Travels With Jim and Rita

Episode 14 - Embracing the Unknown: Tales of a Nomadic Entrepreneur

April 19, 2024 Jim Santos, travel writer and host of the International Living Podcast Season 1 Episode 14
Episode 14 - Embracing the Unknown: Tales of a Nomadic Entrepreneur
Travels With Jim and Rita
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Travels With Jim and Rita
Episode 14 - Embracing the Unknown: Tales of a Nomadic Entrepreneur
Apr 19, 2024 Season 1 Episode 14
Jim Santos, travel writer and host of the International Living Podcast

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Picture this: you're surrounded by boxes, the remnants of a life you're packing up to explore the unknown. That's the scene Rita and I find ourselves in, and it's where our conversation with Corey Mortensen begins. He's a man who's mastered the ebb and flow of a life lived on the move, having ventured across the globe not just once but several times. Corey regales us with stories from his days on Wake Island to immersing himself in Thai culture, weaving a narrative that doesn't just entertain but also enlightens, offering a roadmap for those yearning to break free and find adventure.

Our latest episode takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions and destinations. From the serendipitous turn of events that steered our guest from Europe to China, to the heart rate monitor business venture that followed, we explore the found and lost opportunities that shape a life less ordinary. Then, there's love—the unexpected, world-changing kind that led me to his wife, Kate, and together, they chose the path less trodden, a nomadic life rich with travel and volunteer work. Corey's  stories intersect at the crossroads of entrepreneurial spirit and wanderlust, proving that the courage to leap can land you in the most extraordinary of places.

As we wrap up our tales, the discussion shifts to the nitty-gritty of sustained travel—the financial strategies, the cultural dances, the finding of a kindred spirit to share the road with. Hear how he navigated the financial bends of long-term travel, from frugal living to strategic negotiations, and how a whimsical decision led him to become the CEO of White Condor Publishing. These are the stories of life's unpredictable nature and the romance found in far-flung corners of the globe. Join us, and perhaps, you'll be inspired to begin your own adventure.

https://www.thebuddhaandthebee.com/

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http://jimsantos.net
jim@jimsantosbooks.com

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Picture this: you're surrounded by boxes, the remnants of a life you're packing up to explore the unknown. That's the scene Rita and I find ourselves in, and it's where our conversation with Corey Mortensen begins. He's a man who's mastered the ebb and flow of a life lived on the move, having ventured across the globe not just once but several times. Corey regales us with stories from his days on Wake Island to immersing himself in Thai culture, weaving a narrative that doesn't just entertain but also enlightens, offering a roadmap for those yearning to break free and find adventure.

Our latest episode takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions and destinations. From the serendipitous turn of events that steered our guest from Europe to China, to the heart rate monitor business venture that followed, we explore the found and lost opportunities that shape a life less ordinary. Then, there's love—the unexpected, world-changing kind that led me to his wife, Kate, and together, they chose the path less trodden, a nomadic life rich with travel and volunteer work. Corey's  stories intersect at the crossroads of entrepreneurial spirit and wanderlust, proving that the courage to leap can land you in the most extraordinary of places.

As we wrap up our tales, the discussion shifts to the nitty-gritty of sustained travel—the financial strategies, the cultural dances, the finding of a kindred spirit to share the road with. Hear how he navigated the financial bends of long-term travel, from frugal living to strategic negotiations, and how a whimsical decision led him to become the CEO of White Condor Publishing. These are the stories of life's unpredictable nature and the romance found in far-flung corners of the globe. Join us, and perhaps, you'll be inspired to begin your own adventure.

https://www.thebuddhaandthebee.com/

Support the Show.

https://www.buzzsprout.com/2292506/supporters/new
https://www.jimsantosbooks.com
http://jimsantos.net
jim@jimsantosbooks.com

Jim Santos:

Welcome to Travels with Jim and Rita. I'm your host, Jim Santos, and in this podcast series you can follow along as my wife Rita and I work out our crazy plan to outfox the real estate market in the US and actually increase our retirement nest egg by spending the next three years or so living abroad and exploring the world. Are we bold, forward-thinking pioneers or just plain nuts? Let's find out together, shall we? Hello everybody, I'm Jim Santos, and this is Travels with Jim and Rita.

Jim Santos:

This is a very special episode for several reasons. First of all, as we record this show, we're surrounded by boxes and clutter, as we now have only 12 days to finish packing before the movers arrive to take our belongings to our newly reserved storage unit. Secondly, when this podcast episode airs, if all goes as scheduled, we will be officially homeless, having closed the sale of our home the day before. Most importantly, this is a special episode because our guest, over the course of a fascinating life, has also sold everything and set out to travel the world, not once, but twice. So it's my pleasure to welcome Corey Mortensen, author, funcle, neologist, long-distance cycler and world traveler, among many other accolades. Corey, welcome to Travels with Jim and Rita, and thanks for joining us.

Corey Mortensen:

Thank you, jim, I appreciate your time and, and Rita, I look forward to talking with you guys.

Jim Santos:

I've been enjoying your podcast well, it's always good to hear. Rita is busy at the moment. As I mentioned, we're right in the middle of packing up to sell our house, so she's busy still taping boxes at the moment that's going to be exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. Yeah, now, I know you've been through this before, but before we get to some of those stories and talk about your books, how about a little background? How do you go from a small town in Minnesota to a world traveler?

Corey Mortensen:

Well, I had a great family who kind of influenced me, so I've got a lot of uncles and aunts and they've all traveled all over. But my grandmother, grandmother Heckenleibel, she is a world traveler and I didn't actually know about all that until I was much older. What I learned was she and her sister and my grandfather traveled all over the world back when it was hard, you know, before credit cards and internet. As a matter of fact, she was telling me stories about her and her sister traveling behind the iron curtain, which of course made me ask how did you get money? And what happens when your American Express traveler's check cards ran out, and who did you contact when you got into trouble? And it's just extraordinary travel stories and we're all kind of competitive. So, of course, not only did she tell these stories, then it led me to say now I have to go someplace where grandma hasn't been.

Jim Santos:

Something I thought was really interesting in your background, looking at your website, by the way is wwwthebuddhaandthebeecom, and we'll talk more about that later, but I read that you dropped out of college and went to work on wake island yeah, I wasn't.

Corey Mortensen:

I wasn't the greatest student. I'm not one that likes to be told what to do you'll find that in in my reading, reading any of my stories but I do love learning and, um, I had an opportunity. My sophomore year, uh was I was. I had a friend in college whose dad worked for a company called Intel Comp Support Services, which I believe is probably now owned by Raytheon, and they supported government opportunities all over the country, whether it be doing laundry for military bases in Germany or whatnot.

Corey Mortensen:

So there was a construction job that was going on on a little atoll called Wake Island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and I couldn't have jumped on the opportunity quicker. So I gave my dad some money. He bought me a ticket to go to Honolulu. He was a pilot for Northwest Airlines, so I got a pilot pass and then from there the military flew me to Wake Island and out there we basically demoed an old town. It was an old FAA base that was used, or it was a runway that was used for emergency landings back in the 70s and 80s, and before that it was actually a refueling station back when Pan America was flying to Australia.

Corey Mortensen:

And then in 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor they attacked Wake Island first and it became a refueling station for the Japanese in World War II for a while. And how long were you working there? It was just four months. But it was really great because the group of people that the military hired as an auxiliary staff were a group of Thais, and so it kind of thrust me into this Thai culture, something that I was completely unfamiliar with. So it just all of a sudden opened my world. And I'm going from a small town and then I grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona, which let's just say it was. It was a little bit sheltered and uh. And so to go to be on the small little atoll in the middle of the South Pacific and living with these Thai people and learning about their culture, uh, just said to me, I've got to get out there and explore the world. There's just so much to see and learn.

Jim Santos:

So you would have been in your early 20s then, I'm guessing 21. 21,. Yeah, was this before or after all the long-distance biking?

Corey Mortensen:

Yeah, I hadn't started really doing the cycling stuff until, well, the long-distance cycling didn't happen until I was 31. I came home from wake Island, I bought a computer and I taught myself AutoCAD and then took some jobs as a drafter and then slowly kind of self promoted myself into into a position of a project manager and architecture. Simultaneously, I started buying houses and flipping them, and, and I owned, I kept a couple which I, which I became a landlord with the money that I had from flipping one of the houses. I decided after a breakup why, why not take one of the bicycles I had? And since I've biked a hundred mile, one day I should, I should be able to bike to California from Minneapolis, no problem. So, um, so I did, took a two month leave of absence and, uh, with the chunk of cash in my savings account, I uh decided yeah, what's?

Jim Santos:

2,200 miles Right Now. Is that the journey that was the nucleus for your first book? Uh, the Buddha and the bee, that's correct. Yes, I understand you biked a total of 10,000 miles in 35 states.

Corey Mortensen:

Not during that trip, that was total. So after I came back from all these trips I started doing, I started a business and with that I took the opportunity to do some a lot of cross country trips in the States. So, for example, I was at a trade show in New Orleans and I met these women who were mothers of kids who had congenital heart defects, and I had a heart rate monitor business and one of the products I sold were pulse oximeters. The kids all used pulse oximeters to check their oxygen level because of their physical, um, their heart, the heart situation. So the the moms asked me if I would be willing to ride my bike cross country to raise money for them. And I said I'll ride my bike. I don't know how to raise money.

Corey Mortensen:

And so we, uh, we, I started a thing, what I I playfully coined the tour to amended little hearts. So that was one of the trips and that would. That would tie into those 10,000 miles across the country. So it wasn't on that trip but it certainly spawned a strong desire to to do these long distance trips. Another one was when my wife and I were in South America. When we finally came back to the United States I had my friend ship our bikes to Dallas, texas, and I don't know how I did it, but I convinced my wife that it was a good idea to bike from Dallas back to Minneapolis, so we did for 16 days.

Jim Santos:

Tell me about the title. I know in Buddhist thinking the B, I think, represents rebirth. Was that where you came up with the title? The Buddha and the B?

Corey Mortensen:

You know, I'd like to think it was something that romantic, but it came about where my brother was over and he offered to give me a Buddha statue to put near our pool in our backyard and I said, let me think about it.

Corey Mortensen:

And so I went out for a hike and it was springtime I live in Phoenix now and it was springtime and all the cactuses were blooming and there was all these bees and I was kind of Buddha and I was thinking about the Buddha statue and I saw the bees and I was like, oh, buddha and bee. And I ran home and wrote down Buddha and bee and typed it into the computer Buddha and bee. And a quote popped up in the internet and it said as the bee gathering nectar does not harm or disturb the color and fragrance of the flower, so does the wise move through the world, the Buddha. And I thought that's an awesome quote for the story. You know, I thought you know we all kind of travel through the world, hopefully not leaving a footprint. You know, ideally we're going out there as we explore and learn and and gather information and and hopefully we're giving back something, but we're not harming anything as we do it. And so that's where the name came up.

Jim Santos:

I noticed you also list yourself as not only an author but a funcle and a neologist, so I assume that's a fun uncle.

Corey Mortensen:

Yes, I have six nieces and nephews, and so I am the self-proclaimed funcle.

Jim Santos:

Yeah, you're the one with the bike goes for rides with them.

Corey Mortensen:

I do, and I have three of them that are moving to Bentonville, arkansas, which is one of the top 10 mountain biking areas in the United States, and I'm looking forward to teaching them how to go mountain biking.

Jim Santos:

Well, let me ask you about the first time you did. What kind of what we're doing now? We're not selling everything, but we are selling our home and putting stuff in storage so that we can travel for the next two or three years. Now, at some point, you've been working with architectural firms, you've been flipping houses. You decided that you were going to sell everything and travel for a couple of years. So what led to that decision?

Corey Mortensen:

It was something I had always wanted to do, and I had a deadline. I had put the age of 30 on the calendar, as that was when I was going to go, and I don't know why, 30 was the date, but that was the date, and 30 came and went, and now I was 31. And man, I was way too old, I missed it Right. And uh, well, I'm 66, so I hope not Well, and that's the funny thing, right Looking back, um, I wish I was 31 again, but, um, but now I'm 54 and I still think I'm 31.

Corey Mortensen:

So, as, as we get older, I feel like I'm getting younger, and I was running marathons at the time, and I remember there was this gentleman by the name of Ron King that I used to run with, and he was about 76 years old. And, uh, I I said, ron, I gotta, I need some wisdom, I need to, I need to ask you a question. Let's go for a run. So we went out, and we went out for a couple mile run, and I told him my situation. I said, listen, you know I've got these properties, I've got a great career. I'm afraid, though, and I want to go travel the world, but I'm afraid that if I gave all that up and I and I came back, I wouldn't be able to get a job. And my biggest concern was because I never I never finished my college degree. And he told me a story. He said you know, corey, back in 1948, my wife and I got married. We got $2,000 for a wedding gift and we were going to go travel and see Europe for, you know, for six months. And he said, instead we took the money and we bought a house and we were going to go to Europe the next year, and instead we bought some furniture the next year, and the year after that we bought a car, and et cetera, et cetera. He said, corey, I'm 76 years old and I've still never been to Europe. And that's all he had to say. And so I went, I went to my office and I told him that it was just right before nine 11, it was about a month before nine 11. And so, you know, everything was kind of slowing down, the market was slowing down, and I went to my office and I just said, hey, can I take a two-month leave of absence? And that was the original plan, it was just a two-month leave of absence. And they said yeah, no problem. So that was the original intention was just two months leave of absence, and then it just ended up being two years.

Corey Mortensen:

Where did you go first? Well, the first was the bike trip and I got to California. And when I got to California that's when I called back to my office and thank them for holding my position and then told them I wasn't coming back. They were very kind. They said if I wanted my job back, give them a call. And from there I was in California and Big Sur. I put my thumb out at Nepenthe, if you're familiar with Nepenthe.

Corey Mortensen:

Right off of the Big Sur I got picked up by a couple hippies and they took me down to just basically the Mexico border. The first place I camped was in Rocky Point, and then I didn't know where to go. I was like, what do I do now? I went to Mexico City and then kind of worked my way south. I had been through Central America so that wasn't someplace I wanted to go to again. So I immediately went to Venezuela, and it was right when Hugo Chavez decided to become a dictator. So I kind of my time there was interesting. So I ended up going to merida and he became the dictator, the country was shut down. It was it was. It was kind of interesting. So then, you know, I met some guy, we ended up going to ecuador, which was a great time, and kind of we did the gringo highway uh, what part of ecuador did you stay in the?

Corey Mortensen:

first first stop was quito, um and then uh, beautiful city. It was great, it was super great. We I didn't spend a lot of time that time. I spent more time that. My second around in south america was with my wife, and that was about five years ago. We spent a lot of time in ecuador. That time, actually, I think they had like a 90 day visa. Do they still have that, where you have 90 days? Yeah?

Jim Santos:

Still 90 days for us, us and Canadian.

Corey Mortensen:

Yeah, okay. So we we had like three days left on our 90 day stay. We took it full advantage of. We really enjoyed it. We volunteered for 30 days at the working boy center and and Quito, so we volunteered 30 days there. We hiked from Quito to Mindo, which was a group of truck. We stayed in Montanita Is that right.

Jim Santos:

Yeah, montanita down on the coast. Yeah.

Corey Mortensen:

And that's where I did the math and figured that for $8,000 a year we could live there, yeah, and then we went down to Villa Cabamba, we absolutely. And then, of course, coenque we went. We were there for New Year's and then we hiked the Keotola loop, which which we loved oh, did you?

Jim Santos:

yeah, I hiked around Keotola myself, but we didn't do the loop, but we did several hikes in the area there. That's.

Corey Mortensen:

I would love to go back and do that.

Jim Santos:

I just love that area yeah, keotola was beautiful and if people weren't familiar with it, you've got mountains that are up to like 13, 14,000 feet, and then you've also got this Canyon that drops down to like seven or 8,000 feet in some places, so so really a wide. If you're into hiking, there's really a wide range of terrains there that you can hike in.

Corey Mortensen:

And what's nice about it is I think we did four days or five days is that you can hike hostel to hostel, so all you need is a day pack for those of you who don't want to carry a big bag.

Jim Santos:

Yeah, I've read about the loop. We stayed at a place called the Black Sheep Inn. That was right there, just not far from Kīla Toa itself. Okay, that was right there, just not far from Kīla Toa itself. Okay, that was one of the places that we got some training in for the Inca Trail.

Corey Mortensen:

A little altitude training and training training.

Jim Santos:

Yeah, test out the equipment, make sure we knew how everything worked, and all that Sure. But it was interesting because we're hiking at about 12,000 feet or so we run into this Ketch kitchen woman who's walking with her son tied to her front and a bunch of sticks tied to her back and she's wearing like little rope sandals and she stopped and talked to us. It was really friendly, you know, she spoke a little Spanish and we speak a little Spanish, so we were talking about oh yes, we live at the coast and she was all excited. But I realized afterwards that, you know, she's in these little sandals and carrying the sticks and we've got hiking poles and these little water tubes up to our mouth and, you know, probably look like astronauts and this is somebody who just walks around here all the time, you know absolutely that's.

Corey Mortensen:

That was the. That was the kind of. I don't know if that's humbling or not, it was just that's their day to day Right right Now.

Jim Santos:

Was that? Your second book, I believe was Unlost, roaming Through South America on a Spontaneous Journey. Was that with your wife, or was this before you met?

Corey Mortensen:

Yeah, so that's before we met. So the three books that I've written are basically the first book is the Buddha and the Bee, where it was initially the two. It was a two month leave of absence. That turns into a two year around the world trip. So the first book is the Buddha and the Bee. The second one is Unlost, which is South America down to Antarctica, and then the third book is basically Iceland to Southeast Asia, and I am working on the book with my wife where my wife and I go to South America, but I want to have a little bit more fun with it where there's going to be some, he said she said stories in there, because we sure I'm sure you and your wife have the same, where you guys have vast different memories of what went down on a certain hike or at a certain dinner, right? So I thought it would be fun to have her tell her story and me tell my story on certain aspects of it and see how that turns out.

Jim Santos:

Now on that first trip, first time you sold everything and hit the road. What brought you back?

Corey Mortensen:

When I was in Europe my uncle I read my grandmother, I found out my grandmother had cancer, so I reached out to her on the phone and and when I called her, it turns out my one of my uncles was at home and we're all really close. My uncles and my cousins and my dad's side were all or my mom's side, were all like best friends, and he was just in the starting a furniture business. And he asked me if I was willing to go to China to go inspect the furniture that he was having built for this order. And I was doing nothing but camping on the beach in Dubrovnik and I said sure. So I flew over to China. When I was there, I met this woman who was his agent translator, and over a period of about eight months of going back and forth to the factory and then, you know, maybe I will. So that's what happened. Is I I I accidentally started a business and that's what brought me back to the States was starting a business. What was that business? It was a heart rate monitor business.

Jim Santos:

Oh, those heart rate monitors yeah.

Corey Mortensen:

Yeah, it's for those of you who don't know what a heart rate monitor business is. It's not medical, it's pretty much everything has one. Now Apple watches all have them. But back in 2003, it was not as commonplace as they are now. So it was a watch that had a chest strap and at the time it was primarily people who ran or cycled that wore them. But I found a niche in the physical education world. But I found a niche in the physical education world PE physical education and so I actually grew that business and sold it in 10 years to a huge physical education distributor in the industry and then got out and you know, rinse and repeat, sold everything and got married and went to South America again.

Jim Santos:

Now, where in all this did you meet your wife Kate?

Corey Mortensen:

Toward the end of right. It was right before we were selling the business. I just, you know, when I had the business I just worked. It was just work all the time. I didn't have time for anything else. And if I did get to travel or play, it was, it was just. I was just like just on my own.

Corey Mortensen:

So when I met Kate, I met her through a friend of a friend and, uh, you know, it was one of those. Our first date was horrible and, um, it was just kind of like thanks for coming. But then then we went on a second date and somehow it was better. And then the third was better yet, and, uh, and then pretty soon we were married. And then, yeah, so it was, it was. I mean, it was a real quick. I mean we sold the business in May, we got married in June and we had to move to Texas in August. So we had to sell both of our houses and get rid of our company and everything in a matter of three months from the time that we sold the business, got married and everything.

Jim Santos:

The reason we had to move to Texas was because of my job, that they moved us out and then at some point after that, once again you decided to sell everything and go on another two-year journey. Was that your idea or Kate's idea, or did you work on this together?

Corey Mortensen:

She'll tell you that when she met me early on in the relationship, she'll be the first to tell you that she knew she wasn't going to. If she, if she, continued dating me, she wasn't going to be staying in the States much longer. She got that impression right away, and so when we sold the business, I had a two-year contract and after the first year and after the first year, kate and I had a discussion and I said do you want to take off and travel? And it wasn't just going to be two years, it was going to be a lot longer. And with the, with the intention to travel and volunteer, we wanted to give back our time. She was absolutely on board, it was. There wasn't even a question. She was just like yes, let's do it.

Corey Mortensen:

So with one year left on the contract, we just started liquidating our stuff. We were down to one car I would bicycle to work and we just saved, you know, every, every penny we had. And we were like I said, we were just liquidating the last. Last week in our apartment all we had was a mattress and the clothes and our backpacks. And that last day we just took our mattress and pushed it out to the dumpster, jumped in the car and then we drove around the United States for about a month before we put the car on auto trader and hopped on a flight to Ecuador.

Jim Santos:

You mentioned Dubrovnik, Peter in Croatia, so it's not just strictly South America and the Pacific. You've hit some sites in Europe as well, I'm guessing.

Corey Mortensen:

Yeah, that was not with Kate, that was in book three.

Corey Mortensen:

So when I got to California and I left the bike there and I kind of worked my way down south, down through South America, I kind of, as you do, met a love interest in Chile and she was from Australia and she had one of those two year work visas and she was going to London and so I told her I'd meet her in London.

Corey Mortensen:

She went to Carnival and I was going to Antarctica, and so I came home, sold my other house, met her in London and it didn't work out, which was fine. And so now I was in Europe and with absolutely no direction, and it just so happens that the running of the bulls was starting, so I went down and ran with the bulls and then met some guys and we followed the Tour de France and then I wandered over and I ended up in East Europe and that's where I was, in Dubrovnik. So yeah, along the way, you know, you come across some other places and went through Prague and all the known quantities, all the necessary stops, as you know, all the places you have to stop.

Jim Santos:

Right checking off the boxes, thank you, so you and Kate do travel well together, because that is a rare thing.

Corey Mortensen:

You know, I think about that all the time. You know, I think about that all the time. I mean when I mean our first, when we first landed in Ito, we, we got there, we couldn't find our host. So it was like two o'clock in the morning, we were just laughing about it. And then we, we, we had a meeting with these, with this organization, about volunteering, like at nine o'clock in the morning, like at nine o'clock in the morning. And then we, the two days later, we go on this three or four day trek from uh, from Quito, to Mindo, with a napkin of a map and I'm telling you, I thought we were going to die. I mean, I'm not exaggerating, there was some pretty precarious situations and we, all we had was a two man tent, and I'm not talking like the two man.

Jim Santos:

Coleman tents that you park and plop with'm talking the little ones.

Corey Mortensen:

You know that the mountaineers carry right the ones you crawl into and can't stand up in, and yeah, and that's the tent that we had. And I'll bet you, if you add it all up like that in the, in the just about two years we were down in South America, we probably spent a good solid, probably two and a half months in that tent together and never never had an issue.

Jim Santos:

Yeah, that's a very rare thing when you can find someone who's not only a companion but a traveling companion.

Corey Mortensen:

I to this day, I still I. I'm blown away Now for what we're planning.

Jim Santos:

Yeah, I'm, I'm a 66. My wife's in her early seventies. We're planning I'm 66, my wife's in her early seventies. We have pensions and retirement funds that are paying our way. We have a budget, but we can easily afford to do some travel. But you weren't in that situation at all. Were you working just on savings or did you do any work on the road while you were traveling?

Corey Mortensen:

Yeah, that's a great, great question. So the first, when I was by myself, I just sold a house, so I was flush with cash, but I was real, you know I would, I would negotiate, for if I was at a hostel in Bolivia and it was a dollar 50, I would get them down to about 25,. You know, like I was, I was super and I didn't like, I didn't waste money on beer. You know stuff like that. It was just that wasn't part of the repertoire at the time. I mean, the biggest like ticket I bought was when I went to Antarctica. It was for a marathon. I found out there was a marathon there and I used to run marathons, so I was like, oh, what's the when will I? Will I have the next opportunity to run a marathon in Antarctica? And so I think at the time it was like 2,500 bucks, which was like astronomical, and I was like, oh, you know, okay, I'm going to do it. Live one. You only live once. So that was all savings.

Corey Mortensen:

Now, the second time, you know, I just sold my business and I had also had some investments, and one of the investments that I had was this thing called lendingclubcom. Oh yeah, and it was a peer-to-peer thing and I was making, like I don't know, 15% average return on my money and I just kept on, you know, rolling it over until we started traveling. And then I took the money that we from everything we sold like on on ebay and through, you know, craigslist and all that stuff, and we basically just lived off that and and when we were in south america the new president came in and the economy took off. Whether you like them or not, in fact, the matter was, the economy, you know, took off and that worked in our favor for our portfolio.

Corey Mortensen:

So you know took off and that worked in our favor for our portfolio. So you know, things worked out. So our investments worked out well for us, and so we were making money off the lending club investment and then some of the other stuff that I had planned on using for spending anyway. It's just that the interest was coming back so much better than I anticipated that we actually came back with more money than we left with.

Jim Santos:

Well, with all of this, traveling the different businesses you've been involved in finding a wife, getting married, traveling some more, how did you ever find time to end up as the CEO of White Condor Publishing?

Corey Mortensen:

Well, a little secret to your audience anybody can be a CEO of anything. You start at LLC, I just well. So I wrote the book years ago and, um, and I never did anything with it. And so our plan wasn't to come back to from South America and live in Arizona. We, we were coming back and we were going to go to Southeast Asia. But when we on our way back, kate wanted to spend the summer with some friends and I'm kind of a numbers guy, so I was kind of crunching the numbers and I was thinking, okay, it's going to be a lot more expensive being here. So I was like, well, maybe I can find a consulting gig, you know, temporarily. So I did and it ended up lasting a little bit longer.

Corey Mortensen:

So, kate, kate was a lawyer, is a lawyer, and so she decided she wanted to do some doc reviews. So she got her law license back and put that on LinkedIn and her old boss contacted her and gave her a job opportunity. Like that was impossible for us to turn down. So our intention was to go to Southeast Asia. But we both got these job opportunities and we were both like to go to Southeast Asia. But we both got these job opportunities and we were both like, okay, let's ride this out. So now we're just kind of letting these things kind of run their core. I'm done with my consulting gig and I'm now I'm just writing books and day trading and.

Corey Mortensen:

Kate is writing out her business opportunity and then, once they transact, we're looking for our next travel gig. What do you think is next for you?

Corey Mortensen:

We're doing a short little travel. We're doing a house swap in a couple of weeks with some people in Amsterdam, so that'll kind of settle the travel bug for a little bit. But the next big one I'm kind of chomping at the bit to go back to Southeast Asia. But I have a friend of mine who lives in the Philippines and they're having a big family reunion in 2026 and we're invited. So I told Kate. I said I don't want to go there for two weeks, I want to go there for like three months.

Jim Santos:

So now, when you're 76 and some younger guy wants you to go out for a run with him and give him a little bit of wisdom, are you going to tell him to stick to his job and build a nice, secure home life or to get out and see the world?

Corey Mortensen:

Absolutely Go out and see the world, Unless he has kids and responsibilities. And then I'm going to say bring the kids and see the world.

Jim Santos:

Yeah, we've been fortunate enough to bring our kids and some of our grandkids out. When we were living in Ecuador they came out to visit us there. But I think it's a great thing to expose kids to the idea of travel that early, and it sounds like you were exposed to travel early yourself.

Corey Mortensen:

Not internationally, but, yeah, my dad, my dad being a pilot, you know we were able to fly back and forth, which when, I say back and forth you know, minnesota, arizona, the kind of the, the, what are they called the snowbird?

Corey Mortensen:

called the snowbird, the snowbird, uh, migration yeah but um you know I have a lot of friends that never got, haven't been on a plane, so, um, just that opportunity itself was was, uh, looking back was um, you know, I'm very blessed to have that opportunity it's really, you know, doing this podcast and did a podcast, or international, living for a while talking to people who have made that leap of faith to go kind of outside of the comfort zone and try some form of travel or some form of uh, reinventing their lives really, and it's interesting how many people are doing that and it just kind of.

Jim Santos:

it's kind of under the radar.

Corey Mortensen:

you don't really hear much about it yeah, I, I mean, you know, I met. I met these two women I think I might have met them in ecuador at a hostel and they were the. They were probably in their 50s at the time and they were from bristol, england, and I remember them telling me that they had just decided. They just realized that they were in their fifties and they had worked the last 30 years in a factory in Bristol. They had never seen the world and they just gave it all up and they just went. They just booked a ticket and decided to travel. Like just let, caught through caution to the wind and I'm like man, 30 years of your life in a factory heck, yeah, let's do it.

Jim Santos:

Let's do it, yeah well, do you think there'll be a third time that you uh sell everything and and go out to see the world?

Corey Mortensen:

no, I think there'll be a third time where we go see the world, but I think we I think we have agreed that we're going to have a base camp. I think it's nice to have a place to come home to. Right, for the first time, jim, I can say I have a home which is different than a house, and I think we've made a home here. And that's not to say that my wife doesn't check out sprinter vans on a weekly basis and wants to buy a sprinter van and and travel around. But I think we're good. We we've Airbnb'd our house out quite a bit so it could be a source of income while we're traveling. And so I kind of look at it both ways, as both a source of income and as a home, and then as base camp, as well, yeah, once you get started traveling, it is really hard to just stop completely, right, but I?

Corey Mortensen:

know. After talking with Kate, I think I don't think there's going to be as many hostels and tents involved in future travels.

Jim Santos:

More into comfort now right.

Corey Mortensen:

Yes, we'll be getting more Marriott points probably.

Jim Santos:

Well, we've been spending some time with Corey Mortensen, CEO of White Condor Publishing and author of three books on travel and counting. The Buddha and the Bee Unlost and Embracing Bewilderment. Now you can get more information about Corey and find his books on Amazon, or just visit his website, thebuddhandthebee. com. That's T-H-E-B-U-D-D-H-A-A-N-D-T-H-E-B-E-E. That's a mouthful, and you can also find that URL in our show notes. Don't worry if you didn't get to jot that down. Well, Corey, thanks for joining us today, and maybe Rita and I will run into you and Kate somewhere in the world.

Corey Mortensen:

I appreciate that I'm going to get back to listening to more of your podcast, because I really was enjoying your story about being in Panama.

Jim Santos:

One last bit of news I just recently signed a contract to be International Living's roping correspondent, writing articles and making videos about our travels as Rita and I get started. In fact, you can find an article I wrote about our decision to sell the house and take up travel for a few years in the March 2024 edition of International Living Magazine. Now this also means we will both be at the 2024 Ultimate Go Overseas Boot Camp coming up in Las Vegas, nevada, october 26th to 28th. Rita and I will be in the exhibit hall to answer questions about slow travel and I will have the unenviable task of getting up in front of a huge crowd to give a couple of talks. There'll be expats and experts from around the world and if you're interested in attending, check out intlivingcom/ events that's intliving. com/ events for more information or to make reservations.

Jim Santos:

Well, that's it for this week's show. Keep listening, keep spreading the word on social media and, if you can, please take a moment to leave a rating and review. And, of course, subscriptions are always welcome. If you have any questions or would like to tell your own story, email me at jim@ jimsantosbooks. com, and remember remember you can find my books, short stories and audiobooks on my Amazon author page by going to jimsantos. net. So until next time, safe journeys to you all. And don't forget we travel not to escape life, but so that life does not escape us.

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