Good morning from Hanoi, Vietnam!
Today is May 24, 2016. That means I've been alive for a quarter-of-a-century. Damn, that's a crazy thought.
But it's not that crazy, really. Time goes fast. I still feel like I am 18 years old, and I'll always feel that way.
As a new 25 year old, I feel like I've packed in as many life experiences as possible. And I just can't stop.
All I want to do is travel.
For the better part of the last 4 years -- since I studied abroad in Prague -- I've been living and traveling overseas. I've been to 77 countries and more than 200 cities, extensively covering Europe, Asia and parts of the Middle East.
Travel has changed me in more ways than I ever imagined.
Learning new languages, immersing myself into foreign places and discovering the unique lifestyles of the world has been the most valuable education I've ever had. More valuable than anything I learned in college.
Travel has showed me that the world is, in fact, a very safe place. It has showed me that everyone on this planet has the same wants and needs -- to love and be loved, to have food and shelter, and to maintain close relationships with their family and friends.
I'm addicted to the eye-opening, authentic experiences that I've discovered through visiting foreign cultures.
I can't tell you how rewarding it was to trek through the villages in Vanuatu and witness how their daily life unfolds. I met these local kids in a park who taught me how to play cricket, while we were only able communicate with body language.
I loved the feeling when I was lost in Tokyo all by myself, without a map or a phone, and I had to figure out how to navigate around the city, all while taking in the sights and smells.
Or that time I was lost in the most bizarre sandstorm in Jaisalmer, India, and these two locals picked me up in their car and took me to my hotel.
Trying to communicate with another human being who I have nothing in common with (language, race, religion, ethnicity, beliefs, etc) has become normal for me.
Discovering impoverished cultures has taught me to appreciate the things I have. And it has also proven to me that happiness is in no way dependant on money. Some of the biggest smiles I've ever seen were on the faces of people that I met inside the small villages of Myanmar and Cambodia. These people don't have electricity and they don't know what a cold shower feels like -- but I could see happiness in their eyes.
Stepping out of my comfort zone has led me to be a more confident, comfortable person. I was scared of heights until I went bungy jumping for the first time in Switzerland in 2012. Since then, I've been skydiving in Australia and bungy jumping 5 more times in all different countries.
Within 3 years after graduating college, I have built this lifestyle for myself and turned traveling into a career. It's virtually impossible for me to go back home to live a routine life, like most of my friends are currently living.
I say this with absolutely no offense to all of my dear friends out there who are working corporate jobs (I love you guys) -- but rather, I am saying that the "corporate life" or living the "American Dream" is not for me. I cannot see myself working in a cubicle, with a boss telling me what to do while having a monthly rent of $2K. That life is not for me.
I'd much rather couchsurf on someone's floor in Kiev, Ukraine - and share travel stories over a glass of local beer and borshch (meat & vegetable soup). Likewise, I'd rather witness some of the most spectacular buildings on our planet.
That being said, I do think it takes a certain person to do what I'm doing- because it's a risky and unstable life.
Although I have been to 77 countries since 2012, I feel like I'm just getting started. There are still so many places in the world that I haven't seen. I've never stepped foot on South American or African soil (except Egypt). I am hoping to visit 100 countries before I turn 27.
Some of the most common questions I get are, "But HOW do you do it? Don't you miss home?"
Yes, I miss home a lot. I miss spending time with my family and friends. I miss playing and watching sports. I miss the convenience of living in the USA.
But truthfully, I am very good at staying in touch with the important people of my life, and the internet makes it easier than ever to do so.
If I was born 10 years earlier, and I was writing this article in 2006, then I doubt I could live this lifestyle. I can't imagine travelling without Skype, Facebook, Snapchat, What's App, Instagram, Facetime, and all the other means of communication.
I am thankful that the timing was just right to be a travel blogger and Snapchatter for a living. I am a firm believer in the phrase "When preparation meets opportunity, that's when luck happens."
If you really want to know "How I did this" at age 25, my answer is simple.
Hard work and patience.
Through hard work and patience, I have created this life for myself -- along with capitalizing on the opportunities that I've reached out to find.
I'm confident that nearly everyone reading this right now has the ability to do what I am doing, because you are likely educated to a higher degree and you have access to the internet (which 2/3rd of the world doesn't have). You have to put in the hours to get what you want (whatever it is). Go out there and find the opportunities.
The thing that kicked everything off for me was starting my travel blog back in 2013, on the first day when I moved to Korea to teach English.
Since day 1, I have put in literally thousands of hours writing articles, building up my social media presence, networking with other travelers, pitching myself to companies, answering every email and comment, learning how to make/edit videos, fixing website errors - and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
For the last 6 months, I've been heavily focused on growing my Snapchat (@drewbinsky), as it has proven to be the best way to connect & engage with my audience. On Snapchat, I have collaborated with brands such as Lonely Planet, Elite Daily, Tripit and more.
My work is an ongoing process. There's always something I can be working on to put myself in a better position. There is always somebody new that I can be introducing myself to.
If you thought that I sit around all day and post an Instagram photo, then you are flat out wrong. I spend an average of 6 hours a day on my computer and 4 hours on my phone, no matter which country I am visiting.
Why am I writing this post?
My goal in writing this article, and doing everything that I do, is to be an inspiration for you to follow your dreams, because you CAN do it if you TRY.
I'm just a regular guy from Arizona. I am not a best-selling author. I don't have a #1 hit song being released, or a movie coming out on the red carpet of Hollywood.
If you takeaway one thing from reading this, then please let it be there are no shortcuts to success. You must work hard if you want to live your dream job, whatever that may be (an NBA player, a doctor, a hotel manager, etc).
Are you willing to put in the work? If so, then I'm excited to see where your future is heading!
So what's next for me?
As mentioned, I am planning to keep traveling as much as I can. I will be at home (in the states) for most of June before heading off to my first trip to South America. I am planning to visit Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina.
Thanks for reaching, and feel free to join my adventures on Snapchat @drewbinsky. I'd love to hear from you!
Simply open up Snapchat and take a photo of my Snapcode below to add me: