In Conversation with Adventure Traveler Dan Worden



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Today we have Dan Worden, Adventure Man Dan on the show.

Yeah, thanks for having me.

So Dan, are you an adventure traveler?

My name dictates me.

What kind of adventures do you like to go on, Dan?

My favorite is just outdoor stuff. I like doing things that are not necessarily on the beaten path….stuff that I have to research and go find. Waterfalls, lakes, rivers….cliff diving is actually one of the big things. I try to find stuff that is not necessarily always catered to a certain travel destination but more like if country has a lot of cool things to offer. Backpacking, hiking, snorkeling. That’s the adventure style that I go for.

 What’s the biggest cliff that you’ve jumped off?

There’s a 105 foot cliff out on Kaua’i that I’ve done and that’s the biggest one so far.

 What a rush. When I was in Jamaica, I did a 55 footer.

Is that the one at the bar?

The one at the bar, yeah.

That’s a good one.

And the locals were doing double backflips off the 100 footer. It was crazy. So what got you interested in travel?

Traveling came up as a side thing to my cliff diving. I started out with diving. I live in Hawaii so that kind of set me up, being in a travel destination already. I didn’t run out of spots to explore in Hawaii, but I found out it was a lot more fun to check out other places. I got invited by a couple of companies to come shoot with them. Royal Caribbean took me down to the Caribbean. Doing some of those things really opened my eyes up. I realized traveling places and going and finding new things is super fun. So that was kind of my transition from just being more of an athlete to also being a travel adventurer.

What was the first place? What was the first experience that sticks out? Where did you go?

Dan:        Technically, I have to say Hawaii was the first experience. When I came out here for the first time, I was just kind of checking it out. I didn’t know it was going to be where I was going to live. It just blew me away. I grew up in Oregon, by the way. That’s where I’m from. Then I moved out to Hawaii. I guess I didn’t move right away, but during my first experience out to Hawaii I saw the beaches and the different landscapes and different hikes and different things you can do. That was my first experience where I was like, Wow that’s really different. When you just see pictures of travel destinations, it doesn’t really hit you how different the places are until you get there.

 What’s an experience that stands out from the rest?

That’s a tough one. Honestly, one of my favorites was Yosemite, as cheap and easy as that sounds. It was more about the group of people I was with. I was with my brother and a couple friends and we hiked up Half Dome before the cables were up. The cables were up before the lines were open so it was just us climbing up the side. You know, it’s a place that’s been so shot and so touristy and so everything….to be up there alone with just my friends hanging out and having a good time….it was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had. Again, it had a lot to do with the people I was with. I think that really makes a lot of trips unique.


 Cool. With all the bad press right now, the American media is definitely pushing all the bad things that are happening in the world. What is the reality for you? Has your travel changed? Do you feel safe less often? What’s been your experience?

My experience has always been to be cautious. No matter where you go, you know there’s gonna be some crime. You know there’s people taking advantage of tourists. I ran into a couple of situations before the media blew it up that really taught me to make sure I’m traveling with a friend or a group and know where I’m going. Not that anything super bad happened, but I just knew that there were some people trailing me. I was like, This is not so great. What I’ve found traveling is the majority of people are stoked you’re there. They’re happy to meet you. They’re happy to go out of their way to have you over to have a beer with them. There’s just a couple people that like to profit off of the situation as it arises. I think it’s been blown out of proportion a little, but I do feel like I’ve needed to be a little more cautious when I go some places. Luckily, I haven’t been in any bad situations because of it.

It's time to dive! #sponsored #amazonfashion #SeikoDiver

A post shared by Adventure Travel Cliff Diving (@adventuremandan) on

You travel with a lot of people….do you have a girlfriend or a wife?

Yeah, I have a girlfriend. Her name’s Kelsey. Do you want to check her out on Instagram? @kelseyaloha. We’ve gone on a lot of trips together. She’s my number one to travel with. Sometimes I go alone but a lot of times I go with her. Like I mentioned, traveling is way more fun when I get to take a squad.

Do you guys have like any interesting or fun things you do together when you travel?

We like to create certain types of memories. We haven’t come up with anything specifically romantic but we like to go and shoot photos. We’ll take a couple of photos wherever we go. A lot of our stuff we put up is on Instagram or we just save them for our own memories. It’s not necessarily that we do a certain pose or anything but we always try and get a shot of us together. It’s just been fun to view photos and capture memories in a different way. That’s changed the way we’ve shot a couple of things as well. We didn’t necessarily care about something being perfectly framed with a good background. It’s more about us hanging out and having a good time.

Absolutely. Do you travel full-time? Do you have a job and save to travel?

I don’t travel full-time. Until a couple of months ago, it used to be one of my main things. I recently started working with second graders in Hawaii, teaching some lessons and putting swimming programs into secondary schools and running this program. We’re actually trying to roll it out to other islands next week, which is pretty big. That’s slowed my travels down the past couple of months but it hasn’t stopped me. I’m not going to let it stop me in the future either. Part of the way that I’ve always traveled is to kind of grind when you can grind and save up while you have the chance to. Then plan and spend your time wisely while you’re on the trips. There’s ways to make things cheaper. There’s ways to make your dollar stretch further. Most people aren’t able to travel full-time. It’s honestly hard, but there are ways that people do it. My strategy has always been save up, live cheap, and then travel cheap. I make it stretch out for as long as I can.

What are some examples of ways you save money?

Definitely. Number one is just trying to find people that will help you out. Staying over at people’s houses or having them recommend Airbnbs….stuff like that definitely saves you on costs for hotels and also sometimes rides. It’s also a way more fun way to see local places than just hitting the tourist spots. Mostly people recommend restaurants that are way cheaper than the hotel ones. Stuff like that. Another big one is finding when flights are a little bit cheaper. You can save money by not always going at the ideal times that are packed with tourists. Usually you’ll get a little bit different weather. That will make your trip unique which is another bonus. Traveling as a photographer and influencer, you want to have a unique perspective on places that have been shot so many times. Different weather and different kinds of situations might give you that edge. Kelsey and I will roll up to Costco before we go somewhere and just buy food that we can take with us. We survive on peanut butter and jelly or tortillas and turkey and stuff. We plan to make our own food when we travel. We even camp sometimes, depending on where we’re at. That’s allowed us to stretch the dollar a lot farther on our trips. It’s allowed us to stay out a lot longer.

PB&J, that’s the way to go. Is there a must-see a place that you recommend?

I mean, I’m biased. I recommend Hawaii. It’s beautiful out here and each island has its own personality. Oahu is where everybody is at. It’s got the amazing ridgelines. Maui’s got waterfalls. The Big Island’s got lava. Kaua’i has the beach and hikes. Traveling away from Hawaii, my favorite has probably been St. Lucia. It has a lot of tourists and hotels right on the beaches and then there’s a lot of open area that you can explore. I would say St. Lucia is a place that I’m very much looking forward to heading back to.

There’s a great picture on your Instagram of you walking underwater with an octopus. You guys should definitely check it out. Where was that?

That was just in Hawaii over on the west side.

For people that are trying to become travelers full-time or part time, what’s some advice that you would give them?

Don’t expect things to fall in your lap. It takes time it takes a little bit of preparation. The way I got started with being able to travel was trying to put good content out there for people to see. Then you start to reach out to companies. Yes, you need to reach out and not everything is going to come to you. Show what you’re worth. Show your value. Don’t always post every single shot you take. That’s another big thing. There’s a lot of value in exclusivity and being able to save a couple shots for a magazine or being able to deliver that one shot for a brand. Don’t blow everything. There’s there’s value in knowing what you’re worth.

Got it. Are there any internet resources that you would recommend? Obviously once Driftr’s up and running, people are going to be using that. But in the meantime, is there something you would recommend?

Honestly, Google Flights has been one of my go-tos. I’m sure most people know it already but it just automatically searches all of the plane routes and everything. I’ll sometimes sit on there in private mode so it doesn’t track which flights I’m looking for.

Got it. Is there something that you don’t leave home without? You’re a photographer…. you bring your camera, I would imagine. Is there anything else?

Cameras are definitely a must-have. I get made fun of sometimes, but also my orange board shorts. They’re the thing I go everywhere with. It’s kind of been my iconic Adventure Man Dan style. If you check out Instagram or YouTube or wherever you see me, it’s pretty easy to pick me up because of the shorts. I bring them even on hikes now. I don’t always wear them but I whip them out for a lot of photos just because they’ve become so iconic. I like having them. They’re comfortable.

This is a little bit of a morbid question but I like to ask it to everybody on the show. If you woke up tomorrow and knew you only had two months left to live, after spending time with your loved ones, where would you go what would you do?

That’s a great question. Does it have to be one destination? I kind of mentioned it before, but groups of friends make trips better. So if I had two months to live, I’d probably try to see where my friends can go or try to visit a lot of people. I would try to get all my friends to meet up someplace in the mainland or on a trip to Kaua’i. I’d try and break it up into like a week and a half and just try and see as many of the friends I’ve made as possible. That’s what’s that’s what’s been amazing to me. With Instagram, when I travel I usually meet people from different places with different experiences. I end up following up with these people and we talk back and forth and I still DM most of them. I’d hate to not see them again. If I knew I had two months to live, I’d want to go say hi. I think that would be a big thing for me, after family of course. 

Diving into the weekend like… pc: @storyofsage

A post shared by Adventure Travel Cliff Diving (@adventuremandan) on

Yeah, definitely. Where are you going next? Can you tell us the next place you’re off to?

Well, as I mentioned before, my work right now has me kind of stuck in Hawaii. Next week I’m going to be going to Maui, Kaua’i and the Big Island all in one week. Beyond that, I’ve been looking into going to Iceland and Faroe Islands. A lot of the stuff that I’ve done recently has been tropical, so I’m trying to mix it up.

Good stuff. Okay, we’re going to wrap this up now. I’d like to end this with a little piece of Dan the Adventure Man. Can you tell the audience something about you that they wouldn’t get from going on your YouTube your Instagram? Embarrassing, fun, unique, whatever the case may be.

I grew up a nerd. I can juggle and unicycle at the same time. I haven’t done a lot of that with the YouTube stuff. I think a lot of people see the fearless Adventure Man Dan going up to the cliffs and jumping off. I don’t show a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff.

Well Dan, I really appreciate you coming on the show. You are truly the adventure man. Juggling and unicycling at the same time is pretty interesting. Again, thank you so much for coming on the show.

Thanks you for having me. It’s been good. I’m looking forward to checking out Driftr when it comes out.

You can check out Dan on Instagram @adventuremandan or on YouTube. Thanks for tuning in to another episode of The Best Travel Podcast. If you know anyone who passionate about travel, subscribe, rate, and share this podcast. By sharing you can inspire others to discover the world because let’s be honest: aside from friends and family, that’s what’s important.

Noelle Coley

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