No Ordinary Adventure

From Armchair Traveler to Travel with Meaning. The Man Behind TWM Podcast

June 02, 2022 No Ordinary Adventure by UnCruise Adventures
No Ordinary Adventure
From Armchair Traveler to Travel with Meaning. The Man Behind TWM Podcast
Show Notes Transcript

Fresh out of another great adventure in the Sea of Cortez exploring all things wild with UnCruise, Mike Schibel, the founder of the Travel with Meaning Podcast shares some of his encounters with Captain Dan. From a career in Hollywood entertainment to authentic travel storytelling, Mike has created a space for travelers from all walks of life to share dreamy encounters from around the world. His enthusiasm for travel and building community sparked the idea to launch the Travel With Meaning platform now in its fifth season with an organically grown community. A motivating and moving discussion hits on everything from the pillars of travel, to the "new ROIII", yes, three I's, and what's next on their list!

Captain Dan and Mike share their passion for entrepreneurship and the undertaking of building brands and epic adventures. Discover some behind-the-scenes stories, how to design more meaningful getaways, raise awareness of the need for sustainable and authentic travel, and reminders of how to slow down in the mega world around us. Plus a chance to share your own story with Mike to possibly be featured on the TWM podcast. Stay tuned, subscribe and listen anywhere, anytime!

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Hey adventures. Welcome to the no ordinary adventurer podcast, a place we call home for adventure and the conversations you want to have. We bring you inspiration stories from the field and talk with adventure travelers and industry experts from around the world. This is the place to fill your heart and head with tribal knowledge. Now, your host Dan Blanchard, a lifelong Mariner traveler, and CEO of UnCruise Adventures, a small boat adventure company defining the icon in UnCruise. Let's get started. Hello, everybody, and welcome to no ordinary adventure with me Captain Dan Blanchard, the owner and CEO of UnCruise Adventures. And I have a special friend to the industry on with me today. I think I did one of my first podcast with Mike, right. Oh my gosh, it must have been in April or May of 2020, when we were still trying to figure out all this stuff. But Mike is the founder of travel with meaning at travel with and is just a wonderfully good hearted guy. And what we're hoping to do today is, is kind of dip into Mike psyche a little bit, learn about what makes him tick. And really, I think this is super important as we depart COVID or, you know, I'm not quite sure where we're at with all that. But that we will look at travel in a different way. And, and that, you know, maybe every footstep we make from here, our life has a little more value a little bit more meaning, and particularly when we travel in foreign places away from our homeland, and experiencing life. So with that, Mike, welcome, brother. Dan, wonderful to see you again. And thank you so much for having me on the burger. Yeah, and you and I have just prior to the program, we're talking about our puppies, we both have pups sitting outside our doors are very close to us, you know, just made me smile as well. So what a great way to start the podcast? No. And we both are puppies just yearning to be with us. Absolutely. There's nothing better than a popper dog animal that you got by your side? That's for sure. Yeah, no kidding, especially these days? Well, let's start start talking a little bit about what does travel with meaning really provide? What are the things that are really pillars of what travel with meaning is all about? Thanks, Dan. Again, thank you again, for having me on the program. And thank you for everything that you and your team at UnCruise. Dear, I think you guys do a phenomenal job. You know, when I when I first launched travel with meaning I had a lot of people say to me what is meaning? Like I had figured out some secret sauce in life. And you know, I would always say to everyone, well, what do you want it to be? Because you see travel is personal to each and every one of us. And what I've learned from talking to hundreds and hundreds of people over the last several years is there are certain things pillars, as you said that people will share their part of their meaningful stories. If they come up organically in conversations that people will start sharing that really resonated with them that meant something to them, it left a lasting impression on them. That so much so that it's much like you just said the pillars allowed me to really create these principles of meaning. So to your to your question, what is this? What are we trying to do? We're trying to get people just to really stop. And to appreciate those moments and to have and to share these extraordinary adventures that really move, touch and inspire us. Let's face it, we're all pretty much gonna put a lot of stuff on social media. I'm asking people not really to feel like they need to be in that moment. You can capture your content, but just be there. Be present and don't miss the magic of that adventure. Well, well, that's the that is the secret the magic of the adventure, isn't it? It's so awesome and wonderful. But tell me how does a guy that you know was basically an entertainment agent friendly Pasco to this kind of deep, soulful thing that is just so in my mind, kind of a rock star change in life. I mean, the truth is, I got fired by two of my clients, I got fired by two of my clients who were my two dear friends or so I thought and ironically enough, I had been doing a lot of self help work on myself that year. You know, I, previously I gotten divorced. And I was like, Okay, I'm in the space of figuring me out. And let's three to five months prior to this big firing, if you will. I've been in a self help workshop with two of my clients, you same to clients. And the question came up of what do you define success? And my one client says, Oh, when I get a TV show that success, and my other client who was a musician said, When I get my record deal, that success, and I looked like they turned to me and I said what success and I said, Well, when he gets a TV show and he gets a record deal. That's my success. What I realized was I didn't know myself and I was basing who I was off everyone else. And so what happened was, I got fired. And I decided, as opposed to go into work for another company or doing something else, I bought a one way ticket. And I started traveling. And through the course of my travels, I started just interviewing people, kind of as a way to really just be a solo traveler is a way to meet and connect people. And what I found is, no matter who you are, where you're from, or your background or country you grew up in, we're all a lot of like, and those moments and conversations really, were kind of that defining thing for me of, of what I really love. And what really inspired me. Well, that's, that is an awesome little tidbit of a start. I mean, that's just the corner of this iceberg. I know. But So you went from kind of having this entertainment agent, then you went into being an entrepreneur, that entrepreneurial thing was that always kind of buried in there. And you just kind of flourished when you started this or tell me how that worked. I mean, it's always been buried, it's always been something in my blood on a lot of levels, right, even from being a talent agent, just thinking outside the box. And I will say even in some early travels, when I bought that one way ticket, I probably spent way too much time thinking, wow, okay, what reality show can we create out of this? Or what can we do as opposed to really right, enjoying the moment? Yeah, a lot of things I truly did, I'm it false. I don't have the fault lessons learned. So a lot of stuff just kind of came from that. And what what I really realized when I when I came back, and tried to figure out what this job life situation looked like, nothing inspired me, I really missed these conversations, these connections with people. And I really stumbled upon travel with meaning as a way to continue to feed my curiosity and passion of connections with like minded travelers, I would go to networking events in LA and the travel industry is I've always had a passion for wanting to work in that industry. But I found that nobody ever talked about their travel stories people talked about, oh, the job they were gonna get or the free trip they took but nobody talked about, wow, the time that I was sailing in the Sea of Cortez or I was in Alaska, or I was in Italy, this happened to me, or that happened to me, I met this person. And I was longing for those stories that impacted people's lives that were kind of that was those wow moments. You know, I had kind of a similar awakening. When I took a couple of years off to go sailing across specific with my family and I came back it just urine me back to my entrepreneurial days and caused a big change. I mean, for you, you know, you had to not only remove barriers or in your own life, but what are the barriers that that you needed to, to get through to get into this whole travel adventure that you are doing? And I mean, I just got to believe that a lot of people first when they heard the title, meaningful travel said well done. And when they were maybe just as canned operation as ever, in other words, not anything was really meaningful. But they made me thought that it was. And I agree, I agree that, you know, everyone has their own value for what's meaningful. But I think for you and I it is more the experiential impacting society in a really positive way. Wherever you go, but But what were some of the things you came against as removing? And how did you remove barriers to get where you're at today, when I first was, was really pitching the idea, you know, when I, I came back from a trip, I think, was Bali in like 2015. Originally, I was I was doing like the yoga retreats to chat with meaning and that was going to be kind of a focus. And then I realized, I live in Venice Beach at the time, and everyone did yoga retreats, and I was really more focused on these stories. And I wanted to do more of that conversation. And the first initial barriers were people saying to me, like, who cares? Well, why would I want to hear other people's travel stories. And what I quickly realized is, don't listen to what other people say, if you believe in it, you go do it. And what what transpired from there is, I started hosting these live events. And my podcast initially was was all live show in 2016, we started hosting these live shows 2017 show hosting live shows, and we quickly just built this incredible community. And I could literally see when guests were sharing these stories and in front of an audience, you could see this look on on an audience members face, either they had some sort of connection to where this person was talking about, or they were going to their own place. And I could literally feel this from a guest sharing a story that they hadn't thought about and many, many years or ever told anyone. And so there was really something nostalgic and incredible happening that led me to believe that hey, I'm on this right path. And that's kind of been the thing over and over again is like there's a lot of times as an entrepreneur a lot of times that you're you know, you're you're you're literally building the plane as you're flying it and you're questioning a lot of the crap you're doing. Oh, how do I do this? Or how do I make money but at the end of the day, it's what do you love? Why are you doing this? And I still get a lot of people who email me and say, That episode or that story, wow, thank you don't stop, don't stop. And that's, that's kind of the fuel for the fire man. I mean, there's a million barriers. But you know, you find the thing you love and you just you keep going? Well, I mean, when you think about those travel stories, I like how you shared it is, you know, you kind of your original vision, we have a lot to do with health, wellness, yoga, this kind of thing. But as time went on, maybe could you share like maybe some memories, very memorable personal interactions you may have had with guests or travel stories and such that just kind of made you sit back. Like, I'll share an example with you. I just got this wonderful letter from a client raging about in a positive way, positively really gene about one of my salespeople, we had to move them from one boat to another. And, you know, there's some complication involved. But she came back and just said, you know, this is something I'm a seventh time traveler with you guys. And this is the I just have to thank you for dealing with things so well during adversity. And it just it made me feel so good. So what kind of feel goods do you have in your file cabinet that you can share with us from maybe guest interactions? So I recently had so one thing I've always believed is this has nothing to do with me and has everything to do with we write this isn't I hate, not the term influencer, but this isn't my child's podcast, I, I have my stories, I share stories from time to time, but I really believe in the we and I think as travelers, we really get that. So one thing we've been, we've traveled meaning I've been doing a lot in the last year, have been relying on a lot of our community to start sharing their stories, not just as guests on the podcast, but take over our social, you have stories, too. And one of them, one of our community members who's been sharing quite a bit of late said to me one time, we were talking on the phone and she she stopped as we got on the phone, she said, Oh, your voice, it just always reminds me of travel. And I stopped and I said that is probably the nicest thing that anyone has ever said to me. And please say it again. Yeah, it's those moments that you're like, Okay, you know, it's like, I sometimes I think of doing a podcast or doing what I do is, is that a level of when I used to have a radio show in college? And I'd be like, is anyone really listening? And then you'll get an email, you'll get someone to make a comment like that. And it just, you know, it's that reminder of, hey, you're on the path, you can just keep going, you know, if you could come back time, you know, let's go back to what was that that 2022 movie I just watched the other night, you know, time traveler or whatever it was. And if you could go back and just reset the clock. And, and kind of redo anything in your life. You know, what might that look like? What What would it look like for Mike to go back in time and look at different careers and places and whatnot. First, I'll say no regrets, right, we can't go backwards. But if I if I had a moment in something I actually have thought about from time to time over the last however many years. When I left and traveled for almost a year, I came back for a family thing. And I came back, I really have gone back and forth over the years thinking about this little hut that I was living in, in Northern Thailand, that was right on the river, had a hammock, had Wi Fi and was $6 a day. And there were many times I thought about what would have happened if I would have stayed there five more months, maybe this concept of a book I'm still working on maybe that would have flushed yourself out or you know, I'll spin myself out about the what should observe all that. I think for for the standpoint of not what I would have done differently professionally or or you know, taking this job or not left that job or blah, blah, blah. It's those moments of in that taught me huge lesson of like, I love my family deeply. But you know, my choice is my choice. And like I just if I would have stayed then so be it. And I yeah, I were to if I were to pick out a story, it would have involved a very similar thing. But in the Solomon Islands. Yeah, very, very similar. So let's let him win. We've been talking a lot of who really You and I are from a very soulful level, the meaning of travel, the meaning of interaction that we not me all this kind of thing. But let's talk a little bit about what you're the actual function of some of the things you do. Like we were sponsors of the game show that you had a while back, right. And I think for people who aren't familiar, it would be really cool if you could describe what the game show is how it works, but I thought it was very cool. We did an episode of The Game Show Actually, today we're on to Season Two already. So the whole concept of this game show is remember back when we started this pandemic and nobody was traveling and people have no idea what the heck was going on. But people were yearning for positivity and you know, travel inspiration. So we launched a game called Where is this and the concept is as simple as the name. We play through Instagram Live And we would show you an iconic image of a location for around the world. And you had five seconds to name where the location was the first season we did 22 people, we honestly, I had no idea what I was doing kind of making it up as we're going along. Dan, you're awesome. You played. And again, UnCruise is an amazing partner and sponsor gave her a huge prize to the grand champion was Zach Johnson. But we did 22 episodes. And then we did head to head competitions we had, it was so much fun. And I'll say this. The reason I keep playing it is every time we have an episode, or someone plays it, they're like, that was so much fun. That was, it is it's so much fun. And there was a moment where I my old Talent Agent mentality came out, I was like, well, let's sell the show. to I don't need to host the show. Let's sell the show. And there's still some conversations with people from time to time. But what I realized and what I've learned over the years is, as opposed to sitting there and getting stuck in oh, what does this look like, if that happens, I just keep playing the game. I just, I keep I keep playing the game. And now I use the game as almost that promotional tool for Hey, you're on the podcast, come join me on the game show. It's it's we could talk about the podcast as well. And we get to keep playing the game. So we're on to Season Two, we just did our I think it was seventh episode, and we're gonna have 12 contestants, and then we'll do the top four in the playoffs. So I think that is so fun. It's been fun. I mean, you kind of set it right there. Like it's one of the things it's an easy lift. It's not like I'm preparing too much. I have a lot of the slides ready. And it's it's kind of fun. And I honestly, it's like doing the podcast with some someone will message me after like, Oh, I thought of another story. I get I just got a message from the gentleman who was on today. And he was like, kicking myself over to have those answers. You know? Yeah, you are great. Dan, you had a good run? Well, thank you. I enjoyed it. I must say it was it. You know, like we were talking earlier, it was kind of early on. I was talking with Liz, who, you know, helped produce it from our end, as far as you know, setting it all up. And and you know, two years ago or a little more than two and a half years ago, we were still trying to figure out, do we have a Zoom Room? Can we do it from our desk? Which system should we use, and it was all kind of clunky to start with. But it really has come together. And as we all know, I mean, I half of my staff or more work from home today, which I think is super cool. But anyway, thanks for sharing that. Because that's kind of the guts of of a big thing. I feel that that you're doing and bringing out a very meaningful way to understand and grasp but travel with meaning early means that Yeah, I mean, I really do I'm honestly believe that. But what are some of the things? I mean, can you share with any of us, without disclosing too much any secret plans you might have for the future? Oh, wow. Yeah. Let me tell you all my secrets right now. Well, I think, you know, I don't think they're secret. I think if you don't put them out in the world, you know, confidently, you can't manifest those, as we like to say. So we'll finish Season Two of the game show, we got a bunch more podcasts coming out, I really just started doing in person podcast again, which is, there's a LinkedIn, it's great to talk to you through zoom, but there's nothing better than connecting with someone in person. So I'm hopefully close to also getting back into doing live events, intimate conversations with people and in conversations with a few different brands. And then the ultimate kind of goal is we want to have more of a residency, meaning that whether you're a small hotel or you're a property or venue, we'll do some intimate live talks with you. And if we're driving traffic to your, to your event, to your tour to your hotel, that's what we want to do. Because you what I've seen from doing these live events or even hosting the podcast is take someone to a restaurant they're going to eat you take them to a bar, they're gonna have some drinks, but if you talk travel, and you're telling people travel stories, you know, they want to travel and you know, I tell people all about even when I was on your incredible cruise and see Cortes people want to go they want to hear these stories. Because, you know, it's it's honestly it's selling travel without selling travel by telling them your incredible experiences and telling them what you've done. And, you know, they want some of that. That is a wonderful thing to inspire people to because I like you, I believe that there's a large commercial industrial tourism complex for sure. And I'm not saying that, that that doesn't have times to be meaningful, but there is a benefit to kind of pulling the curtain back oftentimes and leaving the masses and really experiencing traveling in a more meaningful way. And I think, do you you mentioned some of your trips that you that you've taken and how you wished you had stayed longer maybe in retrospect, but just from a very personal level could Is there any particular place and time and spirit you were in? It could be any of the all those When you're traveling, that just kind of stands out as kind of the epic experience of what you're trying to encourage people to, to go to. I think that the kind of bookend moments, and I'll share two of them are a sunrise sunset, right? I think we go back to the talking about, you know, appreciating the magic of when you're traveling, right? It's being present. And, and I know this resonates a lot with you and I, this is one of those principles, I hear from every single person, it's those moments about being present. Right. And so for me, I can remember a couple moments, but one in particular was in Bali, and I was on the Gili Islands, and I was doing like a little day kind of sailing around some islands. And there was a full moon rising on over one volcano, and there was a sun setting over the other volcano. And it was that moment of where I am in this moment, where I'm in my life and just stopping and just being grateful. And I think those are what those present moments are of just realizing that there's bigger things in the works. And, you know, you just kind of have to go with the flow and ride the waves of life and find those moments to be grateful, you know, and I can't always stay in that hut. I can't always, you know, dip out of where I think I need to be, but just enjoy those moments and everything else will work itself out. Yeah, you know, and I actually just heard from a guest two days ago, and I'll just share this with you. It's really kind of off script. But I think it's so important to what we're talking about, I had a guest share with me. And actually he was with his guide, and they walked up the dock after the end of the trip and in the guide introduced me to this fellow and he was traveling single and, and he basically he basically told me what he had told the guide where they're out on a kayak trip, there were five people out with the guide on a kayak trip. And like the guy said, was kind of at the beginning of the trip, kind of saying, you know, that's an awful small cabin for X 1000s of dollars a day for the guide, and he wasn't being bitchy or anything, it was just saying, you know, it's a small cabin. And, and you know, and then at the end of that trip, and it was an all day kayak, he said, the experiences I've had today, were worth the 10,000 bucks, I paid for this trip just in this one experience that I've never had. And they had, you know, just been paddling on Stillwater wildlife and sea life was popping up everywhere, the sound of the birds, they actually ran a cast a bear, and VR was eating mussels off the rocks, and they could hear that berry chewing on these mussels and barnacles. And, you know, those are the kinds of experiences that, uh, you and I are talking about that are that's the meaningful part of communing with nature, kind of the, you know, for sure. But that turned in community with me, which encouraged me and what I do and encourage the guide. It was just a middle of beautiful, beautiful, five minutes. For him sharing that with me, I have one more moment that I really would love to share with you. I would like that. And then this actually just happened recently, on my own cruise experience on the Sea of Cortez that was one of the most magical things that's ever happened to me in my life. So this was I'm a morning guy, I get a sunrise every morning and I had my routine on the boat, I'd get up every morning, be in the bow, they drop anchor, I do sit up there, I do my meditation, I read my journal and hang out one morning, I believe we're like Porto datos are one of those amazing places. You're just looking out and it's just like the most picturesque, incredible landscape, right kind of looks like Utah. It's reddish. It's gorgeous. There's not a cloud in the sky. I mean, it's just one of those still perfect mornings, right? No, no, when nothing, and I'm doing my little social media thing. I'm recording and recording over the bow. And literally a second and a half after I stopped in the middle of the sky fireball, and then it streaked across the sky. And I was like, What the was that? So I'm like looking around. I'm the only one in the bow. I start jumping up and down to see if anyone's in the bridge. Right? Nobody there. And I'm like, did I just make this up? Am I like hallucinating? I have no idea what's going on? Well, gosh, I go inside and the captain is right there. I tell her what I saw. And she was like, Oh, you just saw in media. And I was like, that's incredible. So I'm now I'm just like completely like jazz. This is great. I go to the back of the boat, and I'm looking for my partner, Nicole because I'm like, I gotta tell someone when I'm in to the other passengers standing right there, Bruce and Jane. And they were they were standing. I could tell they were looking out sort of in that direction. And I stopped and I said, Hey, did you guys just see and the moment I said that they both looked at me and said you saw it too. I watched and then what happened in that moment was the shared experience. Nobody else saw this like literally nobody else saw this. But the fact that the two of them saw it totally validated me. But we then had this incredible bond together and for the rest of the trip. I called them my Meteor amigos and But that was that was one of those moments that like, I have never experienced anything like that. That was so freakin cool. And so out of the ordinary, right? And just one of those things that like I think about, like literally I keep thinking about that over and over again since I came back now, I will say, Dan, I was I wanted to swim with Whale Sharks. I'm gonna do the sea lions. That wasn't our chip. We didn't get to. But it was a Zen moment for me being like, that's okay. I saw a meteor. Yeah, you know, I'm like, you know, you go with the flow. That was what I was. It was so unbelievable. That was what we're both working towards. I'm just reveling in the story. Thank you. Yeah. And, you know, as I keep saying, I think travel stories are these kits, that gold that we haven't really figured out how to mine yet. And I know what I've run into is that everyone's like, well, what's the ROI? And I keep coming back now with no, no ROI is pre pandemic, we have to look at the ROI i Now, what is your return on investment? What is your return on innovation, and inspiration, because of those stories come back, and they actually really create that opportunity for someone to travel. So I'm gonna have a story. It turns out of that. But I think as we go forward, we need to find ways to really bring everyone together to share their stories. I started travel with me and I started traveling because I never thought I fit in. I'm not athletic. I can't cook on this. But when you travel, you can be who you want to be. And you get to talk to who you want to talk to. And I just had the most extraordinary time talking to people as we were just cruising along, and I'm so nude still to the cruising world. And it's one of those things that every time I've been on three cruises, I'm like, How do I not do this more? This is incredible, because this is where people get to shut off. Chill out, take in the sights and really connect with themselves and others. Okay. Quick Response. Coffee or tea. Coffee. Quick Response. Civic or Atlantic? Pacific. Quick Response. rail, or bus? Real? Quick Response. sorbet. For ice cream survey. Ooh. Okay. Quick Response. North or South? North. Quick Response, Antarctica. Antarctica. I was gonna say, Antarctica or Arctic. In order good. Okay, cool. I love it. This is going to be a meaningful program. So how can I get in touch with you and follow you and get involved? Yeah, thank you. So traveled is easy, right? And then also all social handles, traveled meaning separate Twitter, just TW N worldwide? I don't know why. You know, one thing I'll say, Dan, is that I have a lot of great guests on the podcast, right. And there is only one of me and and I get just solicited over and over again, by incredible people to want to be on the podcast, which is very overwhelming, and also very, you know, rewarding that people want to share their stories, because everyone has a story to tell. We're starting to open this up where I've created more of a blanket kind of list of here's the questions for you to ask, here's things I want you to share. Because I'd love for your listeners, your guests, your guests on your on your trips, everyone has these stories. And it's not that I'm saying I don't want you on the podcast. But we're going to be starting a new portion, a new kind of segment within the show that says, Tell us your travel story. And so they can go on the website right now. And I think there's a little button for them to record. And then we're going to start to promote that and put that out more for people to either put themselves on camera or record a video, record audio. And we'll start to select some of those stories for people to share. But, you know, check us out travel with We'd love to hear from you. And most importantly, we'd love for you just to listen to the stories and hopefully they move touch inspire you to travel and get out there and see this world. Yeah, so UnCruise are so that are listening. Those of you who have, you know, often come on board and found other guests that you now travel with doing everything out there. Not just traveling with UnCruise. But going on bike trips and meaningful things everywhere. You need to tune into this dude. He's speaking our language on cruisers, and cruisers, we are your people. I had the best time talking to the community of incredible, just extraordinary people and travelers and hearing their stories. I mean, it didn't hurt that you're in the most epic place in the world, but just connecting with the people. Yeah. So I would encourage people to tune in and find a story that you can resonate with. And if you have a story to share, reach out we would we would love to connect with you. Sounds good. Well, Mike, thank you very much. I look forward to when our paths can cross in real time. It's been too much on the screen, not enough in the flesh. For all of you listening I strongly suggest that you tune in with Mike on his podcast. I think that The type of traveler that Mike is talking about is the UnCruise er, and it's the it's that bigger, heartfelt community of travelers that, that go places with intention not just to fill a void and a calendar, or a fill a bucket list, but actually go there with an intention of accomplishing something good for themselves, and good for others. So Mike, bless your brother. I thank you very much for for being on board and we'll look forward to next time. Thank you again. Thanks for listening to no ordinary adventure sharing locally harvested stories about adventure Be sure to subscribe leave a review, tell a friend and help spread the word we are a community of nature lovers, intrepid travelers and outdoor adventurers mostly from the comfort of a small boat and we want to spread our love of this fascinating planet. That's it for this episode. Now get inside