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Sorry for the late send on this one. Ya boy found out he got The ‘Vid this past weekend so it kind of slowed down the workflow.
But I’m doing alright. Just can’t taste worth a lick!🤧
Who Is: Brian Asher?
The First Trip
The Year Off
Words of Advice
On Episode 18, I have a #CreativeConversation with my Pal, Brian Asher a.k.a The World Hiker.
We discuss how Brian has traveled to 195/197 countries on a high school teacher's budget, the first trip that got him interested in traveling abroad, and why we shouldn’t postpone things.
Btw… am I the only one that didn’t know that there’s less than 200 countries in the world?🤔
WHO IS: Brian Asher?
Brian Asher is a high school Spanish teacher from Sacramento, California who’s made a name for himself by traveling to almost every country in the world (195), hiking each mountain he sees along the way (600+), and doing it all with a shirt count that would make a minimalist jealous (4).
With his soft-spoken voice, optimistic attitude and goal-oriented persona, Brian embodies what you would expect for somebody in charge of teaching teenagers on the brink of adulthood. But what you wouldn’t expect for such a world traveler is the fact that he did not leave the U.S. for the first time until he was 21 years old!
The First Trip
Brian’s first travel experience outside of the country was a solo trip to Costa Rica where he was able to couchsurf for free. Despite being both equally exciting and terrifying, the trip opened his eyes to the wonders of traveling abroad and from then on, he was hooked.
But even with the interest, he didn’t have the funds to afford the summer abroad programs at his university. So he decided to improvise by getting a job as an English teacher in Latin America. This allowed him the opportunity to be abroad, make money, and simultaneously travel whenever he had some free time. Little by little, Brian started to add to his “Country Count”.
After about six years of short trips within the region, the game changed when Brian came back to the states and got a job teaching Spanish at the same high school that he graduated from.
One big difference between teaching abroad vs. teaching in the states is that abroad, Brian only received two weeks off for summer break. When he realized he would now have three months off instead, there was no stopping him.
The Year Off
In 2018, as Brian’s “Country Count” started nearing 90, he began to meet people that were also into traveling.
I’m at 160…
Wait till you get to Central Africa…
Wait till you get to the Middle East…
He realized that there was no way he would reach numbers like 160 or higher anytime soon unless he did something drastic…
Fortunately, Brian was able to successfully take a Leave of Absence from his high school teaching job and travel to 100 COUNTRIES IN ONE YEAR and from there, “The World Hiker” was born!
Words of Advice
At the end of each episode, I ask my guest to share some Words of Advice that they feel have helped them get to where they are today. Click on the post to hear the whole message.
“Don’t Postpone Things”
Because my interviews are focused on my guests telling their story, I try to give them as much Talking Time as possible. In an effort to be more transparent, I wanted to start sharing my thoughts about the guests and their stories as well.
Insert the “My Takeways” section:
First off, I want to give a big shoutout to my Creative Director, Juan. He met Brian while he was in Yosemite* and connected us because he felt that Brian would be a great Pal to interview.
*As I realized later, this meeting is what Brian was referring to in this clip:
Prior to my first call with Brian, Juan had informed me that’s he’s one of the nicest guys he’s ever met. Within the first three minutes of our phone call, I quickly realized this was not an exaggeration. The crazy thing is Brian was also in Ecuador at the time so the fact that he had taken time out of his day to speak with me said a lot about his character.
When I learned that Brian had lost his father and his younger brother within a year’s time, it caught me so off-guard because his energy was so positive and vibrant, I couldn’t imagine that he had overcome such a great loss.
After further reflection on this, I felt a bit ignorant thinking that just because somebody had suffered a great loss, they should be reduced to a life of wearing their grief on their face. In fact, Brian is the embodiment of flipping this assumption on its head. He even mentioned that he did spiral into months of depression, but the loss gave him a new outlook on life, and it’s what inspires him to live life passionately and purposefully so that he can “feel alive” while he’s still alive.
We’re taught to be afraid
One of Brian’s statements stood out to me during the interview
We’re taught to be afraid of other cultures that are different from us.
When I immigrated from Nigeria at five years old, one thing I really wanted to do was fit in. I still remember how I made my first group of friends at recess: they asked me if I wanted to play tag, and I said “yea” 🥺👉🏿👈🏿.
As kids, we don’t care about ethnicity, nationality, or where you’re from because we just assume that we’re all the same. It’s a shame that we lose this as we get older. I do understand that certain life events, social interactions, or news headlines make us lose this carelessness as we age, but I’ve found that traveling is one of the best ways to restore this mindset.
The beauty of travel is not only in the new sights we see, but in the new people we meet, and my hope is that hearing Brian’s story has inspired you to reevaluate visiting a place you may not have considered in the past.
But obviously don’t travel now. Don’t want you to catch The ‘Vid 🤧.
NEXT EPISODE… On the next episode of Pol and Pals (Feb 4th @ 8PM EST), my guest and I will be discussing their journey as a self-taught painter, advocating for social justice via their art, and having their work recognized by some notable names👀.
POL AND PALS MERCH… Merch Order Forms will be sent out with the next newsletter. All newsletter subscribers will receive a 15% discount🌚.
CHANGING PLATFORMS… To improve show quality, I will be moving the live episodes from Instagram Live to Youtube Live in a few months. Subscribe to the Youtube page here!
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