I am currently an MBA student at IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain. Before business school, I worked as a project manager at a commercial real estate developer in El Segundo. I am an avid traveler and mountaineer. As of January 2021, I have visited 69 countries, all 50 US states, Antarctica, Greenland, Western Sahara, and a few other territories, mostly solo.
My passion for travel started in the 6th grade when I had to memorize every country and capital in the world for an exam. I then decided to make it my goal to visit all these places.
In college, I was able to plan my first adventure: a road trip to transport my car from LA to St. Louis. After that, I took my first solo international trip to Istanbul, Turkey. Then the next year I took my first long-term trip: 4 weeks in Australia, Brunei, and Malaysia. These gave me the skills, confidence (and trust from my parents) to travel solo for 3 months around the world after graduating college. I visited Hong Kong, Vietnam, Nepal, India, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa – all with just two outfits! A few memorable moments from that trip were chartering a rescue helicopter with fellow trekkers from the Mount Everest region, dancing in front of thousands at the Bonalu festival in Hyderabad, India, and shaving my head to enter the most visited religious site in the world: a Hindu temple in Tirupati, India.
I then started my career in real estate and, despite the constraints of a full-time job and an entry-level salary, was able to continue traveling by pushing myself to see how much I could fit into my limited vacation days. I was able to travel more than 30 weekends a year by living at home and taking advantage of every flight deal I could find: whether it was a $40 roundtrip to Buffalo, NY in the winter or a mistake fare for a 3-day weekend to Spain. The wildest trip taken during this period was to the Republic of the Congo where I took a 300-mile public bus ride between the country’s two largest cities (Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire) and was confronted by armed soldiers asking for bribes. I then spent the night in a village near the Angola border where I was the first foreign tourist to ever visit. Another fun trip was on United Airlines’s famed Island Hopper flight to the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Guam. When flying back at 7 am on New Year’s Day from Guam, I crossed the International Date Line back to December 31st and was able to celebrate New Year’s Eve a second time in Honolulu!
Living abroad in Barcelona these past two years has been unique for me because I have been experiencing a place on a much deeper level. As a resident, I have to deal with things that tourists do not have to: gaining/maintaining residency, getting healthcare, following local news stories, and making friends. I also learned that many assumptions that we take for granted are not universally true. For example, Spaniards learn that North and South America are a single continent.
There have been many lessons learned on the road, but I have three to share with the Brentwood community.
1. International travel does not have to be expensive and can be accessible to most if planned correctly. Backpacker hostels in most parts of the world are under $10/night and there are programs such as Woofer, Couchsurfing, and working holiday schemes where you can stay for free while working part-time.
2. People, for the most part, are good and governments are not representative of the people. Just because you disagree with the government does not mean that the people living there are evil. In fact, it is often in these unexpected places where I have met the most remarkable people.
3. Adventuring is a mindset and does not need to take place in a remote destination. By challenging yourself and being creative, you can find adventures anywhere. Examples in LA could be to walk the entire length of a famous street such as Wilshire Blvd from Downtown to the ocean or to spend a half-day in each of the 15 Council Districts. The possibilities are endless!
To read more about my adventures, visit BryceCaster.com or follow me on Instagram @brycecaster.