jetsetters: @happinessplunge

the-romantic-the-winoHappy hump day, travelers! Today’s Jetsetter is Adam of The Happiness Plunge, and as usual, we’re jealous. Adam gave up job security to travel the world, so we’re living vicariously. Maybe one day we’ll man up and do the same? I mean, who knows. For now, get to know Adam below, and like him here, or follow him here, @happinessplunge.


Favorite Place: For living, Cyprus has remained at the top of my list. Amazing food thanks to the Greeks and Turks on the island, wonderful weather, great location, and friendly people.

As a tourist, however, Peru is hard to beat. I don’t think many countries on earth can offer the cultural and historical richness Peru has, and the diversity in climate is an adventure all unto itself.

More importantly, favorite meal: It would have to be my morning ritual in Copan Ruinas, Honduras. I’d wake up, go across the street to one of the few non-touristy restaurants, and have Doris, my “Hondumomma” make a baleada and coffee.

A baleada is a very thin flour tortilla filled with refried beans, eggs, and cheese. Amazing.

The moment you caught the travel bug: I did a study abroad trip to Egypt during spring break of my senior year at Ohio State University. It was only ten days, but it was always my dream to visit the pyramids. Much to my surprise, all it took was getting on a plane. I asked myself “If it was that easy, then what else is out there…?”

First experience traveling alone: Right after coming back from Egypt I had an interview with an oil services company and got hired to work in Abu Dhabi, UAE. My first training was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and I headed there by myself four days before the start of the training for a medical exam. I got to explore the city on my own and I’ve been traveling alone ever since.

Ever been (or thought you’ve been) in imminent danger while traveling?: I have been robbed twice, first in Guatemala, which was a bit funny, and second in Colombia, which got violent and wasn’t funny. In neither case did I lose my stuff. You’ll have to check the stories out on my website to see how that happened.

Worst hotel/hostel experience: In ten months I’ve racked up $200 in accommodation costs on The Happy Nomad Tour. I almost always rely on the kindness of others to host me for free. It’s great to save money, but even greater to live with local people and local families to get an insight into the culture.

On one such experience in Managua, Nicaragua, I got the keys to a house from the brother of the girl whose house I was staying at. She was out of town and I would stay in the house by myself. It was almost impossible for the taxi driver to find the place in the first place, taking two hours, then getting the key to open the door was a big ordeal.

Once inside the house I literally couldn’t figure out where any light switches were besides the bathroom’s switch. Lots of walking around using my phone as a torch. There was also a kitten and I’m allergic to cats. Finally, she had an air mattress and I would be the first user. She said there was a pump… but there was no adapter to connect the pump to the air mattress. So I slept on the floor… with the cat I was allergic to 🙂

Best hotel/hostel experience: Every experience far outside the cities were great. In Yoloaiquin, El Salvador, totally away from any cities, I got to live with three generations of Salvadorans. The grandma milled corn for the village every morning at 6am – my alarm clock. There was no plumbing. The water came from a well. The food was pure and amazing. The little girls, three and six, were adorable, and I felt like a part of the family immediately.

My last night there was to celebrate the third birthday of the little one. It was a wonderful, beautiful experience. Oh, and I was there volunteering to help them get their NGO running 🙂

Favorite family vacation: As an eleven-year-old I went to Pakistan as a kid. It’s where my dad is from originally and it was a whole new world for me. I got to meet aunts, uncles, and cousins I had never met, see my grandparents in their native environment, and see a completely different culture.

I enjoyed playing with my cousins, many of whom were around my age, despite our lack of a common language.

Must-have packing item: Toothbrush

Most unbelievable travel experience: The whole Happy Nomad Tour so far

Favorite “I can’t believe I’m doing this” moment: Rappelling down a waterfall in Ecuador, literally because I had no idea that was the plan until five minutes before we did it. I didn’t understand the Spanish and just tagged along because of my “I’m up for anything” attitude. Well, rappelling down a gushing waterfall in rainy season wasn’t the best choice for my first rappel, but it went well and I still can’t believe I did that 🙂

Place you can’t wait to return to: Peru

Place you can’t be paid to return to: Nicaragua

Any exciting trips coming up?: The Happy Nomad Tour is heading to Asia in a few days, starting in Southeast Asia and then heading to India. I can’t wait!

Dream vacation: I’m living it. Every day is a Saturday on vacation for me. It’s a ton of work, but it’s work that fulfills me and fills my soul with happiness.

Favorite tourist attraction?: Machu Pichu!

Favorite “I’m trying not to look like a tourist” attraction?: Hopping the fence at the Copan Ruins and walking around without any other tourists around.

Favorite travel photo?: I may be an engineer and MBA, but in Peru I sold bread in the streets of Arequipa to support a pre-school/kindergarten. Here I am with one of the little boys. Happiness is contagious.

You should be a jetsetter! Just ask!


the romantic & the wino



  1. June 19, 2012 / 05:58

    I LOVE this! Just reading his interview made me smile. Definitely an inspiration!

    • June 19, 2012 / 11:11

      so cute, right? love reading about world travelers with a mission to do good.

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