Meet Colin Wright, a renaissance man of the digital age. His internet footprint is a wonder to behold but I think his travel habits are truly mind blowing. Every four months he moves to a new country he’s never lived in before, as chosen by his readers.
This means I can sit on my couch with my laptop and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and vote to send him off to live in Ecuador. Or Japan. Or Andorra. I wouldn’t let strangers on the internet choose what color shirt to wear, let alone what part of the world I should move to and if that doesn’t impress you then you are a clearly a robot in dire need of a software upgrade.
As Colin takes a casual lap around the country before moving to a new country, he will pass through the North State and has agreed to speak with our fine citizens at the O Street Gallery. The date/time/location are to be determined but it’s looking like some time in the first week of December. That’s worth putting down my ice cream and heaving myself from the Matt-sized divot on my couch for sure.
1) Who are you and what’s your deal?
I’m Colin Wright, and I’m an author, entrepreneur, and full-time traveler. I write books for a living, co-founded Asymmetrical Press, have been blogging at ExileLifestyle.com for over five years, and have been moving to a new country every four months based on the votes of my readers for that same amount of time.
2) What’s your view right now?
It’s actually funny that I’m sitting at a pool right now: there’s this stereotype about folks who travel full-time and work from their laptops lounging around in hammocks on beaches, and working poolside. I’m much more of a cold-weather fan, so I’m generally far more likely to be found sitting inside with a heater or fireplace nearby, drinking coffee and working. Staring out the window at a storm or snow. I find myself in Florida at the moment, though, trying to get slightly less pale while visiting my sister, and before I’m back in colder regions of the country for the holidays.
3) Who would play you in a movie about your life?
Strangely, I’ve actually had one of my narrative nonfiction (memoir) books optioned to be turned into a movie, so I know who the movie industry would choose (though I’m not supposed to say who was attached to that effort, contractually). I can say that I’ve had a lot of people, at different points, tell me that I look like Ethan Hawke, Michael C. Hall, and Guy Pearce, depending on the haircut, density of stubble, and things like that.
4) Everyone has a superpower. What’s yours?
I’m pretty good at empathizing and seeing things from many standpoints. It’s not something I was born with, but over the years it’s become a focus of how I travel, what I write about, and how I evolve my own sense of morality.
5) When you’re traveling, what are some corners you aren’t willing to cut?
You have to be pretty flexible to get the most out of the travel experience, and sometimes that means being uncomfortable, inconvenienced, and happy under imperfect circumstances (pretty much always that last one, actually).
There are things I like to have, like good coffee and hot water, but I tend to enjoy myself even when those types of things aren’t available. For me, travel is about new experiences and stimuli, and as a result, I don’t try to bring my familiar environment and habits with me. I make the best of whatever’s offered up by my new home.
6) What always cheers you up?
Stepping back from whatever momentary concerns I’m mulling over and thinking, “Holy hell, this is what I get to do for a living. This is how I get to live my life.” Perspective can be an incredible thing when you allow yourself to remember how fortunate you are.
7) If you could have dinner anywhere in the world tonight, where would it be?
Right here. There are a lot of amazing places in the world, and I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of amazing meals with amazing people, but I find longing and living in the past or being mentally elsewhere keeps me from enjoying what’s in front of me. Wherever I find myself, I try and focus on the sights and sounds and personalities and tastes around me.
I have no idea what I’ll end up having for dinner tonight, here in Tampa, but I know that I’ll be present for it!
8) What skill do you wish you could have downloaded into your head instantly, like in The Matrix?
I really wish I picked up languages more easily. I speak decent Spanish and maybe a half dozen other languages ‘functionally’ (meaning I do okay with pronunciation, can read signs, and know a few dozen words, but couldn’t hold an intelligible conversation), but languages are not something I pick up easily, and I feel it would open up a lot of doors if they did.
9) Star Trek or Star Wars?
But if I had to choose between just those two, I’d probably opt for Star Trek. Both are great, but Trek had some amazing writers in the classic sci-fi vein.
10) What’s the question you wish I had asked?
How many Tetris arcade machines around the world do you have the high score on?
Matt Grigsby was born and raised in Redding but has often felt he should have been born in Italy. By day he’s a computer analyst toiling for the public good and by night he searches airline websites for great travel deals. His interests include books, movies, prowling thrift shops for treasure and tricking his friends into cooking for him. One day he hopes to complete his quest in finding the best gelato shop in Italy.