I’m so excited to introduce you to Loren Klein, the next DTourist to cover a continent for DoubleTree by Hilton! Loren (along with his wife, Kristen) leave for Australia on Tuesday, January 21 and I cannot wait to follow along on their adventure. Loren is a gifted artist and designer and I know that his photos, videos and posts from Down Under are going to be simply beautiful. Take a look at his application video for DoubleTree and you’ll see what I mean.
Between holiday craziness and packing for his upcoming adventure, Loren was kind enough to answer a couple of questions:
Hey, I’m Loren, a freelance graphic designer currently living with my wife and two cats in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I’m a minimalist with Gucci glasses, I enjoy the mountains, and I only trim my beard every few months or so. I love spontaneous adventures, good food, and fresh air – all of which are probably why I love traveling so much. I’m the guy who quit his job to take a mini-retirement. Twice. The second time around, my wife came along with me, and our friends and family were in such disbelief about it all that we decided to start a blog called “It’s Really Happening,” as if to say “Yeah, we’re really doing it!” The blog is a year and a half old now, with a mission to chronicle our adventures near and far, and the things we learn along the way. Our hope is to inspire others to take chances and just go.
I’m finally heading south of the equator! For my DTour of a Lifetime, DoubleTree is sending me to the super extreme island/country/continent: Australia. I’ll be spending 20 days touring Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns, Alice Springs and Darwin. Besides seeking out unique eats, I’m pumped to see the amazing wildlife (koalas, kangaroos, echidnas…), see the Great Barrier Reef up close, and soak up some summertime in what would be the dead of winter back home. Even though the trip is free for me, my wife Kristen is going to come along for the ride. And I’m looking forward to that, too.
The book “Into The Wild” by Jon Krakauer really resonated with me, and probably had something to do with my decision to quit my job and travel around the states by myself in my Toyota Camry. While I didn’t hitchhike or live off the land, I did camp alone several times in the middle of nowhere. I also discovered what the book’s real life subject found out on his journey; experiences are better when shared.
Bill Bryson is the only travel writer I’ve read extensively. I love his storytelling style. He tangles his witty, self-deprecating misadventures with fascinating historical facts, in an approachable way. Also, every Sunday I am inspired by the New York Times Travel section. It’s like a weekly reminder to get out and experience something new.
I always have my iPhone headphones close at hand when traveling. Music can provide a brief moment of familiarity in an otherwise unfamiliar land. It can add an extra layer of emotion to a lengthy gaze out a bus window. And on long flights, it can do wonders for drowning out less desirable noises.
As a real food foodie, I would love a month-long trip somewhere with traditional and excellent cuisine. Since I recently ate my way across Thailand and Vietnam (delicious), I’d choose a different part of the world altogether: a food-cation in France. Food culture in France is commonly accepted to be world-class, and I haven’t been there in over 15 years. My plans would be loose, with lots of room for exploration of restaurants, markets and bars. And to make the feeling last, I’d take a cooking class or two and bring what I learn home to my kitchen.
Don’t plan too much! Go with a general direction in mind, but let the details determine themselves as you go along. You’ll have the freedom to stay longer in places you love, or shorter in places you don’t. In the end, your trip will be more fulfilling because it’ll be on your terms.