Go to college, incur thousands of dollars of debt, and have no plan to pay it off. “That is a horrible idea.”

This is the message Grant Baldwin tells his audience every year at Iowa State University freshman orientation, and one he spreads during his travels across the country. Last year, after his talk, a young kid approached him with tears in his eyes and told Grant that he’d always dreamed to go to Iowa State but didn’t have any plan whatsoever. Even though he’d made his lifelong dream to be there a reality, he realized he had no actual reason to be there.

Grant’s mission is to help students by guiding them towards finding their reason, their path, and their purpose. He’s the author of Reality Check, a guide for helping students make that uncomfortable transition for helping students make that transition from high school to college to “the real world.” What does this have to do with travel? Everything.

Disclaimer: I mention at the beginning of this show that I’m not a parent. As of a week ago, I’m the father of a beautiful baby girl. 🙂


Grant BaldwinWords from an Explorer:

“Have a great life. Or don’t. It’s up to you.”

Tweet this quote or Thank him for sharing his story.

What you’ll learn:

  • Why the Gap Year not only doesn’t exist in the United States, but is discouraged, while it’s actually encouraged in other cultures
  • How to feel confident about taking a year off to travel in-between your studies: Have a purpose, have an intention and a plan.
  • How to make conscious decisions to embrace your passion, and understand your purpose by honing in on what you DON’T want from life. Make a list of the things you want to avoid and let that guide you towards figuring out what it is that makes you happy.
  • Why loneliness should never stop you from traveling.
  • Why and how Grant chooses to make travel a bigger priority in his life, and for his family.

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See you next time!



I’m a lifelong international traveler, the host of The Travelers podcast, and founder of Holocene, a framework and community for writing the story of your life using travel and creativity.