1 year trip and decided they didn’t want to return to their lives. I am one of the few who decided to come back and live a double life. The re-entry and the next exit is always hard but it gets better with time. What you learn from being on the road is that you can’t really plan these things. You figure it out as you go and so figure it out as you go. Trust it and don’t let fear dictate how you live your life.
Charlie, thank you so much for your time in responding to this interview, it’s really appreciated.
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