By Leslie Pratt
EGYPT- With 66 countries and six continents under his belt, Justin Carmack, 27, of Grand Junction has gone from being the average CMU student to being a professional travel blogger.
Carmack’s adventure began three years ago when he signed up for a trip through CMU’s Outdoor Program. The Outdoor Program provides students the opportunity to experience outdoor adventures, including an annual trip outside of the country. According to Carmack, the trip to Southern Africa changed his life forever.
The group spent five weeks exploring South Africa, Mozambique, and Zambia. By the end of the trip, he was not ready to return to ordinary life. Instead, he stayed behind as the rest of the group returned to Grand Junction.
“The day I decided to stay in Africa instead of returning to the rat-race was the best decision I’ve ever made,” Carmack said. On his own, his adventure truly began and it is far from over.
With no return flight, very little money, and no job, Carmack immediately began looking for odd jobs to “sustain” his “travel addiction,” as he would put it.
“I decided to turn my once-in-a-lifetime opportunity into a permanent lifestyle,” he said. “I knew I would have to find ways to make money on the road to keep traveling.” He found work in hostels and bars, never staying in place for long. As soon as he could afford to, he was onto the next destination.
Carmack started documenting his adventures in a blog called True Nomads. Although it didn’t happen overnight, his blog became so popular that he now is a paid travel blogger. With his blog becoming more lucrative as readership increases, virtually all of his travel expenses are paid for.
“I make just enough to get free accommodations, so I can probably travel forever if I want,” he said.
Carmack dedicated a vast amount of time perfecting True Nomads, spending at least a handful of hours each day. True Nomads has grown exponentially throughout the last couple of years. With a whopping 23.5 thousand followers on Twitter and over 5,000 Facebook followers, his vast experiences have captivated a large audience of people around the world.
“The blog is meant to inspire and inform other aspiring travelers to get out and see the world,” he said.
Carmack is currently in Egypt where he has been for several months. Unsure of his next destination, he enjoys the absolute freedom this lifestyle allows him. Without the confinements of everyday responsibilities, he has seen more of the world in three years than most people do in a lifetime.
“I have done amazing things like climb Machu Picchu in Peru, hitchhike through nearly every country in Europe, climb active volcanoes in Costa Rica and Guatemala, stand on the worlds biggest waterfall in Zambia, get scuba certified to rescue diver level, explore Angkor Wat temples in Cambodia, cage dive with great white sharks in South Africa, take a road trip through Australia, see the Great Pyramids of Egypt, and the list goes on and on,” he said.
Carmack credits Thatcher for much of his inspiration. Thatcher taught him that, “if you want to do something, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. He led by example, and now I am trying to do the same,” he said. “Professor Chad Thatcher showed me and many others that the world isn’t as scary as everyone thinks, and that we should explore every inch of it.”
To view Carmack’s blog, visit http://truenomads.com/
His Facebook and Twitter links are as follows: