About Jesse Anderson
I’m Jesse Anderson, Chief Inspirer around here. But let’s be clear on one thing – I created Inspiration Travels with community in mind. It’s about Us (with a capital U) and our universal experience of life.
My journey is all our journeys. It’s an archetypal journey, a journey of curiosity to learn what the world has to teach. I’m here to share stories and lessons learned along the hilly, winding, rocky road from rock bottom to kicking ass at life.
My mission is simple: Explore. Create. Inspire.
– Explore myself. Explore ideas and new ways of doing things. Explore the world. Explore everything. ?
– Create opportunity. Create stories. Create something beneficial to humanity. Create anything that inspires. ?
– Inspire the uninspired to come alive through new experiences – to explore, create and inspire.
It’s an infinite cycle of goodness.
I’m here to share stories and lessons learned along the journey from shitty life to fulfilling life. Changing people’s lives through this mission is life I can’t not live and I’m here to not only inspire you, but help you design the life you can’t not live.
Where are you from?
Well, I was born in Oklahoma and grew up around Wisconsin. I’ve bounced between cities, homes and schools since I was five. Last I counted I’ve lived in thirty-six ‘homes’ in three countries, three states and thirteen cities.
Who are your heroes?
When I was a kid my heroes were Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone. But heroes are everywhere. My heroes are underdogs that fight to give their gifts to the world.
What is your thing with Inspiration?
Inspiration is the premise and outcome of all things epic. It got me from “This is not the shitty life I’m supposed to live” to “hell yes, I’m building my dream.” That’s how it happened to me and that’s how I deliver it to you. Inspiration rooted in reality. Inspiration with grit. I’m here to inspire the square pegs in the round holes.
Did you go to university?
Yes. I wondered: Where do “I” and “the world” connect? So I studied “I” and “the world”: psychology, sociology, philosophy, journalism and more. It woke me up, but it also broke me down. So I dropped out, but ended up with a degree with emphasis in sociology/ethnic studies.
What are some of your biggest life lessons?
That’s for the memoir, but here’s a sneak peek: My family split up when I was five. That changed everything. My past is shadowed by a nomadic existence, personal struggles and social pressure. From an early age I had to be independent and cope with perpetual change. No doubt the roots of my street smarts and grit.
Growing up on the border of poor and middle class taught me how to deal with bullshit and struggles. It also taught me to buy things to feel happy and look like I fit in with the ‘better’ people. Which thankfully taught me I was a follower and a tool. Being a concrete construction worker taught me to harden the f*ck up. Addiction and jail taught me the true meaning of freedom. Facing death taught me the importance of living a life of value. The concept of personal development inspired me. University taught me to think.
I’ve been through a number of crises, including the one that led me to drop out of college and my prescribed American life. Full of cynicism, anxiety and uncertainty, I sold my life off to roam the world in an epic quest to find out:
Who the hell am I?
Where do I fit in this world?
What can I do to make a positive impact?
How am I going to do that?
Did you find answers?
Some. I often found more questions and got answers I would have never imagined. I’ve been through some shit and come out again and again. Maybe beaten, battered and scarred, but wiser and way more badass.
What are my kind of people?
I like most people, but I really gravitate to honest, ‘open’ people: agnostic, open minded people with a hunger for knowledge and experience. I relate to those who’ve dealt with struggles, addiction, poverty, social stigma, depression, anxiety. I look up to those unafraid to speak out against bullshit. I respect responsible leaders that improve the wellbeing of the environment and the less fortunate.
How do you afford to travel?
The first time I traveled abroad, I had sold nearly everything I owned. After nine months of traveling I ended up homeless in Istanbul and had to pawn my camera to come back to the US. I fell back into a previous job in concrete construction to save money and fund this project. Every penny of my travel budget and budget for this project came from years of hard labor and being smart with what I’ve earned.
What kind of traveler are you?
I’m a vagabond. A seeker. I roam. I collect experiences. I have a way of weaseling my way into epic situations. I interact with locals and travelers to learn about their world and how they imagine mine. I immerse myself in culture and add it to my own, creating a new balance all the time. I ‘travel with intention’ seeking ‘inspiration with grit.’
Where have you been?
Not nearly enough places. So far I’m on 12/196 countries.
[MAP] pie graph
Okay. So what is your favorite place?
That’s a tough one. Many places share the top of the list, each for different reasons. My favorite kind of place is anywhere I can explore, create, get inspired and inspire. It helps if I’m amazed, can be myself and meet interesting, friendly people.
Why did you get into traveling?
I’ve always been an explorer of some kind–probably because of my nomadic adolescence and undying curiosity. After some maturing, I refused to continue being dissatisfied with my life and the expectations of American consumer culture. And thanks to National Geographic and other travel media, travel just sort of happened, which I think was inevitable.
How did you get started as a traveler?
It was a process. It all started in fourth grade when my mom and I took a 2-hour bus to Chicago for my birthday. That’s when I realized the world was much bigger than it seemed. Over the next 15 years I slowly worked my way up to my first multi-month journey, which was hiking and hitchhiking across the USA in 2009. A couple years later at age 29, I dropped out of university, got a passport and a one way ticket to Spain in August, 2012.
What’s your most epic travel experience?
Probably the Nepal earthquake. But others have also rocked my world: walking across Spain, meditating for ten silent days, spending a couple weeks with gypsies in south India. Oh, and climbing a mountain in the dark to watch the sunrise behind Mt. Everest. Epic.
What kind of writer are you?
I try to keep it raw and authentic. As a construction worker from lower social class I tend to use gritty language and crass humor, but use it mindfully. I’m a storyteller that writes from experiences. I’m not a fan of cheap, empty writing designed to get page views. But in this travel media game, there’s a balance between the art of writing and writing that sells.
What kind of photographer are you?
Travel photography, of course. That includes: landscapes and cityscapes, street photography/culture, documentary and lots of other little projects. Find out more at www.JesseDavidPhotography.com
What are your favorite blogs?
I’m a big fan of Mark Manson, who writes about personal development in a no-bullshit way. That’s what I’m all about. Wandering Earl is one of my favorite solo travel bloggers. As far as a more in depth travel blog, it’s Roads and Kingdoms all the way.