Here’s what happened.  After 4 years as a software engineer in Seattle, I quit my job in September 2007.  After a year of skiing and mountain biking in Whistler, I decided to follow a dream:  to become a world traveller.  (Here is the longer version of what I was thinking.)

On October 8th, 2008, I embarked on a trip around the world.  I wandered around the planet for two and a half years, visiting 61 countries and all seven continents.  I spent time on the Indian Subcontinent, SE Asia, Australia & NZ, Canada, South America, Antarctica, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

In this blog you will find many tall tales of strange/amazing experiences I’ve had all over the world.  I’ve been swimming in Antarctic waters.  I’ve tried to outrun some bulls in Spain.  In Istanbul, I’ve been washed by a large, hairy, Turkish man wearing only a cloth; found evidence of leeches in my underpants while trekking through the jungle in Malaysia; ate pig’s brain served in bile in Vietnam; climbed to the spot on Earth closest to the sun; been trekking in the Himalayas; saw the 2008 World Elephant Polo Championships (true story); tried the kebabs in Iraq; dived the Great Barrier Reef.  I once did a 5-day boat journey down the Niger River, sleeping on sacks of rice, all the way to Timbuktu.

And that’s not even the half of it.  Trust me.

The best way to get started is to read my “Best Of” posts about Asia, Australia and New Zealand, South America and Antarctica, and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Without being overly dramatic, this is the story of the greatest adventure of my life.  Enjoy.

Photographer: Agata Schreyner. Location: Poznan, Poland.


9 Responses to About

  1. Jay Fraser says:

    Hey Shawan,

    Saw the link to your blog on facebook. I’m Kevin Hofstee’s buddy Jay, we came and visited you a few years ago when you were living in Seattle. At that time you were getting ready to leave Microsoft to live in Whistler and as I see now, you haven’t stopped there. Anyhow,I’ll continue to read your blogs and be jealous as fuck of your travels. Pour out some foriegn liqour for us poor working homey’s wherever you may be!!!
    Safe and Happy Travels!
    Jay Fraser

  2. Anjum says:

    awesome blog.. high 5 for that.. u r a an amazing dude.. but one question struck me.. who sponsored the entire trip? looks like a huge amount for me, if i think!!!!!!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Amazing. I stumbled across your blog while researching Mali. Did you ever get a job?! ;)

  4. Kim says:

    oops…hit post too quick….(from above…)

    • smartelo says:

      Thanks! As it turns out, I did (for better or for worse). I’ve been working for a about two years now. It was a tough transition to go from travelling back to the “real world”, but if there is something we travelers are good at, it’s adapting :), and that’s what I’ve been doing. Thanks for dropping by.

      • gamblndan says:

        Hey Shawn

        I admire your courage and I’m attempting to do the same thing. I’m going on a 4 month trip to NZ, Australia, SE Asia and China and Japan. I’m going on a budget of 18,000 and was wondering if you think that would be enough and what was your budget for your trip around the world… I would love to talk to you about your trip and your blog which I’ve read and have found very helpful.

        My e-mail is gamblndan@aol.com. I’m hoping we can talk before I make my plans final and set things in stone.

        Thanks again for all the information you have provided me with your blog already!

      • smartelo says:

        Hi, Dan. I’ll send you an email. ________________________________

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