Hey, gang! The new season of Traveler Tuesday is here! Each week I will be introducing you to a different travel blogger via my interview series. I'm passionate about meeting travelers from all walks of life and seeing how they translate their passions online. To kick off the 2017 group I've got a very special traveler, Ric Gazarian of Global Gaz.
I had the honor of meeting Ric in Indianapolis at this year's BlogHouse. I was immediately impressed with him. First, he flew all the way from Thailand to participate in the travel blogging mastermind. Second, he was one of only two gentlemen attendees making him an instant curiosity. And third, he was quiet (that could have been jet lag), contemplative and focused. Also friendly.
Blogging is just a small part of what makes Ric a fascinating traveler. He's an avid photographer, a talented filmmaker, a caring soul, a man on a mission and a sought after interviewee. I enjoyed getting to know Ric, although it was not nearly enough, and I was thrilled that he agreed to participate in Traveler Tuesday so I could learn more.
Let’s meet global travel blogger Ric!
 When and how did you become a traveler?
I had a couple of false starts over the years with a couple of extended trips, but then returned back to corporate life. But my travel really started in earnest in 2012 when I moved to Phuket for four months to volunteer at an orphanage. This started a process of transitioning to mostly full time travel. I am now overseas about 10 months a year, and in the US for about 2 months.
 What kind of traveler do you define yourself as?
I am on a quest to travel to every country in the world. So far I have been to 110 countries, so that means I have 83 left. I really run the gamut, sometimes it is solo travel, other times with friends, or my wife. Sometimes I rent a car and go exploring, but other times, I am taking a bus or maybe flying from city to city. I really run the gamut depending on many different variables.
 What do you love most about traveling?
Discovering and learning. So for instance, I recently spent two weeks in Algeria. For many, the narrative for Algeria is terrorism and civil war. It is not frequently visited when you compare it to say Egypt or Morocco. And for a tourist, there is little information on Algeria. For instance, Lonely Planet has about ten pages on Algeria from a couple of years ago, and Algeria is the largest country in Africa! When I traveled to Algeria, I was fortunate enough to learn the real situation, and wipe away preconceived notions. The people were friendly and hospitable and there is so much to see in the country. Two weeks was not enough!
Also, I love the serendipity of travel. So for instance, I met a taxi driver on a short ride to my hotel in Algiers. The next day I ended up hiring him for a day trip. Before I knew it, I was in a local neighborhood in Algiers, in someone’s apartment. From what I gathered my taxi driver brought me to the home of a famous boxer from the 1960s. Sometimes you need to trust your intuition.
 What do you dislike about traveling?
In general, flying is typically not the highlight of the trip. I am usually in economy 98% of the time. Of course, this is a necessary evil that results in an incredible trip.
 Why should people travel?
Everyone should have their own personal reason, but I would encourage others to use the opportunity to learn about other cultures and places. See how other people live, what they do, where they work, what they eat. Try and meet locals, consider volunteering. I have volunteered a number of times in Armenia and Thailand. This has really made my time more rewarding. I built deeper relationships and learned more about the place I was visiting.
 What famous person would you like to travel with?
I have a podcast (Counting Countries) where I interview people who have traveled to every country in the world or are on their way to accomplish their goal. I have spoken to so many accomplished travelers who have one and see so much. Everyone from Lee Abbamonte to Dave Levart from Dave’s Travel Corner to Randy Williams from Ramblin’ Randy.
 What won’t you travel without?
I bring way too much stuff! I would say most essential is my iPhone and hopefully picking up a local SIM card when I arrive in my new country. I bring everything from my drone to my computer to a GoPro, and then some.
 Travel essentials – 3 things you always travel with.
Three things that allow you to travel anywhere – iPhone, ATM card, and passport. Everything else, you can find and figure out on the road.
 If you’re a foodie, what's your favorite food city? Do you have a restaurant recommendation?
My favorite food is Middle Eastern. So if I am in Jordan, Syria or Lebanon I am a very happy person. There is too much good food to eat there … hummus, chicken shawarma, and falafel. Street food or restaurant, it doesn’t matter. Other MVPs include Argentina, Italy, and India.
 What's one location on your bucket list?
So many….but in August I am crossing off several. Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, Atacama Desert, Easter Island, and Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia. It is a pretty incredible trip. Always happy to get back to South America.
 Do you have a piece of advice for bloggers starting out?
First thing was I learned there were no real shortcuts. For me, it was creating content that I enjoyed writing about or photographing. Try to create and produce on a regular basis. Demonstrate value. In addition, like any industry, attend conferences and network with your peers. Try and find a mentor. Also, don’t try and be an expert at everything. So for instance, pick one social media channel or maybe two, and become an expert on that channel. Same thing, for video, photography, writing, drone, etc. pick one or two and build your expertise. Look to hiring outside experts and assistants to help you handle all of the different tasks you need to accomplish. There is not enough time in the day to do everything.
Ric's Lightning Round of Favorites
Airport: Boston, since that means I am going home to visit family and friends.
Mode of Transportation: Rental car is a great way to explore and be independent
City or Country: Armenia, I have been here 14 times, every year.
Travel Gear: Chargers and converter, seem to be carrying so many.
Travel snack: Onion and Sour Cream Pringles
Book: Shantaram, best travel book!
Movie: Hit The Road: India (this is favoritism since it is my film)
Song: Little Wing, by Jimi Hendrix
If you'd like to be featured in Traveler Tuesday drop me a line at Misadventures with Andi AT gmail DOT com.
How about you? What would you like to know about Ric?
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