My name is Tom. I travel the world as much as possible, all while sharing my music, tips for traveling on any budget, tips for recording music in weird places, reviews of adventure-travel and music destinations, accommodations, location-independent business advice, my thoughts on life, and funny or interesting stories.
I first fell in love with traveling when I visited the American West as a teenager. I went back two more times after that before I left American borders in search of bigger adventures, more distant destinations and new experiences.
I left the States for the first time in 2013 with two other friends. We traveled through Europe, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand for six months before returning home. To say we were budgeted would be an extreme understatement. We spent a lot of our time in Europe sleeping under bridges and camping out illegally wherever we could find, hitchhiking, train-hopping and playing for change on the streets. We slept in the mountains in New Zealand after a missed flight mishap and made it back to the States with about 50 cents left to our name!
Those six months threw me in headfirst to budget traveling. I learned many invaluable tips along the way that I love to pass on to my readers. I also
love to share the sometimes hilarious, sometimes insane stories from all of my traveling over the years. You’ll find that when traveling on an extremely budgeted trip, with little to nothing planned out, that bad things will happen. Well, unexpected things. Sometimes they’re hilarious. Sometimes they were terrible for me to experience, but will be hilarious for you to read. Sometimes they’re just useful for other people wanting to travel. Either way, I’ll share them with you. The story of the first RTW journey in 2013 is chronicled in humorous fashion in my book Planes, Trains, & Broken Strings, available on Amazon.
Music used to pay my way around the world. I’ve played professionally for about eight years now and was paying the bills solely with my guitar and a microphone for a few of those years. I lost a pretty good job a while back after the company I worked went in the shitter and I thought to myself–“Hey… I bet I could play enough shows to at least pay my bills.” and then “Hey… I’ve always wanted to travel the world… why not?” That led me to a life on the road, and subsequently to Peru where I had about $50 left to my name and a $100 hostel bill hanging over my head. Desperate, I turned to a video course I’d found earlier on dropshipping products through Facebook. That was a game changer. Turns out running an e-commerce store generates a bit more income than an indie-musician can pull on the road, so my gears changed a bit.
I opened a partnership through my first store with an exotic animal rescue nonprofit called The Wildlife Waystation and after seeing a big success I added another partnership with The Beagle Freedom Project, a nonprofit which rescues beagles used in lab experiments.
Eventually this led me to open The Buckeye Boutique which I partnered up with Keep Ohio Beautiful, a nonprofit in my home state which organizes cleanups, creates recycling infrastructures, and promotes environmental awareness around the state.
After a few years of running these ecom sites, I decided to take a break, move to Los Angeles and focus on music production and writing. I shut down all my stores and eventually took an extensive audio engineering course at The Recording Workshop back in Ohio, then came back to Los Angeles again.
I released my first solo project, The Bookstore EP, and a couple of 80-s style synthwave EPs (The Renegade EP and Dead Man’s Rhodes EP) with my friend Nate under the name Decade Defector!
The Bookstore EP was recorded in Chillicothe, OH, Los Angeles, CA, and even some parts in Barcelona, Spain! The drum tracks were recorded in the basement of a record store (Apollo Records in Chillicothe) and most of the songs were written and recorded in my old apartment above the book store next door.
As you might have guessed, it turns out that living in Los Angeles is pretty expensive and writing music or books doesn’t pay well compared to e-commerce… so when I was offered an e-commerce coordinator position at a studio design and pro audio retailer in North Hollywood called Westlake Pro, I went for it! That’s what I’m doing for the time being, along with recording and producing music, writing, and of course traveling/heading outdoors whenever possible 🙂