Ryan didn't begin with the goal of going to all 7 continents. He taught swiftwater rescue in Australia in early 2012, which also took him to New Zealand and Indonesia. It then occurred to him that he had been to 3 continents, why not try to visit the others during the next 10 months of 2012? He set the goal, saved money as much as he could, worked extra hours, and made plans to visit the other continents as inexpensively as he could. He visited Spain, Portugal, and Morocco on a 5 week trip. Then later in the year to went to Argentina and Antarctica for 3 1/2 weeks. He stayed almost exclusively at hostels (via hostelworld.com) with some camping and some nights with locals he connected with through friends.
But Ryan did not stop there. When he returned to the states he took a 48-state road trip finishing in Oregon which completed his goal of visiting all 50 states since he had already been to Alaska and Hawaii. Ryan said he has a new appreciation for "America the Beautiful" and believes that America is truly the greatest country on Earth.
Ryan does not have any regrets for any sacrifices he had to make to do his journey. He recommends others set a goal and do what it takes to obtain it. All this traveling also gave Ryan a new perspective on the world. He shared some of the things he learned along the way:
"Good Nature- People in general fear what they don't know. But if you give people a chance I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. I challenge you to assume the best in people! Does that give you the right to travel like an idiot, no. But a smile and a kind gesture go a long way, no matter what language you do or don't speak.
Truth- this is going to be a touchy subject, but I'll tackle it by saying that this world was created without borders and man’s greed and desire to be the best has made us all hoarders of what we think is a precious commodity. Each person is entitled to his or her own truth. Whether that be race, creed, sexual orientation, religion, politics, whatever it may be. People have the right to their own TRUTH. So many people die in this world in useless fights over differences its sickening. So be respectful and mindful of others and don't try and force or browbeat anyone into believing what is your truth(this is different than a critical discussion).
Perspective-the moment you step into an underdeveloped country and realize no matter how bad your day is going back home it is a million times better than 90 plus percent of the world, so quit whining and enjoy the day! One of my favorite things to tell a person is you’re either a Tigger or an Eeyore. Choose to be the Tigger and enjoy life no matter what.
Carpe diem- Seize the day! Get outside. Step out from behind the keys of your message board, and put the phone down. If you spend your whole life behind a desk and remain in this rat race you’ll miss the whole point in life. Get out of your comfort zone. Be yourself, love what you do and you will never have to “work” another day in your life."
Ryan's whirlwind travel year was in 2012 but he has continued to travel and reported that he had an AMAZING trip back to Africa this year to Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, and South Africa. He says he may not make a million dollars but the experiences he has had and the friends he has met along the way make him the richest man in the world.
Congratulations and may the travels and riches continue!