Work With Me Speaking About Blog Podcast LET'S CONNECT Login

Andrew Mahowald on Wanderlust (Encore)

Jul 28, 2021
 

Season 2, Episode 29

Summary

This episode was recorded before the outbreak of Coronavirus.

Encore Episode: When was the last time you daydreamed of travelling the world? Especially when you couldn’t go anywhere, did the idea of country hopping and sightseeing feel glamorous or more risky? In this encore episode, global nomad and adventure seeker, Andrew Mahowald, shares highlights of his two-year adventure of seeing the world up close and personal. Andrew did what many dream of. He quit the corporate job and set off on an adventure with a backpack and a curious mind. Hear how he decided on his places to explore, risks that were taken and those that were avoided, plus how the whole experience changed him. 

 

Links:

You can follow Andrew's journey on Instagram @Andrew.adventuring

Want to build your risk resiliency? Consider a coach to help you get unstuck, out of your head, and taking action. See michaelwkithcart.com

 

 

Transcript:

Michael Kithcart: 

Hi, everyone, welcome to the Champions of RISK podcast. Before we get to today's episode, I want to just acknowledge that In short, very, very short span of time, our world has needed to deal with uncertainty at a different level than ever before. Risk has never been more top of mind. The Champions of RISK podcast episodes that we'll be sharing over the coming weeks were all recorded before the coronavirus pandemic was declared. This has impacted every single life, family business community and we are very, very sensitive to that. I am choosing to continue to share the stories of the risk takers and champion their thoughts and actions because now more than ever, we are needing to weigh options of risks. We are deciding what actions to take in spite of uncertainty. And the stories that we are going to be sharing through these episodes have thoughtful rationales and tools that are shared by the Champions of RISK podcast guests, and I believe that their stories will be helpful and leading us all through these uncertain times. With more courage and confidence. Please take a listen. Hi, everyone, welcome to Champions of RISK podcast. I just want to give a little precursor on my guest today, Andrew Mahowald. Andrew has spent the last year and a half doing what many of us have either on our bucket list or maybe you know, tucked back into our mind of things that we'd like to do on day and that is traveling the world. So even before the Coronavirus struck, adventuring, the world carried its own level of risk decisions and options to evaluate. And that's really what Andrew and I are going to be discussing on this episode today. I did want to add that Andrew is currently back in the States during this chaotic time. He does fully intend to continually traveling the globe when the time is right. So with that, please enjoy the adventure Andrew and I take discussing his wanderlust. I'm really excited to have this conversation today because it covers a topic that a lot of people talk about dream about, put on their bucket list. And that's about quitting it all and going to travel the world. So I am really happy to introduce Andrew Mahowald, who is a global traveler adventure seeker. Welcome.

Andrew Mahowald: 

Thank you, Michael. It's great to be here.

Michael Kithcart: 

So I just can't wait. I'm not gonna say anything more about you. Because I want you to be able to tell us our journey of like, what made you give it all up and go to see the world?

Andrew Mahowald: 

Yeah. Well, alright, so I'll dive in here. And I'll try to keep it all relevant for you. So born and raised in Minnesota, graduated from high school in St. Cloud and went over to school in Madison, Wisconsin, I'm a badger. Started traveling in high school and and then over some summer breaks, did some big trips, went to Europe for five and a half weeks for the World Cup in 2006. I was kind of the first the first biggie, yeah, got me got me really thinking about the world in a different way. And thinking, Wow, you can have a lot out there that you can get after.

Michael Kithcart: 

What did you learn from that particular trip?

Andrew Mahowald: 

Well, let's see. I mean, I learned that learned how to drive stick in Bosnia, that was a that was a tricky one. You know, I think I've learned it just opened my eyes kind of that. Wow. I mean, there's so many different ways to do things in the world. And there are people everywhere have have their idea of what what people should do how you should do it. And my idea isn't necessarily right or wrong. But to kind of keep an open mind about that stuff. And just start to look around you a little bit more than be curious.

Michael Kithcart: 

Be curious. Okay, I like that. That. So you brought that curiosity back home with you? And then what happened?

Andrew Mahowald: 

Yeah, so. So that trip was definitely kind of a building block for me. And then over the years, you know, you just keep kind of taking steps farther and farther out of your comfort zone. So came back from that eventually graduated from Wisconsin and moved back to Minneapolis. And I lived there for I ended up living there for about 10 years, graduated at the peak of the Great Recession. So that was not great for me. Sort of struggled a little bit trying to find a job for a couple of years and got a got my break, got got into corporate america became a business consultant and technology. And I worked in that industry for about seven years. And, you know, nose to the grindstone was real focused, but I always still had that curiosity and love for travel. So I took some time here and there to know, to go to Brazil for a month, and that's kind of pushing the boundaries of what you can do in corporate America, four weeks off, that's unheard of.

Michael Kithcart: 

Some people don't even get that for the whole year.

Andrew Mahowald: 

Exactly, exactly. So, you know, huge thanks to my bosses to allow that to happen, but kept pushing boundaries with trips like that. And eventually, I was going to quit my job. I was dating this girl long distance in Washington, DC, I was gonna quit and go travel for a little bit, go to the Russian World Cup, maybe see a couple of other new countries, and then go locate Washington DC to be with her. Well, things don't always work out as we plan. We ended up breaking up a few months before that whole plan happened. And at that point, sort of everything changed for me, I started to realize, well, I actually have a huge opportunity out of me, I've mentally prepared already to quit my job and go make some kind of big thing happen. I'm not just going to abandon that plan, that ship that ship has left the station. And I started thinking, What if I, what if I go real big and pretty soon one to two months became three to six months, six months became more like 12 months. And the dream kind of came together.

Michael Kithcart: 

I'm curious about that. Because when scientists and neurosciences talk about whether or not we can build a muscle, for for risk, and in hearing other people talk about the things that they've done, visualizing doing things, and chunks tend to build up this tolerance. And it sounds like you kind of did that same methodology. Was that very intentional? Or did you only realize that in hindsight,

Andrew Mahowald: 

You know, I think it was probably more dumb luck than anything else. I'll be the first to say when I'm getting lucky. But that would be my experience, though. It's really kind of just progressive steps. For me, over time, each step that you take you kind of a new world becomes clear to you, you can see farther than you could before. new possibilities seem within reach. So I don't know if that's getting towards what you were speaking to there.

Michael Kithcart: 

Sure. Yeah. It's everybody's journey is different, right? And that's what we want to explore here on the podcast is, what does that mean? So I'm curious, like, What does risk actually mean to you? How would you...

Andrew Mahowald: 

You know, there's probably a lot a lot of sexy ways to talk about it. The one that I kind of like, as one that I also saw on the wall of a hostel, in Switzerland, and it life-- I guess it's a little bit relevant, it's not completely the same; Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone. And, and I sort of take that to be, you always have to push yourself farther than you really think you're capable of. And you're gonna take that risk, and it's gonna pay off, especially with the right perspective, if you take the right perspective into it, then you're gonna win every time.

Michael Kithcart: 

Okay, to give us a sense of your, just like, how much of a risk taker you are. A scale of one to 10? With one being risk averse, and 10 being highly risk tolerant? Where would you be on that scale?

Andrew Mahowald: 

This is a fun question. You know, I would, I would like to say, I like to take risks. So I would say, maybe like, an eight or nine, okay, for risk taking. But honestly, I think there's just different types of risks. And everybody feels comfortable with something more than something else. You know, for instance, one of the types of risks I love to take things that just, they just make me physically scared. So bungee jumping, for instance, I wanted to bring that up in our conversation today. Yeah. About three, three months into the big trip, I had an opportunity to go and overcome that fear, which is, you know, standing on the edge of something super high. You can feel, you know, throughout your whole entire body of visceral rejection of even the idea of stepping off of that, you know, surface that cliff.

Michael Kithcart: 

There's no way I could do this. I'm, I feel my heart racing, as you're telling me this story, so keep going.

Andrew Mahowald: 

(laughing) Michael, you could do it. But it seemed, it wasn't something that I always knew I wanted to do. It's not like, Oh I'm going to grow up, I'm going to bungee jump and I'm going to overcome my fear. But coming across this bridge, actually, it was in Russia, the Sochi sky bridge. It's the Like 1500 foot bridge across the spectacular gorge, like 600 feet up above the, the gorge floor. And we just went there because it was spectacular view.

Michael Kithcart: 

You didn't even know you're gonna bungee jump.

Andrew Mahowald: 

Well, I didn't know there was bungee jumping. And I got there and I saw it. And there's one that's like 200 feet, high bungee. And then there's one that's like 500 feet. And I was sitting there just watching people go and I was thinking, Oh my god, okay, I know I want to do this. I don't know if I can do it. And I ended up missing my window to do it. I had finally decided I want to get after it. And then it was a lunch break. It's gonna be another hour. Maybe I used that as an excuse to get out of it. But when we left there, I said, I told my brother, the next chance I get I will be jumping off of something with a bungee attached to me. Okay, and I promise. And so I started to verbalize that promise to people that I knew. And then a couple months later in France, I got that chance. And, and I did it. And it felt unbelievable.

Michael Kithcart: 

And have you done it more time since? Or is that a one-and-done?

Andrew Mahowald: 

It was, it was always going to be something I repeated. And my philosophy, I have a little philosophy on this too. That is, you can do it once and sort of say that you did it. But that doesn't really prove it in the same way. To me. For me, I want to do something scary. And then I want to do it again to sort of prove it and unlock it and or prove it, if you will. And so I did that bungee jump again. And then I did another jump in Switzerland. And then I did some jumps in Nepal, the one in Nepal was close to 600 feet, at least 500. That was very freaky.

Michael Kithcart: 

Yeah, I don't. Yeah, like I said, not not something that's gonna be happening in my lifetime. Help us have an understanding of- You had this corporate job, you decided to quit, you kind of said, you're going to do it for X amount of time, that time started to expand. What was your plan? Because a lot of people want to just pick up and move where like, Where did you go? And how long did you stay there?

Andrew Mahowald: 

Yeah, great question. Now I'll try to keep this one. I'll try to keep this one somewhat surface level, because we could go really into detail here. But the plan was, you started kind of the highest level with the information you have. And then you just got to go at a certain point. So I said, Okay, I want to be gone. Probably like six months is what I knew at the time, what months Am I going to be going? So? What's the weather going to be like in different regions of the world? Are there any huge events that I want to go to that kind of fit into my timeline fit into sort of my macro map? So yes, for won the World Cup in Russia, and then kind of how can you cohesively piece that all together? And you know, draw a line that looks like it makes sense across the places that you want to go to?

Michael Kithcart: 

And so what did that end up looking like? Where did you go?

Andrew Mahowald: 

So, yeah, for me? Yeah, I suppose we can get into the details. So what ended up looking like was Russia for the World Cup, and then fly over to sort of Central Europe, go around Central Europe for a few months. Yeah. Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Denmark, France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Spain. And then by the time I got over to Spain, it started to starting to cool off a little bit. And so at the end of was it end of November, or the end of October, I ran away to the Middle East. went over to Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon. That was kind of a totally new phase of the trip. Because you're not really you're not in the West anymore, right? Things are really starting to change around you. From there. I went over to Sri Lanka, India and our favorite Nepal.

Michael Kithcart: 

Yes.

Andrew Mahowald: 

And then after that, I flew home for for a month.

Michael Kithcart: 

Okay

Andrew Mahowald: 

Then come back and check in.

Michael Kithcart: 

So all of that took you a little over a year?

Andrew Mahowald: 

So all of that was 11 months. And then a month back here, and then went back to Europe for six months after that.

Michael Kithcart: 

Okay. And it's February 2020. We are talking face to face you are stateside at the moment is the intention that you're going to leave the states again.

Andrew Mahowald: 

Yes, yes, it is. Okay. You know, when this all started, there was an intention to, you know, go out travel, see the world, do whatever and come back and maybe plug back in to what I did before. Now, now I, I really don't want to do that, you know. And so far, I've had the luxury to not come back and get go back to my corporate job. That could change. But the goal right now is to go back to Europe for the summer. And then I have a dream trip that that I'm working on right now, which is South America, starting at the end of this year. Okay, there's a total solar eclipse happening in Patagonia.

Michael Kithcart: 

And you're gonna be there/

Andrew Mahowald: 

I'm an Umbraphile. And so it's gonna be spectacular.

Michael Kithcart: 

That's great. When you make big choices, life choice, there are consequences to any kind of opportunity that comes. So certainly, overall, what would you say you've given up? And what have you gained? becoming a global citizen?

Andrew Mahowald: 

Yeah, another good question. I'd like to pretend that it's all just sunshine and rainbows. And, you know, I've just got these new language skills, and I know, how geography, the world's geography like the back of my hand. And that's, that's the end of the story. But I mean, in all honesty, I don't have a down payment for our house anymore. You know, that's gone. And, for me, that was, that's totally worth it. What I got in return, maybe wouldn't be for everyone. Everyone has to make that decision for themselves. So, you know, having something like that, that's changed. I would say I definitely, I got a lot of great work experience, I've got a good resume. But you know, you're always going to be foregoing that next promotion. If you're, you know, good at what you do, and you push you push yourself, there's probably some kind of promotion out there at at any time. Right. So you're going to be saying no to that next one. So I feel I did that as well. Okay. Now, those would be some of the things I gave up.

Michael Kithcart: 

And what did you gain? In exchange for that down payment and the promotion?

Andrew Mahowald: 

Yeah, well, this is more of the fun part. Or did you get you know, so much, and it's hard to put into words, I would say, top of mind would be, just got to, I got to meet and bond with and create real connections, lifelong connections with some of the best people I've ever met. Many of the best people that I've ever met, people I never could have imagined connecting with before people from all over the world, you know, all those countries I mentioned and more people that you share, two to seven days with, but you share them so intensely, maybe because you went on some incredible hike in the Sinai Peninsula together, you shared a full moon ceremony together, I know that these connections are lasting ones, you know, I would start off with the people and the connections first, as kind of the primary treasure of what you gain, of course, you just learn so much about the world. You know, I can't really rattle off what all that is, but the perspective you learn the things you learn.

Michael Kithcart: 

What do you learn about yourself?

Andrew Mahowald: 

Well, another good question. Let's see here. You know, I would say I learned that that it's okay to to not know all the answers. It's not, it's okay to to relax into uncertainty. Sometimes. And actually, that's the only way to make it sometimes, whether you're out on the on the road, traveling the world by yourself, or whether you're working in your corporate job, and you don't know how that next meeting is going to go. So I learned, I mean, I guess that's a thing that I learned. But I learned that I can be a little bit more comfortable doing that, then maybe I thought that I could be that would be one thing. I learned that, I don't know. Just kind of some some skills and, and weaknesses. You know, they come they become apparent out there. I would say I learned that one of my strong suits is is meeting and connecting with people. And that's what I love to do. So now those things. Yeah, some of that becomes clear over time.

Michael Kithcart: 

It's you've had enough time to see what some of the patterns emerge. So I'm curious because you did share with us kind of the travel plan. All the different countries that you've been in, what was a time when you had an opportunity? And you took it and you had a really good outcome?

Andrew Mahowald: 

Okay. Well, let's see. So we've already kind of covered off on a couple of them. Now, the bungee jumping, jumping off of high stuff, thing. Just making the decision to quit and leave in the first place. But there's a couple of other things that I, that I would say would be risky is just a few of the places I chose to travel, in general, are not places that everybody would want to go. So, you know, there's places in Egypt that are not necessarily the safest, or they're not perceived to be the safest. Lebanon, you say, Lebanon, and some people will think back, you know, there's still a civil war there or something. Or, or, you know, there's people that look different than differently than me and practice different religions than than than we do. And there's certain regions within those countries as well, that are, you know, there's terrorist organizations are, you know a little sketchier areas, But what I found is that it's important to evaluate the risk. Using information from everywhere, don't just take something one thing that you saw online, or don't take the inner fear, that you may have inside you, and that you don't know where it came from. And don't just listen to that. And so when you start to get closer to some of these places, you talked to other travelers or other people who know what the situations are, you can get the real idea of what the risk is. And so, so I happily went to Lebanon, and I went out to this Roman temple called Baalbek, and Hezbollah was known to be more active out there. In fact, there's a guy selling Hezbollah t shirts out in front of the temple. And I actually, even on the way back from the temple. I did, I saw a dead person. On the way back there was our shuttle actually slowed down through this little town. And there was we kind of looked out the window to see what the hell was going on. There's all this kind of traffic jam and police waving people through there is just a body in the middle of the road with blood. And I never did find out what happened. So it's-

Michael Kithcart: 

What was good through your mind during that?

Andrew Mahowald: 

It's edgy stuff. Right?

Michael Kithcart: 

Right.

Andrew Mahowald: 

It's, I would not expect to see something like that, you know, here in St. Paul, Minnesota. And it shook me a little bit. But, but I, but even still, I didn't feel unsafe, you know, this person, I don't think I don't think there's any chance this was some kind of random person that was killed. And, you know, maybe we could go to Chicago, and, you know, maybe there'd be 40 people on the road, you know, any given day. So.

Michael Kithcart: 

Yeah, it's it, you know, those are the things that even when you're when you're talking to people and assessing the risk in a place to go, those don't always come up in, in conversation. And so I'm curious, it happened to you, right? Like, these are those unintended consequences of this, you've now seen a dead person? Did that alter your, your travel or your perception at all?

Andrew Mahowald: 

You know, it shook me a little bit, but I didn't feel I didn't feel much less safe. You know, I don't regret going to Eastern Lebanon, to see this temple. That was just spectacular. The reward for going out there was unbelievably amazing. Was this the best preserved Roman temple in the world? And there's almost nobody there. And so, but, but still, and these things can happen, where you can see some things that might make you uncomfortable. I don't regret it. You know, it was worth it. Some kind of a, you know, a risk, I suppose. But I think it was a tiny miniscule risk, and it was well worth going.

Michael Kithcart: 

Okay. Again, having lots of opportunity of lots of freedom in your travels, you're hearing lots of things from from people. What was the time when you did decide to take a risk, and it didn't have a positive outcome?

Andrew Mahowald: 

Yeah, these happen too of course, and I think maybe we try to maybe we try to forget these ones.

Michael Kithcart: 

I'm here to help conjure those backup for you.

Andrew Mahowald: 

(laughing) Yeah, thank you for that. So, you know, one of the one of the things that didn't quite work out as I expected, when you're out traveling, you're meeting all these people. And you're kind of hooking up hooking up with different groups. I kind of it's like this fusion, fusion, and a tribal thing, almost. And, and you're saying, let's go, let's, let's stick together. And that's let's go do this thing for a week, that would be awesome. And so you're sort of taking chances on people, constantly, right? Right. Knowing that if something stops working out, you can all go your separate ways, and really not much harm done.

Michael Kithcart: 

So there's trust there, because you don't know any of these people very well. Maybe you've done a little bit more traveling, but you're trusting from the get go?

Andrew Mahowald: 

Yeah, you got to make some relatively quick decisions and enter all these situations with goodwill and believing the best in other people. And, you know, does this person seem like somebody I want to hang out with? Yeah, that kind of judgment as well. And so you do the best you can with that. Now, I, there was one part of my trip where I took a bigger risk on like this, and, you know, you start to travel for so long. You keep an active Instagram account, posting fun stuff, you're gonna make connections that way, actually. And I ended up meeting this photographer from LA, through Instagram. We didn't even have any mutual friends. I don't think she was just taking awesome pictures. And she was cool. She's a cool chick. So at one point, we've been chatting back and forth for a while and she said, You know, I actually quit quit my job. She's a stunt woman out in LA, and movies. And she, she was focusing on photography and travel, and I, we started to talk is there is there any way we can do like a photography thing together? And she said, I said, you know, coming up to India and Nepal, maybe it would work out for you to come and join kind of started playing that back and forth going and feeling it out a bit. And anyway, long story short, she ended up flying out to Nepal to join me for a trek in the Himalayas.

Michael Kithcart: 

Which, by the way, you can't; it's not a down and back. You have to commit when you're trekking.

Andrew Mahowald: 

You do. Did you ever did you ever do treks?

Michael Kithcart: 

I did Annapurna.

Andrew Mahowald: 

You did Annapurna, the circuit?

Michael Kithcart: 

Yeah.

Andrew Mahowald: 

Okay, awesome. Well, then we both did the same one. Amazing. So, you know all about it. Spectacular trek, but it's also it's also really challenging. And there's no there's dangers out there. That's not something it's not a casual hike. So anyway, she flies out to Katmandu, and we meet at the hostel, and she ends up getting and swinging her five minutes after we made she swings her hand into a cactus, and I have to help her get the cactus needles out. So we have, you know, we have some nice little bonding moments right away. And anyway, over the coming days and week, we and we ended up planning our trek out we get, we hire a guide, because there's still like some avalanches and things happening. Oh, yeah, you don't want to die like that?

Michael Kithcart: 

No, you need a guide to do

Andrew Mahowald: 

A lot of times you do. I gets complicated, too. But anyway, so we start the trek, how we get going, and it sort of becomes kind of cleared, it was a little bit more than she had signed up for.

Michael Kithcart: 

Even as a stunt woman?

Andrew Mahowald: 

Yeah, she's a badass chick. And she's not a quitter. But it was, her pack was even bigger than mine. And she's a lot smaller than me. So she had a, she had a real challenge, a real tough time. And, and that was also in turn very challenging for me, because it then totally ended up changing my experience as well, up the mountain. And so it ended up becoming very difficult for us. Yeah, we had to have some heart to heart conversations. Yeah, she flew out here to go do this trek, take some take photographs, and we both took a huge risk. Right. But if she wasn't able to make it up the mountain and was you know, really struggling and not having as much fun because of it. That's also going to really impact my my trek and this, you know, totally magical place. Yeah, right. Like this is pure, magical spiritual environment. And you want to capture all the best of that when you're there. So you're not being this really tough thing. And eventually, she turned back around and had to go down the mountain, sadly. But but that was certainly a big risk that both of us took that didn't quite work out, I think the way that we had expected it. I don't really regret taking in some shots you take, and they don't, they don't go quite as planned. But But yeah, that was, that was one that didn't quite work out as expected. For sure.

Michael Kithcart: 

You know, from that, then did it make you alter the way that you did group trips? Again? Or did it make you more cautious about people in general?

Andrew Mahowald: 

You know, it did. Now, I would say today, I'm, maybe it's almost like a new phobia that I have. It's like, a phobia of committing to, to travel with other people. It's, it's, which is so funny, because you go your whole life without solo traveling. Yeah, probably a lot of people out there haven't done it. I didn't do it until this past year. And then you go and you start solo traveling, and maybe you're anxious, you're nervous, you're afraid what's gonna, what's gonna happen? Am I gonna get bored? By myself? Am I gonna get lost or lonely? Or, like, what's, what's gonna happen, every bad thing is gonna happen. But it doesn't. And you find an incredible feeling of liberation, and freedom. And so now I would say I almost have this, this phobia of committing to long, long trips with anyone, almost anyone. So now even though I love to, even though I love to be out there with people, right? So yeah, I would say did changed, and changed my calculation a little bit.

Michael Kithcart: 

And now as you go back out, you will be doing something that for, for some, the, the idea of traveling solo would be something that would prevent them from going, for you. Now, it's something that you're embracing

Andrew Mahowald: 

Yeah, something that's like a almost a requirement thing. Yeah. But I understand why it's scary. Because I was scared of that, too. It's this huge unknown. And, you know, maybe you take that, and you take a couple of other big unknowns. And then pretty soon they formed together into this wall that, you know, never moved through. Right? Does that make sense?

Michael Kithcart: 

It, well, it does, except I'm somebody that loves to do solo travel, and, I think I've actually done the majority of all my travel is solo. So I highly encourage it. Oh, you know, if you have any questions like we can talk about it. So I say go go and do it, because you'll see things in a different way than you would in a group or with with other people.

Andrew Mahowald: 

Absolutely.

Michael Kithcart: 

So then, again, because you have these different opportunities. One was a time when you had something presented, there was a chance for you to take and you decided not to. Is there any big moment that and in hindsight, maybe you feel like, Oh, I really missed out, I wish I would have taken that opportunity.

Andrew Mahowald: 

You know, this is kind of a tougher one for me. Because over time, I've just sort of anything I could do, you know, I've kind of just thrown myself at. One thing that comes to mind is, is the idea of traveling to Iran. And I remember Michael, when we first were talking before I left, we had that awesome conversation at French Meadow. I we were talking about dangerous places to travel. And you were giving me some tips on that. And it's, you know, you've been, you've been to Pakistan, right?

Michael Kithcart: 

I have only been on the border of it. Yeah. Okay, but had some experiences there. And the difference too, we were talking about the difference between traveling solo as a woman and a young man.

Andrew Mahowald: 

Absolutely some differences there, unfortunately. But gotta be eyes open about it.

Michael Kithcart: 

Right.

Andrew Mahowald: 

But your advice was don't put too much on the local people. And be careful. People are going to help you but don't. There still is a line right. Now I I met a girl from Minnesota in Cairo. Her name is Miranda and she had a bunk right next to mine. And pretty quickly after talking, we realized that we were both from Minnesota and we

Michael Kithcart: 

Was it the accent?

Andrew Mahowald: 

Awesome little bond? Oh, yeah. (laughing) I don't remember what that was. But she she was going to go to Iran after we after Egypt at some point and she ended up going. And she spent two weeks there was incredible. And so the wheels started turning in my mind like, God, I really, I really want to go to Iran. Not only is there incredible history, incredible, incredibly beautiful architecture and, and works of art, but the people and the language and I mean, the history of it, it's, it's incredible. And wouldn't it be awesome to get a perspective from inside a country like that, given, you know, the way that our countries are interacting. So, I kind of was flagging that one for a future trip, and maybe something that I could have done in the past six months. But, you know, I was thinking, Okay, I can just go in there on my Luxembourg passport. They won't know that I'm American, I won't have to have a chaperone with me 24/7. Because other Europeans are just, they're going there they're traveling, it's no big deal really, after kind of getting enough information, and talking to as many people as I could, really didn't seem like a good idea to go on, to go in there. And pretending not to be an American, especially as tensions continue to, you know, to ramp up.

Michael Kithcart: 

This is the piece that you and I were talking about. Specifically I remember is I wanted to go to Afghanistan. And I had a friend from the UN that was saying, like, why do you want to go, like you will get killed if you go to Afghanistan? And so then you have to ask yourself, like, why did you want to go like, I wanted to just go because not everybody goes there. And you know, and I wasn't that far away, because I was already in India, and I was on the Pakistani border and those kinds of things. But then you have to start asking yourself like it? Is it really worth it? And why are you really going like, do you have a purpose? I didn't have a purpose to be there. That's why I that was being challenged. Like, why would you go you're not going to help people you're not like,

Andrew Mahowald: 

I'm gonna go check it out and do something novel and unique.

Michael Kithcart: 

Right, yeah, which there's, there are other places in the world to do that. So just even thinking with Iran and what the political climate is, especially with the, our governments right now, what are you going to gain out of that? Exactly? And you know, it's on your list. And so is it now? Or is it maybe down the road? That's down the road now? Yeah, fortunately, weighing those risks? Exactly. So you've learned a lot being on the traveling, and you've learned a lot from the people and the cultures that you've been experiencing? What would you say, has inspired you the most?

Andrew Mahowald: 

Wow that's a tough one, huh? What, what inspires me the most? You know, you could probably take this in 100 different directions. And and if you asked me the same question tomorrow, I probably could give you 100 different answers. But now one thing, one thing I'll point to is, it's going to go I'll take it back to Nepal, you know, just my favorite place,

Michael Kithcart: 

Always a good place to go.

Andrew Mahowald: 

Yeah, and then go back to hopefully, right. You know, going around in Nepal, and getting a stay at these little tea houses, where it's just a family running it. They're making the food, they're cleaning their four bedrooms. And they're living really simple lives. In spectacularly beautiful places. They get up they, you know, that they do their thing every day. And, and they don't a lot of these people appear to be and quite content with, with what their what their life and they're living on almost nothing. Now they the money that comes in from tourists, like like us even just $10 a day, you know, for the food, free bud, even, you know, that money goes, I mean so much to them. And I just it's a perspective that we it's really easy to lose sight of when you're sitting around here, driving a nice car, eating nice food buying nice things, tha well, what is it exactly that e need to be happy? I see a l these people over here, one f the poorest countries in t e world and and there's the r smiles are just beyond warm. A d so what can we learn from th t and, and also that is inspiri g to me to try to keep in mind h w can I be happy and what is t that I need and just thinki g back to some of these faces, it is inspiring to me.

Michael Kithcart: 

Your journey is inspiring to a lot of people again, because either they're living vicariously through you or just enjoying the spirit in which you are doing your your traveling. What kinds of words of advice? Or what would you say to anyone out there listening who may be contemplating becoming a global citizen?

Andrew Mahowald: 

Well, gosh, I would say, I'm just, I'm already so happy if you're considering it, that if you think it could be the right thing for you, it's, it's maybe not right for everybody. But if you think it could be right for you, take chance and take a chance Because you're just not going t have all the chance, you're no going to have these chances fo the rest of your life. If th worst, what's the worst that ca happen? Now, write down on piece of paper what the wors thing is that can happen an then look at that piece of pape for a few days, and, and the you're gonna probably convinc yourself, it's not that bad. S I would just say, get off, ge after it. Take a chance. If i doesn't work out, that's fine But if it does, you have no ide how it could change your life And and what it could do fo you

Michael Kithcart: 

That's, that's great. Thank you so much, Andrew, those are great words to to hear and to live by whether you're considering quitting you job and traveling the world, o even you know, just as we ar all are living in this life. Thank you for sharing you journey with us. I really appreciate it. For those tha are out there listening and ma be interested in following yo and your continued journey an maybe catching up on some of th stories. How can we find you

Andrew Mahowald: 

Well, Instagram is going to be the best place to follow along these days. So it would be Andrew.Adventuring. I'll give you my my handle.

Michael Kithcart: 

Wonderful. And we'll put that in the show notes too. So people can can follow you on your journey.

Andrew Mahowald: 

And I would be more than happy to talk to anyone about with any questions they might have. Inspiri g other people to travel and tak a chance is just so high on my list of things to do.

Michael Kithcart: 

That's great. Well, you're giving back.

Andrew Mahowald: 

I hope so.

Michael Kithcart: 

Thank you so much.

Andrew Mahowald: 

Thank you.

Michael Kithcart: 

Thanks for listening to Champions of RISK podcast. Be sure to subscribe on your favorite platform so you can get updates on the latest episode. And if you want to build risk resilience, consider an executive coach, a performance coach, a life coach or check out champion circles which are peer to peer groups for entrepreneurs and women in leadership. You can find all of this information on michaelwkithcart.com. And if you happen to know someone with a good risk story or maybe the story is yours to tell. Please drop us a note also at michaelwkithcart.com.

Close

50% Complete

SUBMIT A TOPIC

If you would like a chance to be featured on the Champions of RISK Podcast, complete the form below.