Interview with Midlife Road Trip (Rick Griffin)
1.When did you get started traveling? I fell in love with traveling as a child going on family vacations. As an adult I owned a small chain of child care centers and served on the board of directors for the National Child Care Association where I traveled to different parts of the country for various board and committee meetings on a regular basis. After a life-threatening illness in 2004 I reevaluated my priorities, sold my business and began pursuing my creative passions by starting a video production company.
2.What made you decide make the jump to a location independent/travel-based existence? In 2008 I won a contest for a webisode pilot I had created called “Midlife Road Trip”. That got me to thinking how cool it would be to actually travel around the world and check things off my bucket list. I did a lot of brainstorming with friends on Twitter about the possibility of creating a regular “Midlife Road Trip” show – or at least something like it. One of those friends was Sandi McKenna. Sandi had a background in video production and was very passionate about the idea. I had never met Sandi in real life, so I took my wife and daughters to Tampa for spring break. I got to meet Sandi and we were able to brainstorm how we could make this work. We tweaked the concept, shot another pilot and put it out for the world to see. Fortunately it seemed to strike a chord with a lot of people and gave us the confidence to give it a go.
3.What benefits do you feel you get from this lifestyle? How do you handle the nay-sayers in your life? Naturally visiting interesting places, tasting incredible food and meeting interesting people are benefits of a traveler’s lifestyle. But the trips we take are not just about the destination. The journey itself is part of the adventure and each trip brings the opportunity for new experiences. These experiences change and shape who we are. As for nay-sayers, I generally ignore them. I may try something and fail, but as least I tried. I would regret not trying much more than I would failing.
4.How did you save money to be able to afford living ‘on the road’/travelling often? How long did it take you to make the jump to a location independent/travel-based life? I’m only “on the road” for an average of about two weeks of every month. I have to maintain a home and a office where I can edit video, write blog posts, host twitter chats and our radio show. Sometimes I think it would be much less expensive to live “on the road.” I wouldn’t have the expenses of a mortgage, insurance, taxes, utilities etc. each month. I think living on the road can be done much cheaper than one would think – especially if you’re willing to couch surf. But for me, as much as I love being on the road, I love my wife of nearly 30 years even more and I need to keep her happy be being home as much as possible:)
5.How do you choose your destinations and for how long you’ll stay? What type of accommodations do you typically choose? Are there any specific resources you recommend?Shortly after we began Midlife Road Trip, we began invitations to come shoot an episode in this location or that. Most places offered to put us up for free but we’d have to pay for our own transportation. So we pretty much let the destinations choose us. If we could get there either by car or by using frequent flyer miles and buddy passes, we would go. As time went on, we’d only accept invitations from destinations that would cover all of our expenses. Now we’ve reached the point where we can pretty much choose where we want to go. We have built relationships with brands, destinations and media outlets that will purchase our content. As for accommodations, we’ve stayed in anything from tents to a 5 star luxury resorts. We usually let the destinations we work with make our arrangements in accordance with what they are wanting to show off to our audience.
6.How much money do you traditionally need annually to support this lifestyle? Traditionally the answer to that question is “more”! Actually, there’s not a set dollar amount. The price of accommodations varies from destination to destination. Things are more expensive in New York City than in Enterprise, Alabama. So it depends on where you want to stay, how long you want to stat there and whether you cool with crashing on a couch in a commune or prefer an all-inclusive resort that folds the corners of your toilet paper and leaves chocolate on your pillow.
7.How do you make money on the road and save for retirement? We earn money through making videos, writing blog post and hosting Twitter chats and radio shows. We didn’t get there over night. It took several years to build a niched following significant enough to garner the attention of brands and destinations. Right now I’m not making enough money to “save for retirement”. I’m investing almost everything I make back into the business. So far that has paid off as each year we have been more profitable than the previous year. Hopefully I’ll soon be at a point where I can begin putting something away for retirement. But I have the greatest job in the world so why would I want to retire?
8.How do you handle visas, vaccinations, legal documents/passports, taxes and healthcare while living without a home base or an ever-changing one? Fortunately I do have a home base that makes these things easy. If I didn’t, I suppose I would use a family member’s home address.
9.If you decide to settle somewhere – where and when do you think it will be? My daughters are young and just beginning their careers so If I had to settle somewhere, it would be near them wherever they ultimately end up. As for when, I have no idea!
10.What advice do you have for others trying to make the jump to a location independent/ travel-heavy lifestyle? I’m not the best person to ask since I’m not totally location independent. However, if that desire is burning inside you, then my advise would be to just do it! Sure you’ll make some mistakes, but you’ll gain invaluable experience. Live without regrets. Also, be sure to chronicle your adventures on a blog, on Facebook, on Twitter etc. Let the world know what your are doing. You’ll be amazed how welcoming and receptive people on social media can be and how eager they are to help.
For more about Rick Griffin, check out his website: Midlife Road Trip.