Laden Jiracek has traveled to 80 countries and is the host of the Travel Wisdom podcast. Laden shares tips to Jason’s audience on how they can make friends while traveling solo and why it’s important for any new traveler to keep an open mind. Laden also talks a little bit about his podcast and some of his guests who have inspired him.

Key Takeaways:

[4:15] Laden likes to travel to countries where he doesn’t understand the language.

[6:30] At what point can you say you’ve officially been to a country?

[9:55] Who are some of Laden’s favorite guests he’s had on his podcast?
[12:50] How can people travel the world? What should they do?

[18:15] There’s a lot of single travelers out there, how do they meet locals and make friends?

[22:15] Couch Surfers and Meetup.com hosts events all over the world that you can attend and meet new people.

Mentioned In This Episode:

CouchSurfing.com

Meetup.com

TravelWisdomPodcast.com

Tweetables:

“Memrise is like a flashcard program, but it uses memes, which are just clever tricks to like remember words.”

“The first thing you do before you leave to a new country is you have to change your mindset.”

“I had one guest who got kidnapped, but it was in Bangladesh and apparently it was a very polite and cordial thing.”

Transcript

Jason Hartman:

It’s my pleasure to welcome Laden Jiracek. He is the host of The Travel Wisdom Podcast and in doing his show, he is has learned a lot about, not just how to travel, but more important the why of travel and what travel does in terms of enriching us all as people and the things that can lead to success in other endeavors in our life. Laden, welcome, how are you?

Laden Jiracek:

I’m doing great. It’s a pleasure to be on the show.

Jason:

It’s good to have you. So, you’re coming to us from Dresden, Germany, is that correct?

Laden:

Yes, sir.

Jason:

Fantastic and you’re moving soon, right?

Laden:

Yeah, I’m getting ready to move to Bangalore, India.

Jason:

Wow, that’s exotic. The Silicon Valley of India.

Laden:

Yeah, exactly. Never been there before in my life, never been to India, but getting ready to move there and live there for at least eight months, so yeah, we’ll see how it goes.

Jason:

I’ve only been to New Delhi there. I’ve been to 74 countries and India was one of them and I’ve only been to New Delhi and India, it’s primitive, so get ready. I wonder if it’s like that in Bangalore, though, because that’s sort of the tech hub of India, that’s the Silicon Valley of India, so I’m kind of curious. I can’t wait to hear more from you about it.

Laden:

Exactly. I’m very curious as well. I think it’s kind of like, it has like a duality. On one side it’s very, very hi-tech and I’ve seen pictures of like the Google building, you know, complete glass buildings and just shined up and polished and looks amazing and then like literally 50ft away is –

Jason:
Is a rickshaw and a dirty, right? Yeah.

Laden:

Exactly. Ox pulled cart, but the thing I’m scared about generally over there is – I guess there’s like rolling black outs, so electricity turns off for part of the day and even water. Water is only one for two-three hours of the day, because the elevation over there. So, I’m a little bit nervous about that. We’ll see how that goes long term.

Jason:
That is just crazy. You know, I gotta tell you by the way in doing my show and interviewing all these people who are expats. I have a significant contingent of people who are kind of, I call them the America haters, you know, the people who think America is going to hell in a hand basket – they are Americans, you know, but they’re like oh, I gotta move to Costa Rica or something and every time I talk to these people, everyone in the show.

First of all, they always have crappy internet connects and they always have constantly I hear things like, oh, you know what, I’m sorry I had to change the appointment on you, but we had a black out this morning and so the power was out for about 45 minutes and it messed up my schedule. I mean, really, you really think that’s better than living in the states? I don’t get it honestly, but I’m anxious to hear what you’ll say moving from, you know, an advance country like Germany to India. That’s going to be an interesting contrast for sure.

Laden:

Yeah, there’s pros and cons to every country. I mean, even, I don’t know if I’d necessarily be one of those America haters, but I definitely, I don’t like it there. I don’t want to moving there in the next – I don’t want to be living in the next like, five years or something like that. I really..

Jason:

There meaning the US?

Laden:

Yes. Yes.

Jason:

What’s your nationality? Are you American?

Laden:

Yes, I am American, actually.

Jason:

Do you have a German passport as well.

Laden:

No, I don’t. I’m actually – my background is Slovak, that’s where my parents are from and I’m in the process of getting a Czechoslovakian passport.

Jason:

Okay. SO why don’t you want to live in the states in the next five years? What do you think? Do you think America’s falling apart like so many of my guests do?

Laden:

A little bit. I have to stop watching a really good show, The Daily Show with John Stewart. I love the show, but it just angered me every time, you know. I’m just like, I can’t believe, I can’t believe this, but anyways, that’s not really the biggest issue. For me, it’s not as interesting. You know, it’s kind of like been there done that. I know what’s going to happen and frankly I can speak the language so I know what everyone is talking about and that just kind of makes it less interesting when everybody around is you is like speaking a foreign, exotic language it’s like, oh, what are they saying? Maybe they are saying something really smart and as I’ve been living here in Germany now 18 months I am kind of realizing, yeah, they’re not really saying anything that smart.

Jason:

Right, exactly.

Laden:

They’re not philosophizing over anything that intelligent.

Jason:

Yeah, that’s interesting. Well, that will be an interesting adventure for you. So, tell us about your sort of angle on your show. You have this angle of that why of travel. That it’s really important as an enriching experience, right?

Laden:

Absolutely. So, actually, I’m very blessed because my family, as I mentioned, they are from Slovakia, so like, Eastern Europe, kind of close to Poland, so we would go to Europe a lot and that’s why Europe for me is just like home and just like Mexico and so traveling was kind of like in my blood. For a very long time and then, yeah, it was the first year of college and I was going to do my summer semester and my mom basically bribed me not to do. She was like I will buy you a plane ticket to wherever you want to go, just don’t do the summer semester because it’s going to be too much work.

So, okay, you know, I literally went up to a friend that I knew for two months by that point and was just like, hey man, wanna go to Russia with me? He’s like, okay, and it was just that easy, and so yeah. This kind of sparked a yearly tradition of going every summer to certain, you know, certain areas. So, that first year was a nonsensical trip that completely doesn’t make sense when I think about it and look at it on a map, but it was Russia, Greece, Belgium, France, UK, and then the second year was kind the Middle East so like Turkey, Georgia, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, UAE, and stuff like this and then the third year was Cairo to Johannesburg in Africa.

So, basically, yeah, doing this. I’ve traveled to slight a tad bit more than you, 80 countries now, but I don’t know if it’s the same for you, but it kind of gets difficult like, at what point do you say you’ve been to a country, like, do you have to be there for like three-four-five days or a week or what’s a country, because I’ve been to some places like Nagorno-Karabakh, which is like not officially authorized by the UN, but they are also, you know, it gets a little complicated.

Jason:

Okay, so I’ll tell you my things and maybe when I’m on your show, we’ll talk about this too, but I was in Belize once. I’ve been to Belize a couple of times and you know, of course I’ve now got a spreadsheet with all 74 of the countries that I’ve visited and I was in Belize, Guatemala is right next door, so my buddy and I, we walked over the border into Guatemala, went through customs, went to a little shake basically, Guatemala is a very primitive country, and went to a little shack and had a beer and took a picture and I count that as one of my 74 countries and then we walked back. So, other people have different requirements. Is it sleeping there a night is it just going through customs and getting a stamp in your passport? Is it having a beer? Is it hooking up with a girl? I’m just saying people have different definitions I’ve heard them all.

Laden:

That last one was funny.

Jason:

But yeah, I’m not going to say that I am an expert in Guatemala as an example. I count the Vatican and Monaco. Those are countries, technically, so you know, anyway. There you go.

Laden:

Very cool.

Jason:

My definition. You know, I remember my first trip to Europe as an adult. I was born in Europe, but my first trip there as an adult. You know, that was such an incredibly eye-opening experience for me, you really can’t describe it. There’s just something you glean from traveling like that that, I don’t know if you can really get it any other way.

Laden:

I think you can. You can kind of emulate it. You can do it, but the really important thing about it and as I’ve talked to more and more people, I try to find the essence of what it is that makes it so special and I think it’s the fact that you talk to people that are completely different from you, that are completely different from anything that you would ever, ever come into contact with.

I mean, for example, if you’re in Minneapolis, for example, then you know, you mostly talk to people who are from Minneapolis and you wouldn’t talk to the Somali goat herder or the Tibetan monk or the Germany, I don’t know, cheese maker or whatever, but that’s something that you very easily come into contact with when you’re traveling and that..

Jason:

And dear Somali goat herders in Minneapolis, I’m sorry if we missed you on that one.

Laden:

You are a unique bunch and come get on my show. I would love to interview you. So yeah, I think it’s these conversations, actually, that change, you know, the perspective on how your look at the world and what’s important to you and be like, oh, well this person does things this way, yeah, they seem to be doing okay, so really it’s just a matter of opinion and it really expands your horizons and it gives you wisdom, which is why I named the show Travel Wisdom.

Jason:

Yeah. Tell us about some of your guests. I see you had Peter Sage on. I’m just publishing my episode with him today on my Creating Wealth podcast. That’s episode 490 on that show and Peter Sage, interesting guy, but you had bunch of really interesting guests on your show. Tell us about some of your favorites and what you’ve learned from some of them?

Laden:

Peter Sage was great. It was really good to hear all his stories and he he has so many inspirational, you know, like – the thing that sticks out in my mind is Marathon de la soul. I don’t know, my French is not very good, but it’s the five day marathon in a row and then I think on the fourth day it’s like a double marathon and it’s through the Sahara Desert, so probably the most intense race, foot race ever that you could ever do in men – that mankind could ever do and he did it and his story of that is awesome. It’s very inspirational and I mean, he just really had some setbacks even in the beginning before it started it was amazing how he could get through it.

So, really, it’s amazing to hear his success stories and all the stuff he’s done. He’s a serial entrepreneur and started many successful companies and now doing space related companies, so it’s really cool. Yeah, there’s just really amazing guests so far and I had a Chris Guillebeau on the show as well and actually a very popular guest was Steve Kaufmann of Linq. He does language learning. He’s a 69 year old who started learning more or less a lot of languages at the age of 59 and since then, since 59, he’s learned five additional languages and I speak Czech actually as well, so I test him out and he’s pretty good. Like, I think he would with some brushing up with a day or two, you know, in the country, he would get back and he would do whatever he wanted to do, which kind of dispels the notion that you can’t learn lanauges when you’re old, because he started at 59 and is currently learning at 69, yeah, anybody can do it.

Another one I guess I would say is Ben Whately of Memrise. As you can tell, I like this language learning stuff. This is a vocabulary learning program. Like a flashcard program, but it uses mems, which are just clever tricks to like remember words, so I’ll teach you a German word right now. The German word for dedicated is widmen and it’s just like, man, how am I going to remember this widmen and they have the mem on there, like one of the pictures of a fat guy eating a sandwich and it’s wide men dedicate themselves to eating sandwiches, boom, and you just remember it forever.

That image sticks with you forever and it just really helps put it in your head and actually the reason I like it so much is because I got invited to a conference later on, because of the interview and it just opened up so many doors and because of that, I really that, because of that interview, I may have a business that I might be starting in India, which will be accident reduction training, which I’m surprisingly qualified for.

Jason:

That’s interesting, okay. Good, good stuff. So, what advice would you give to people who want to really travel and see more of the world? For example, where should they start? I think that’s a good question. If they haven’t done much travel so far and they want to take on the globe and start really becoming enriched by this, any recommendations?

Laden:

Yeah, so, the first thing you do before you leave, you have to change your mindset. There’s a few mindsets that you have to, you know, kind of be cognizant of. So, one of them is that the world is safe. It’s more or less just as safe as the city that you’re in and so really, that’s not a big deal and also, I like to, the reason I’m doing this podcast is because it’s to justify kind of being able to spend more money, because when it’s not just the vacation, when it’s not just a frivolous expenditure, it becomes, you know, when it becomes a learning experience and something that is an investment into your future and into your success, into your knowledge, then kind of, it’s worth a little bit more money, at least in my mind, and I’m a little bit more willing to like really invest the time and energy and effort to absorb as much as I can.

Yeah, I mean, last thing, kind of money is not as important. So, my listeners are usually like students like anywhere from 18 to 25, something like this, and generally, the tickets very in price. You can get it anywhere from $300 to $1500 for a round trip ticket somewhere, but generally I like to calculate also about $900 to $2,000 per month of living somewhere and this also depends on the country you go and how fast you travel and all this, but generally, yeah, about $1,200 a month is enough and, I mean, I don’t know about your financial situation, but $1,200, even within a year. I think that’s very possible to save up, but I mean, if you do want to do it and if you’re on a budget, then I would definitely recommend Central America, like what you said, Guatemala or something like this. I heard Nicaragua is very nice, very cheap, and yet very safe, very interesting.

Jason:

I hear you might get kidnapped in Nicaragua, but okay.

Laden:

Well, I don’t know. I’ve never – I actually had one guest who got kidnapped, but it was in Bangladesh and apparently it was a very polite and cordial thing.

Jason:

Kidnapping as kidnappings go, right? Yeah.

Laden:

Exactly yeah. They’re asking him, it was Wandering Earl. They were asking like, please, please take out your money out of your ATM and he just in puts the wrong pin code. They had him for two-three days. Like, fed him really nice, like were really nice to him, and eventually there was one time where they brought his bag or something like this and he just kind of was able to run away and nothing happened. I mean, things like this do happen.

Generally I’ve been safe, I’ve traveled for over a year, you know, like extreme backpacking, different place every few days and I’ve never really had any problems. I’ve been robbed once while I was sleeping on the train in Romania and that was just a $100 Euros disappeared out of my wallet. That’s it. Other wise, places are generally safer than you might expert, but yeah, Nicaragua, this is also actually.

You mentioned Four Hour Work Week and this series of books has been an inspiration. I think he talks about this doing some medical tourism in Nicaragua and kind of breaking down the costs and how you can rent a beach front villa for you and your ten friends for a week for cheaper than surgery in the states and then have that same surgery by the best doctor in Central America.

Jason:

I remain skeptical of that by the way. I think that the medical care in America is pretty awesome, but whatever. I just think that’s a huge risk. Look, is someone is not able to afford it here, then I understand it, but if you have the choice and you have the money, I would be very. I have heard some horror stories about medical tourism. I’m not saying it’s all bad, I’m jut saying you really have to be careful. This is your life you’re dealing with, okay, you know.

Laden:

Well, I mean, of course I guess it depends what it is, you know, and if it’s like, I guess like an optional thing and maybe how well you researched it. You know, for example, I’ve done dentist work in other countries and it’s been okay and generally when you come back. I mean, the dentists can comment on the previous work of the last dentist and be like wow, what happened here?

Jason:

And you’re assuming it’s dental, which is not as serious probably.

Laden:

Yeah, yeah.

Jason:

So, any other insights you want to share with people?

Laden:

Yeah, basically I just want to teach on my podcast that traveling is easier than you might expect and cheaper than you might expect and would teach you more than you might expect, especially memories and I guess skills that really can translate into work, personal life, friends, family, all this kind of stuff, and it really, you come back a better person when you do travel.

Jason:

Yeah, it’s definitely a good thing to do. It’s very enriching. You talk about the social aspect of travel and in the US, at least, I don’t know world wide, but marriage is becoming pretty unpopular frankly. We’ve now. I read an article about this recently in the states, marriage rates are lower than they’d ever been. You have a lot more single travelers now, you know, whether they are literally traveling solo or they’re just single people travel and one of the big things they want to do is they want to get engaged with a social network. Any tips on networking, dating, getting involved in the community. It would be so awesome if you could just go somewhere and just sort of have an instant social life, wouldn’t it?

Laden:

Absolutely. I mean, of course, I’ve done my fair share of single traveling and enjoyed it very much, there’s definitely ways to do it. So, I mean, I really like dating podcasts, even though I have a girlfriend. I really like the social aspects of it and what it means and a lot of them a of times..

Jason:

I can’t imagine she’s okay with you listening to dating podcasts, but okay.

Laden:

Honestly, I’m subscribed to like 50 podcasts, so she doesn’t even know and I can justify it.

Jason:

She might know now.

Laden:

Yeah! Well, so the thing that really interests me in the dating podcasts is they talk about cold approaches a lot, which is basically, you know, you’re at a bar or something like this and you just literally go up to a girl and be like, hey, you know, why are clouds white? And just start a conversation and then step three, you know, is a relationship or something like this.

My experience and my, I don’t find that as pleasant, but I highly recommend, yeah, basically groups and services and stuff like this, so there’s something called Couch Surfing and I highly, highly, highly recommend it. Not only because it saves you money and literally cuts your travel expenses in half, but also when you do coach surfing and you stay with someone after you’ve checked their profile and written with them, I don’t know, Skype or something like that if you want as well, call them, you get to know them very well, and I’ve found that over 50% of the time, they take you out to some kind of social event – be it a house party or just a meeting or some kind of gathering or generally to meet some of their friends.

When you do that, you’re network is expanded in the country and you just, you meet so many more people, but not in just like a superficial like being in a bar way, but it’s like, oh, we really talked and we had a good conversation and know we know a little bit about each other, so later on if the two of us are up somewhere and the other person knows somebody else and they can introduce me in a useful way and be like oh, this is so and so, he loves making bowling balls. I don’t know, stupid example, but just something like this and I find this is much more useful than doing the cold approaches because it’s more, I guess, natural to what humans are suppose to do and so this is very useful especially if you’re in a are around the type of person you want to meet, you know, for relationship and stuff like this. I tell you..

Jason:

So, the Couch Surfing, before you go on though, I just want to talk – finish the Couch Surfing thing. With the Couch Surfing issue, you know, what do you do if you’re a higher-end travel. I mean, Couch Surfing is kind of for kids, you know, it’s for young people that don’t mind if they get crappy accommodations, etc, and it is social and I’ve read some funny articles about Couch Surfing and so forth, you know, any advice for people that don’t want to sleep on someone’s couch.

Now, you can do Airbnb and I was just talking with a woman yesterday who is successful woman, has a Masters degree, lives in Austin, and she rents rooms out of her house via Airbnb and it’s really not even so much for the money, it’s just enjoys it. You know, she meets all kinds of people, they just come to her house. People from every where in the world and I said, have you ever had a bad experience? She goes, no! It’s been great. Wow. That’s really cool, you know?

Laden:

Well, I don’t do couch surfing a lot of times for the money, also, but now, yeah, sometimes you do want privacy and yeah, so, I’ve done Airbnb and the benefit with Airbnb too is you can get some really cool stuff like tree houses, boat houses.

Jason:

It’s really interesting, yeah.

Laden:

Yeah, that’s definitely a memory. Like, you stay in a year and it’s just like, you come back and you’re like, guys, guess what I did, and the benefit there too is a lot of times you do meet the owners. I guess with coach surfing you’re more obligated, I guess, to spend more time and talk with them a little bit more. Airbnb, not so much, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to – I mean, you can still attend a couch surfing event, you know, in a city or a meet up event.

So, you’re there, you know, just look it up, look up these two websites. Meetup.com or Couch Surfing and see if there’s some interesting event going on in the area while you’re staying there and that’s a great way to meet people as well and, you know, when I was living in Berlin a few years ago, it was, it was amazing. Like, I mean, in Berlin it was like literally like, only on Couch Surfing there’s like three-four-five events per day and actually I’m really excited now going to Bangalore, because on Meet Up..

Jason:

Like an event like a meet up, is that, a Couch Surfing meet up? I mean, people, what do they do? Just go meet at a coffee shop or something?

Laden:

Yeah, pretty much. I mean, it depends. I mean, with both of these, it can be either just like, yeah, just people in the area or traveling through or locals meeting up and people meeting to do yoga or people meeting to do poetry reading or underwater basket weaving, you know, literally almost anything that you want and especially in the bigger cities, it’s a little bit more popular and I’m really excited, because in Bangalore where I’m going to be moving, there’s like 30 meet ups per day and I’m just like, wow, there’s literally almost any topic that I would ever want, you know, and I can just attend it and, you know, see if it interests me, and see if I strike a chord with people there and make some friends and that as a single travel is really good, because if you don’t have like a meaningful conversation after, I would say, 24 hours as a single traveler, you kind of start going a little bit, I don’t know, cabin crazy or stir crazy. It’s like wow, man, I need to, I need to talk to somebody.

Jason:

Yeah, you feel homesick.

Laden:

Yeah, exactly and this can kind of make the home sickness go away, because I mean, obviously if you’re having fun, then you can’t dwell on how much you miss home.

Jason:

Yeah, good stuff. Well, give out your website and tell people where they can find the show and find out more about what you do.

Laden:

Yeah, thank you. My name is Laden and you can find me on iTunes, Travel Wisdom Podcast or TravelWisdomPodcast.com and yeah, also for your guests, specially for your guests, if you have any questions or you want to personally ask me any questions, you can write me at [email protected] and I’ll personally write. Any suggestions, maybe we can hop on Skype and talk about whatever you want. Share my knowledge with you. That’s just what I want to do is be able to share my knowledge and show that travel really is a beneficial thing.

Jason:

Laden, thank you for joining us.

Laden:

Thank you, it has been my pleasure.

Announcer:

This show is produced by the Hartman Media Company, all rights reserved. For distribution or publication rights and media interviews, please visit www.hartmanmedia.com or email [email protected]. Nothing on this show should be considered specific personal or professional advice. Please consult an appropriate tax, legal, real estate or business professional for individualized advice. Opinions of guests are their own and the host is acting on behalf of Platinum Properties Investor Network Inc. exclusively.

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