About Me

A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.

L.P. Jacks

The goal of this blog is to help me connect with you; you who are striving to pursue your own vision of excellence through whatever you are doing.

Maybe you’ve just started your journey to master the art of living. Maybe you’re a seasoned veteran on the never ending, always changing path.

Maybe you want to see the world as minimally as possible. Maybe you want to learn how ​to become location independent so you can travel indefinitely. I can help you with these things. 

I've been traveling the world out of a 20 lb backpack since 2012 and the BEST thing isn't the beautiful scenery or the amazing adventures. The BEST thing is when I meet like-minded people and form a bond.

Maybe the bond only lasts for the afternoon, or maybe it lasts a lifetime.​

It doesn’t matter. What matters is the sense of community formed.

You somehow stumbled onto this site and now you're reading this, which means we have something in common. This is why I want to connect with you, learn from you, and help you if I can.

Sounds interesting, right? Sounds like a community, right?


This is what I want to create here on The Quest For Awesome.

So, sign up below to join up with a community of thousands looking to master the art of living. I'll even hook you up with a copy of my updated for 2015 Gear List as a thank you. Then you just need to introduce yourself and off we go! 

Join The Quest For Awesome & Get My 2017 Gear List FREE

If you’re a new here, first off, hello and welcome 🙂

If you’re not in the mood to read my personal story, let me help you find some posts you might be interested in.

If you ARE here for the personal story. Read on!

I am on a constant quest for adventures, laughter and good stories. I consider myself a jack-of-all-trades and enjoy learning by setting and accomplishing goals.

Authority is something I’ve never been fond of, which has resulted in me sticking it to the theoretical man (for better of worse) for most of my life.

Given the chance and I will try anything twice and I’m fascinated by exploring a more efficient or cost-effective way to do everything,

Back in 2010 I was walking in the graduation ceremony for my Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering. The problem was: I was walking in the ceremony, but I wasn’t actually done fulfilling the requirements to get the degree. I was done with all the classes, as well as all the research for my thesis, but I hadn’t written the damn thing yet.

What followed were the most grueling and personally introspective two years of my life, with the ever looming cloud of an unfinished degree overhead.

One of my distractions was travel hacking and getting lost in itinerary builders, building possible trip after possible trip. I decided I'd use an epic trip as my motivation to complete my thesis. The idea was I'd only be able to leave if my thesis was done, because I knew if I left before it was done, I'd never finish it.

It turned out to be a good idea, however, the problem was: I needed to save up a good amount of money and a lot of frequent flyer miles, which took a good chunk of time (about 1.5 years). During that time of saving I really didn't have much motivation to work on writing, and the dark thesis cloud looming overhead was very depressing.

Finally, in early 2012, I realized I had saved enough money and enough frequent flyer miles to take the trip of a lifetime. When I realized this, I hunkered down and crushed out my thesis in about 2 months and successfully defended it April 5, 2012 after almost 1.5 years of procrastination and many different distractions.

It was the hardest and most gratifying accomplishment of my life and played a huge part in shaping who I am today.

Later that year (September 2012) I left on a 12-month trip around the world to 23 countries out of a 26 liter backpack.

It was a life changing trip and it solidified my desire to live an unconventional life from the road.

I returned back to the USA September 2013, with no money, but a desire to build a life allowing me to be as free as possible.

I spent the rest of 2013 and half of 2014 researching and learning about ways to be location independent. I stumbled upon the SEO world and No Hat Digital. I happened to find the site right when they were offering a retreat in Valle De Bravo, Mexico. I applied and was accepted and traveled down to Mexico where I met 10 successful digital entrepreneurs. 

It opened my eyes and my network to some amazing possibilities, and in the months following I was able to accomplish my goal of becoming location independent. ​

This brings us to the present where my tangible goals are to grow The Quest For Awesome into an amazing community of like-minded people who are looking to do things differently from the majority and help each other reach their goals. My less tangible goal is to be content with what I have. ​

So follow along on my journey, join up, share your own stories and let me tickle your brain.

Live Gratefully,


P.S. If you haven't joined up yet, here's another sign up form so you don't have to scroll all the way back up to the top 😉

  • Hi there!

    I’m dying to know–how’s traveling with the Smart Alec? What are you finding you use vs. what you don’t use on your gear list?

    I’m planning a 6 month trek myself and I really, really want to take the Smart Alec but I’m afraid my list of gear won’t fit in it. Thoughts?

    Thanks, love the blog!

    • Dave says:

      Hi Alexandria 🙂

      The Smart Alec has been great; I love the organization, but what I really enjoy about it is that it doesn’t look flashy, which really helps lower the tourist attention. My cold weather gear hasn’t really been touched (of course I’m in Australia during Spring/Summer at the moment) and I could probably do without the silk sleeping sack and my sleep mask.

      Connect with me on Twitter (@TheDove44) and I can help you with your 6 month trek gear planning if you’d like 🙂

  • Alex says:

    Hey Dave,

    A lot of very interesting reads on your site. Thanks for sharing. I’m planning on going on at least a 6 month trip in September – 3 months SE Asia, 3 months Australia, before I start thinking about working again. I’m currently a Producer, which is a very desk-tied job, and although I could potentially work any country with a media industry e.g. Australia, I much prefer to do as you have done and have a location independent career. I’m just started learning to write scripts, as I feel this would fufill this desire and also a passion of mine to be involved in TV/Film, but I will need a lot of time to get anywhere with this career. I’m interested in knowing how much time during your travels you dedicated to working, and how you found balancing that when there was so much fun to be had not working :p ?



    • Hey Alex! Glad you’ve been enjoying the site. Your 6 month trip sounds amazing!

      Finding the balance is definitely an interesting question and it’s something I haven’t quite perfected yet. For my trip around the world in 2012 I didn’t have to have a balance as I didn’t work for the entire year. However, now many of my projects require a lot of attention so I find myself “working” around 0-12 hours per day. It’s very flexible so it really depends on what needs to get done and where I am in the world.

      If I had to wager a guess I’ll spend about 2-3 months with my head down, spending a lot of time working and then take 1-4 weeks where I’ll be focused more on traveling and exploring a country and putting in a few hours of work here and there. Hope that helps!

  • Ana Páscoa says:

    Hi David,
    How I would like to travel backpack,My husband is more of the type traveling with a “driver”. Does not like driving, backpacking, is for “crazy peoples”
    I have already met two countries in Europe backpacking. I still have the dream of traveling by train for 10 countries in Europe, where I live.
    I love your laid-back articles on your blog, with activegrowth.
    Keep it up, and thanks for the great articles.

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