Sup! Spence here, though Spencer M. Spellman is what my passport says. I’m a Freelance Travel Writer, who since flying by myself for the first time at age 8, just hasn’t been able to kick the travel addiction. What can I say? I’m a junkie. Growing up in the deep south, my southern drawl is my most distinguishing characteristic, no matter how hard I try to mask it on Twitter. Sometimes I like to say things like “holla”, “pimpin” and “playa”, but that front goes right out the window when you meet me in 3-D. I first started out in the travel industry as an Editor for travel guide publisher 10Best. I wrote, edited and managed 10Best’s social media and digital travel guide content for over 450 metros worldwide. I left 10Best to become a Freelance Travel Writer. I’m a regular contributor for multiple websites and publications, with my writing appearing for CheapOair, NileGuide, Uptake, AOL Travel, BootsnAll and the Matador Network. My travels have taken him from zip lining the rainforests of St. Lucia, to eating alligator tail in the Florida swamps to Vienna sausage eating contests in South Africa.
So that’s the travel part; so now what about the philosophy part? My first class in college was a Philosophy class, which I took for the sole reason that the class syllabus included watching several movies. I was sold when in the class description I saw “Bladerunner”. Unbeknownst to me, this involved watching the movies out of class, rather than in class. This got college off on the wrong foot. After a tumultuous relationship with my education major, I switched majors during my senior year to Philosophy, completing all of the course requirements in a year to graduate. I maintain that this was one of the best decisions I ever made. So I didn’t make myself marketable with my degree?! How many people actually use their bachelor’s degree in their career field?
I’m a single parent, hospice chaplain, Zen monk, ultra runner, snowshoer, endurance cyclist, certified endurance running coach, photographer, and lover of travelling, languages, and cultures.
Years ago when I was a young adult, I had a dream of raising my children in foreign countries and having them experience this amazing, large world. After years of working in intensive care, trauma, and with the dying, my family & life motto became Vivez sans regrets!(Live without regrets!) In that tradition, I decided now was the time to take my dream and make it a reality. To that end, in June 2011 I’ll be leaving my traditional work life and embarking on a round-the-world trip with my 9-year-old son (aka Tigger) followed by a move to Chiang Mai, Thailand. We’ll stay there for about a year and then we’ll decide what form the adventure takes next. Naturally, we’ll continue to explore the world from our Asian home base. I’ll be homeschooling Tigger, teaching languages, writing, photographing, and doing online and other work along the way.
My Story: I was stuck in an unsatisfying desk job and courting a growing resentment towards the North American lifestyle. After swearing to change my life on a file folder, I sold my earthly possessions and set off in June 2010. My journey will traverse the banks of the Ganges to the tin shanty towns of Manila. My ultimate dream is to combine two pastimes: traveling and writing. Where could I end up? Hopefully a travel writer and full-time digital nomad. What transpires will be eye-opening, precarious and liberating. Read along as I emerge from my caterpillar shell. Because frankly, a dose of the unknown may be just what I need!
How I Got to this Point: It all began at age nineteen. After toiling at a daycare job, I found myself with a healthy bank account. My inner self fantasized about volunteering overseas, tasting exotic foods and experiencing cultural exchange, but the external pressures won. Travel to Spain or buy a car? Naturally, I picked the car. First wrong turn complete. Next, I decided post-secondary education was essential because everyone else did it. That’s where I met my partner.
Eleven years later I traded him in for mounting debt and chronic back pain. The North American milestones that are supposed to bring happiness made me miserable. Worst still, my joy for life was sapped. Wake-up call noted — it was time to close my eyes and jump into the rabbit hole.
The Purpose of this Site: Here I was with a bold idea to abandon cubicle existence, the next step was to hit the Internet for inspiration. Many travelogues emboldened my shaky will, but I couldn’t help noticing a scarcity of blogs devoted to someone like me, a single lady on the cusp of forty, ready to leave everything she’s known. The signals I receive are: You’re crazy. And too old.” “Don’t you have a mortgage, 2.5 children and a job you love??” “Woman, you are a red alert mid-life crisis!”. This site grew from a desire to motivate myself, as well as others. Hopefully it touches those people who are afraid to take the leap. If you discover this site, feel encouraged — most of all — realize that long term travel is doable at any age!
Hi, my name is Roni Weiss. I created this project.
In May 2011, I went to Africa Travel Association‘s 36th Annual World Congress in Dakar, Senegal as a New Media Journalist. Over the course of the conference, it was mentioned many times that there is a perception problem in Africa. Part of the reason is that people just don’t get a full picture of what’s happening oceans away.
The hope of this project is to bridge the gap between perception and reality regarding life and travel in Africa. The money that comes in from tourism and business will help Africa grow.
Not everything is perfect in Africa, but can you say it’s perfect where you live, either? Perhaps there’s more to the African picture than we’re aware. The Been to Africa project is a means for us to learn about it together.