After coming across Bjorn on Instagram (@gentontheloose) and discovering his awesome photos and the epic adventure he is on to become the youngest Swede to visit every country and state, we thought we have to chat with him. Bjorn provided some fantastic answers to our questions, truly inspiring.
Be sure to keep up with his adventures on his blog and see if he reaches his goal!
1. When did you decide to turn your life to travel?
I used to be a motivational speaker and comedian and I usually traveled many times a month to different cities. I was doing brief visits, but the more I was traveling, the more I knew that the travels were what made me look forward to what I was doing, not the work itself. I then discovered I had a lot of bonus points and got hooked on getting to know how to turn every penny to an even bigger hotel-and frequent flyer point balance so that I could travel for free.
- What does travel give you that everyday life doesn’t?
A reminder that the world is smaller than we think and that we have more in common with different cultures than we anticipate. It is easy to build bridges between nationalities and find ways to communicate if you just put in some effort and try not to limit yourself by pointing out the differences.
- What is your best tip for someone wanting to pack in their 9-5 and turn their life to travel?
Not to be afraid of doing it! I would however really recommend to have income sources that aren’t location independent so that you don’t have to burn through your savings along the way. Most work can be done from home too and independent consulting is a wonderful way of eating your cake and still having it.
- What do you wish you knew at the start of your travels that you know now?
It was not until this summer that I actually bought a tent. I’m spoiled by all my points and having previous employers pay for hotels, so I’ve never settled for less than 3 stars, usually we stay in a 5-star property. But buying a tent and sleeping in it, wherever we wanted for two weeks as we drove around Norway, was just incredible. The views we had waking up are moments I will never forget and that a 5-star hotel never have given me.
- How do you build a social life outside of work when in a foreign country?
It depends on how your situation looks. We’re often brief visitors trying to catch as many photo opportunities as possible. But social media, in our case Instagram, has become an excellent platform in getting to know other travelers and local photographers who follow us. If you stay in a country for longer than just a while, don’t forget that the embassies and consulates are there for you. They are not only there for passport issues, but they have great connections and gather a lot of interesting people to help their citizens with trade, business and relations with the given country. You don’t hear many people talking about the diplomatic missions, but as a Swede, I can really say that these men are doing a tremendous job representing our country. And in case you do live in a democracy, I can assure you that your ambassadors will do an equally amazing job in helping you succeed in the new country.