Tactical Traveler: Season 1: Episode 6: A Journey of Adventure and Resilience with Brie Burgett

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Brie Burgett, a former Marine Corps active-duty member, shares her journey from military service to adventure travel. She shares her experiences as a solo female traveler, including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and overcoming obstacles. Brie also shares her passion for immersive travel experiences, such as hiking remote trails and connecting with local communities.

Brie shares her journey to becoming a travel blogger and influencer, emphasizing the importance of practical advice and inspiration for aspiring travelers. They also discuss budget-friendly travel strategies, such as using flight comparison tools, staying in affordable accommodations, and exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations.

 

Highlights:

{01:20} Brie Burgett Military Service and Travel

{15:30} Solo Female Travel

{25:00} Mount Kilimanjaro Expedition

{33:30} Overcoming Challenges

{37:35} Motivation for Adventure

{46:00} Budget Travel Tips

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Brie Burgett Bio:

Meet Brie Burgett: Adventure Seeker, Globe Trotter, and U.S. Marine. As a Captain in the US Marine Corps, Brie embodies the essence of courage, determination, and resilience both in her military service and her pursuits.

Having traveled to 6 continents and 108 countries, Brie’s wanderlust knows no bounds. Her adventures span scaling majestic mountains to diving into the ocean’s depths, always seeking new experiences and challenges. Through her blog and social media platform, thebrieadventure, Brie shares her latest escapades, offering a glimpse into the thrilling world of adventure travel.

With over 110k followers, Brie has become a prominent influencer, inspiring others to embrace a life of exploration and discovery. She is not only one of the youngest women to commission in the US Marine Corps but also one of the most influential voices in the world of adventure and travel.

Brie’s influence extends beyond her social media presence. She works with governments around the globe, showcasing the beauty of different cultures and landscapes while promoting environmental conservation and sustainable travel practices.

In addition to her adventurous spirit, Brie’s dedication to fitness and self-development is evident in her content. From sharing her fitness routines to offering motivational insights, she empowers her followers to live life to the fullest and strive for their goals.

Brie Burgett is a real-life wonder woman who embodies honor, beauty, and strength. Her infectious positivity and unwavering determination make her a beacon of inspiration for all who aspire to live boldly and fearlessly.

 

Links:

https://www.thebrieadventure.com

https://tacticaltravelerclub.com

 

Sponsored Links:

https://therootbrands.com/product/zero-in

https://newulife.com/hk/en 

https://trufinco.com 

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John

Welcome to the tactical traveler. My name is John Renken. 

Today, I have a guest coming to us from Stuttgart, Germany, from Stuttgart. Brie is a former active well. I probably shouldn’t say former since she was in the Marine Corps on active duty. Marine Corps- now a full-time reservist with the Marines as well. 

She’s a world traveler and Instagram influencer, as we were doing. A free call has a ton of commonality and some of the things we’ve done. Welcome to the show, Bree Burgett, right?

Brie

Yes, good afternoon. Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to join you.

John

Yeah. So, first of all, #1, thank you for your service. I served as well. And so I always want to let people know about the sacrifice immediately. Says that you know I served before the. For the sacrifice that your generation of soldiers and Marines have had to make, it’s been a 20-year conflict. 

So, you know, that’s been pretty significant in your sacrifice. Why don’t you tell people what you do in the Marine Corps? If you’ve got anything sensitive, don’t feel like I need to know it. But just share your story with us a little bit.

Brie

Absolutely yes. So, it has been an absolute privilege to serve in the military. I plan on coming in for a few years with the Marine Corps. I ended up loving the type of people who are drawn to military service, especially the Marine Corps, which has been a good fit. 

And it’s a unique breed of people, especially, you know, we talked a little bit about between the army and the Marines and the different branches of who goes in different directions. But the Marine Corps ended up being a really good fit. I have loved the challenges they’ve thrown at me and the constant opportunity to do new things and work with different people worldwide. 

It has been an amazing experience and opened the door for the other things we’ve discussed and the places you can sometimes go. It’s not the best destinations and locations you’re going to, but some very valuable experiences have helped shape me, and it’s been quite the ride so far.

John

Yeah. Now, what do you do in the Marine Corps? And did that switch for you when you went from active duty to full-time reserves?

Brie

So, my primary MOS is combat engineer, and I’m a little biased, but I think that’s one of the best things you can do to build things. And blow things up. After doing that for the first few years and getting to do it, Time out in Okinawa with the engineer platoon and aviation company. Then I did Murphy in Australia, returned, and went to a mixing. 

So it’s the security cooperation group. I have a background in Hungarian and French, so I thought I would be assigned to the Europe team, but they were lacking officers on the African side, so they plugged me in there.  So, with zero African experience, all of a sudden. I assisted, assessed, and planned security cooperation engagements in Africa. 

So I learned a lot about Africa very quickly, and then over the past five or six years, I’ve been working there and then. I came over here to Germany to Stuttgart and have been working again. The Africa section focuses on different regions across the continent. But that’s where I got my well… I got a secondary Ms. as a foreign security force advisor who helped in the door. Then, I continued, completed my master’s, and did some focus on Africa-related subjects. 

And so I got the experience of being a track regional affairs officer for sub-Saharan Africa. And so that ties in with the job I’m currently doing, and I’m getting ready to leave here and head back for some more school in Quantico.

John

Now, what was your degree? I mean, I would assume the Marine Corps is the same. You know, the rest of the military, you had to have had a college degree to be an officer. So, what was your college like? 

Brie

Yep, so my undergrad degree was in political science and international relations, which seems fairly common for people who go into the military. But I graduated fairly young. I had planned on going the State Department route or something else, but I was 19 when I graduated, so I was pretty young. But the military. He was still willing and interested in letting me come and play with them for a bit. And so that’s also one of the reasons I started looking that way initially right out of college when I joined the military.

John

Man, so you graduated college at 19.

Brie

Yes. Yep.

John

OK, so all of our active duty and veteran friends understand that this is two military people talking as smart as you are. Why did you join the Marine Corps?

Brie

Oh, oh, you know. Everyone has different pitches and ways of getting you interested in their service. And I was very interested in the army. The Navy gave a good pitch. You’ll be able to do great things with us, and you know Air Force has a great quality of life, and the Marines are just big-hearted people that aren’t necessarily the brightest, and they have the best hook of just like, well, if you can make it. In and II was like, oh, all right, what are the qualifications? What do I need to do? 

And so. I did a pretty quick turn on the application, and I bought a one-way plane ticket. I just thought I would go to Australia before starting a real job in a career in which I could get one last big adventure. It was my first big solo trip, but I applied for the Marine Corps and then, two days later, got on a plane and just moved to Australia. 

And then a few months go by, and they e-mail and say, hey, congratulations. You started in a couple of weeks, like, come on back—the States. So yeah, quick, turn on that. But it was… I’m glad I got the chance to go. I think that large adventure type is difficult to do later in life.

John

Yeah, no, for sure. From a traveling perspective, you couldn’t have done any better than the Marines or the Navy, just simply because of the way that they run things. I have a couple of buddies in the Marines. I have a couple of buddies that are in the seals, and it would seem to me. 

From everything I’ve talked to you with, the army guys and then the people I know in the Air Force, both the Navy and the Marine Corps travel far more than either the Air Force and the Army as far as exotic destinations. I’m not necessarily talking about deployments, but they’re rare in the Army. You can’t, OK now. It’s rare in the army you get, you know, some of these other locations; it just doesn’t seem to happen this much.

 So, whereas nearly everybody I’ve talked to in the Marine Corps has been somewhere in the East, it’s like there, how do you guys do that?

Brie

And it is. It is very nice that Okinawa is such an easy place to go and be located, so some people would prefer to stay in Pendleton, California, and then some have a lot of families on the East Coast. That was the first duty station that I requested, and I was very happy to be able to go to Okinawa. 

And then, when you’re doing larger-scale exercises and working with different partners, you’re going to places like the Philippines and Thailand, which is very cool. Getting the chance to go and visit those places while you’re working is amazing, and then if you add a little bit of leave time on the back, stay a couple of extra days, and explore a little bit more of the countryside, it’s a great opportunity to be able to see something low price for you, and it ties in with your work. 

So it’s a little bit more convenient. You’re saving all the flight time, so. There are a lot of really cool opportunities for the exercises and some of the different places you can go. At the same time, you’re being stationed in places like Okinawa or up near Tokyo.

John

Yeah. Now you’ve been to, what, 70 countries? I think you said — or 118 countries; which one was it?

Brie

108 so far; yeah, my tracker stopped last year with COVID-19. I haven’t gone anywhere new for over about.

John

108.

Brie

A year and 1/2 Now almost. Well, it’s able to do all the country. So, I’ve been here in Stuttgart for over three years. And I took advantage of cheap plane tickets that you can get here every weekend and traveled all over Europe. So, it has been a great time and place to be stationed.

John

Yeah. Now, you know, one of the things that I find so interesting about this is that when you’re in Europe, visiting countries is like visiting states in the United States because everything is so condensed. I was just talking with somebody the other day, and many people don’t realize that Alaska covers 3/4 of the land mass of Europe. 

But to be able to get 108 countries while being, you know, full-time active duty for the last, you know, nearly ten years, right? I mean, that’s pretty extraordinary. 

And I hear a lot of people, and, you know, obviously military service. It makes it slightly different because we get 30 days to leave annually unless deployed to combat. Known. But how have you managed to travel that much? And I want you to kind of dig into this because I don’t think people should have an excuse. And if you can do it full time in the military, I mean outside of Europe, because you’ve lived there for the last couple of years. 

Just talk about how you’ve managed to do that because, you know, people don’t know this, but in the military, we don’t make a lot of money, so even those officers, you guys don’t make a lot of money.

Brie

Yeah. So, I think detailed planning has been a key part of it. Being able to schedule out and figure out how to do so many different places and taking full advantage of those 30 days is a massive help for being able to go to so many different places that when I was in Okinawa, I did one long trip where I just bounced in between different countries. So I think I started in. A quick flight to Cambodia took a two-hour flight for about $100 in Thailand, then flew up to China and India. 

So I was knocked out. I wanted to do the seven wonders of the world. So I was knocking a couple of those out, but again, just very detailed planning of looking at there are tons of different cheap airlines they can do. 

Of course, there are credit card hacks where you can use different credit cards, and being active duty, they have a couple of options like the Amex Platinum, which waives all your fees. Then you get discounts, or they’ll give you a certain amount for certain airlines. 

I read many different things, and I’ve tried to capture some of that in the blog and share some valuable advice for doing some of these things cheaper while also being younger. I was much more willing to stay anywhere I could find a cheap place, so hostels are a great way to travel on a budget. And I know people who haven’t traveled much, or they’ve gone to a few places where it may seem sketchier, a little less inclined to go to a hostel. Still, there are many great options for staying and very cheap places, and you meet people.

So a lot of these trips I’ve done by myself. I would prefer to travel with friends, but I never hold off or postpone a trip just because I will be traveling alone, which is another key one. When planning all of these things, just go ahead and try it; do a solo trip at least once. See if you like it. It’s an easier way to travel because you’re just focusing on one schedule, and what you want to do makes it easier to fill in many of the different activities you want to do in the different places you’re visiting, but there are cheaper ways to try. Otherwise, you should figure out how to use those days and maximize them, especially wherever you’re in the world. 

So if it’s Japan, Germany, Hawaii, wherever you’re at, even in the states where I was in Fort Story in the Virginia Beach area, I was constantly traveling from there. That’s when I hit more in South America. 

So, figuring out where those quicker flights are that you can take advantage of every 72, every 96, or the three in the four-day weekends, I’m always getting corrected by my army friends for saying 72 and 96. But just take full advantage of the days you have off because there are a lot of benefits to having so many of those days. Unfortunately, I haven’t gone home and visited my family much, and I know that they don’t appreciate that this is how I spend all my leave days. 

Still, it’s one of the ways I’ve gotten to see so many of these places and, as I mentioned before, go on the different exercises for work or TD Trips you’re doing in different countries and abroad. It’s easier to add on, so going to Morocco, I’ve done African lion that we have the exercise in Morocco. I’ve added a few days of leave on those trips to go different a few years after I went to African lions. 

So, you know, I stayed in Morocco and took a bus to a different city up to Marrakesh. From there, I went out and did this four-day trek through the Sahara, Riding Camels and staying in a campout in the middle of nowhere on the border of Algeria, which was a very cool experience. 

Another time, I was at the end of the Moroccan exercise. I jumped over to Egypt, and I got to see the pyramids again. If it’s on, you’re already there for work. You can save yourself a lot of money, and it’s just the time you’re taking in between and that shorter flight rather than. I was going all the way around the world again. 

John

Sure, sure.

Brie

It’s worth the opportunity.

John

Now, what was your first solo trap? As and then, I want to talk a little bit about, you know, being a female solo traveler because Expedia group says that the fastest-growing group of travel travelers is young, single females. So what was your first experience with that, and what, you know, what kind of things went through your mind?

Brie

So I think. My first very big, big adventure that did was the Australia trip.

So, right after college. I didn’t do any planning for it. I just thought, you know, Australia will be a safe, easy country to go to. I’ll just buy a plane ticket, and I think halfway there on the airplane ride, I realize I had nothing set up. I didn’t know where I was staying. I didn’t have a job. I had nothing planned out there. And I don’t think I would do that again. 

But it was a great experience because it put me outside my comfort zone. It’s easy there because everyone speaks English, and finding my way around and getting hired was super easy. I got a job there; I worked as a waitress in a nice restaurant. 

So I think just taking that big first step of going ahead and getting outside your comfort zone. Try it if you don’t like it. It’s not something I think some people would much prefer to travel with friends because you get to share experiences and everything. But I’ve had some phenomenal times on trips that I’ve done solo where I’ve just fallen into new groups of people that I’ve run into in one city and kind of tag along and join their group for ways. 

And I’ve stayed friends with a ton of different people that I have met all over the world on these different solo trips. When you’re alone, you’re forced to talk with whoever is there and meet different people. And it’s been a positive experience, I think. 

But for what you said about how there are so many, this is a fast-growing group of people over the last ten years; I’ve seen many more solo females in New City.

John

Yes

Brie

And I think they’re also much easier to link up with when traveling and you’re in a random city in Europe or whatever for a weekend. I’ve just met many different women traveling by themselves and exploring Europe or traveling through any city.

John

Yeah. Would you say that you’ve had any experiences that have made you question, and there’s a very specific reason why I’m, I’m bringing this up, but would you say there have been any experiences you’ve had that’s made you question the idea of traveling solo as a female?

Brie

So, I did have one in — I landed in Barcelona and was preparing for this little solo road trip around the country. I was on my way to do the running of the Bulls in Pamplona, and someone came up. 

So I was doing an inspection. I rented a car and put my bags in the back seat. While walking around the car to check for any scratches, somebody came up, took my backpack out of the back seat, and started running; a lady yelled at me and told me she was like, ” Oh, that man took your bag, ” and I immediately chased him. I just saw Red Training for the PFT. I was running all the time then, so I just chased him, screaming every four-letter word, and I think he probably was terrified that some psychotic woman was running after him in the parking garage. He dropped my bag, and I ran out, grabbed it, and went back to the. 

A couple of minutes later, it finally arrived. I caught up with, like, that could have gone way worse, but I think again, being in the military, you just quickly react to things. If that had happened when I was fresh out of college, it would have been a completely different experience because my passports were in that bag. My wallet was in that bag.

John

Way worse.

Brie

That would have been an extremely rough start to a trip. Even when that happened, after years of being a very experienced traveler, that it’s still, those things can still happen. 

So. I think being prepared is one thing, but you never know exactly how you will react in that situation, so there are pros, I think, to go with groups because it gives that element of safety. But there’s still going to be the unexpected.

John

Yeah, but too. That situation in Barcelona could have happened to you in New York.

Brie

Right, absolutely.

John

You know, and like I said, I had an actual agenda and was asking this. Because I, you know, you have to have the wisdom to know where it’s safe to go, whether you’re a male or a female, and you know it doesn’t matter, you know, by and large, whether or not you’re a male or female. 

Now I’m a bigger guy, you know, chances are. Unless it’s a group of people, I will be safe no matter what. Where I go, but I still have to, you know, be smart about where I’m choosing to go. You’re not going to find me, you know, out at 3:00 in the morning. 

And then, you know, a slummy part of a city, right? You know, I’m going to exercise some wisdom there, but. The idea and I hear this so much being in the travel industry. Third, I have big travel groups where women are far more afraid to travel solo, and I keep trying to tell them there’s no difference between traveling to Europe or, you know, some of these other countries. Then there is if you are traveling to New York City or Chicago. Truthfully, there are international incidents where somebody is actually in trouble. 

And I’ve only heard. A couple of them. No. I’m also the guy who’s telling ladies. Hey, you know, now, this has been a while. There’s before COVID. And I was like, I was in one group, and they were talking about heading to a very southern remote part of Egypt. I was like, yeah, I’m not sure that that’s a good idea as a solo female. I mean, you’re bordering Sudan. 

So, like, we have to be smart. Where we go, but as a big American white male, I probably wouldn’t go to the southern border of Egypt. She’s not on the top of my list because I know what happens just a little bit further South, you know? 

So, just you know, for the ladies listening to hear her, you’ve done 108 countries, you go solo often, and the worst thing that’s happened to you is a purse Jacker.

Brie

Yeah, definitely. And I think one of the things about what you were saying about where you can go is that there are cities in the state. So I was going on one trip from here, where I flew to Detroit for training. I was teaching a course and then went from Detroit back in.

Senegal and I were going through all my safety briefs and everything, getting ready to leave for the trip, and I was like. I think Detroit is probably a more dangerous portion of this trip than it will be going into the car. Like, the car is a very safe city. I know the areas I know the restaurant is like, and I know I’m much more familiar with it. With Senegal, there are places in the States, but I think you’re also more likely to let your guard down there. 

And when you’re abroad, I think that’s one of the benefits. And when you’re traveling solo, is that? You take a little bit more responsibility. I know I do that. I carefully watch what I drink and how late I stay. The neighborhoods I’m going to. Whereas if you’re with a group, it’s easy; I think it’s just to kind of go with the flow and go to different places. But when you’re traveling alone, you do. You are a little bit more aware, and that’s helpful to keep you safe from those solo trips.

John

Yeah. And you know, being that you’re military, you’re, you know, many people don’t think about it this way. But you can tell in the things you’re saying. 

I wrote a PDF for solo women travelers. And, you know, the number one thing is just to do a little research about the country you’re going to, right? Learn a couple of their key phrases if you happen to know people. Connect with them right off the bat. 

Meanwhile, as military, we kind of think about that, and we go, oh, that’s so common sense. But I don’t know how common sense it is, and it’s good for people to understand that well. #1, if you’ve ever been to New York City, you probably shouldn’t let your guard down. And if you haven’t been, then take. This conversation has a reason why you shouldn’t. I think New York’s been one of the most dangerous places I’ve been outside of Afghanistan.

Brie

It’s one of the most dangerous to drive, and I’m always nervous driving through New York. I’ll drive pretty much anywhere. Oh, you got to be careful there.

John

So now I want to transition a bit because you do the same type of traveling that I do, which is very adventure or event experience-based, and we both climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. So, tell me, how did that kind of happen for you when you went? Why did you go? I mean you; you don’t hear about that very often. There are not a ton of people who have done Mount Kilimanjaro.

Brie

Yeah. So, I started doing more mountain climbing. I think the first smaller mountain I did was Mount Fuji, and Tokyo loved the experience and thought it was super easy.

So, I was like, well, let’s just keep trying. So, I went to Patagonia and hiked the five or the W down there for five days. And then continued finding smaller mountains but hadn’t done any of the Seven Summits or any larger mountains and so on? I was going fairly frequently again to Africa for work, and so for one of the trips, I did research to figure out when was a good time of year to go to avoid the rainy season; I tried to do a little bit of prep, but it isn’t easy when you’re busy with work all the time. So, I picked the time frame to go in December, and it was 2 1/2 years ago, I think when I did Kilimanjaro.

John

OK.

Brie

I added it to a trip I had signed up for, so I did it with a tour guide company, but then everyone else that was supposed to be going on the group fell off, so it was just me and my guide that we hiked up the mountain together. It was again the first time I had done one of the larger mountains, and so I was a little bit concerned about, you know, how steep that was going to be. How is the altitude going to affect me? And I was. I was super surprised. It’s not an incredibly difficult climb. It’s just you keep walking, and I think again, for people in the military, you’re like, oh, that’s not bad. You know, you just put your head down and keep walking. 

And the guy constantly told me, ” Oh Pole- Pole,” which is Swahili. I know you would recognize that term slowly, slowly. 

John

Pole- Pole.

Brie

Climbing the Mountain was a very nice, relaxed pace. It poured rain for the first day, I think, and maybe a day and a half, and then it cleared up, and we had beautiful weather on the trail. There weren’t many people because it was closer to the off-season. And it was a great experience.

So, getting up to the top, we did it in a little bit quicker time because he let me just keep going. And it was really fun. Pick up some Swahili phrases. Everyone’s singing and dancing around the little camps at night. And you look up, and it’s just All-Stars in the sky. And you can see the silhouette of the mountain peak that you’re climbing towards. And just a very cool experience.

John

It was one of my highlights, for sure.

Brie

It’s such a beautiful place. So, I mean, pack up, and we camp out. Get up around midnight for the morning summit. Morning. The wind is just absolutely howling. Snow is blowing everywhere. You wake up, see this whole little string of glowing lights up the mountain, and realize that’s all the people who’ve just been hiking the entire night. We put on our packs and just started going, and it was back and forth of, like, take the little Gator off my face so I could breathe in, put it back on because it was so cold outside. 

But it was continued climbing up the mountain. We didn’t have a couple of hours, so we ended up being the first ones that got up to the very summit, or I think one person was in front of us, but we had the whole top to ourselves, and we got there just before the sun rose and it was incredible.

So, when I climbed Mount Fuji before it tried to climb, it was sunrise, and a big storm had rolled in. So, we made it to the top. It didn’t see anything. So, this was the opposite experience. It’s worth seeing everything lining up in the vast plains stretching below you, and all the gorgeous sunrise colors are coming up, but it is still very cold. So, we briefly enjoyed the moment at the top and then hustled back down the mountain, but yeah.

John

Right. Yeah, the wind was pretty significant when I went. I got AMS the first time. I got sick at 17-5 and then decided. I did that; I just couldn’t accept that and returned a second time. My second trip was more frustrating in one way than my first one: I was in pretty good shape for my second go-around and was having a really good time, and I just heard this Noise off to my right. 

And here comes this little bitty 70-year-old Japanese lady screaming up the mouth. That lady went so fast it was like my ego was bruised. I was like, no, I like. I can’t handle that. My guy was like, bully, bully, bully, bully, bully, bully, bully, bully, don’t bully, don’t bully. And I’m like, yeah, it’s like that chick. I screamed up the.

Mouth bully, bully, don’t worry.

But it was just so wild to see, you know. And then we had one guy there on a medical mission trip. He was a doctor, had no boots, had nothing. And I wore tennis shoes and climbed. You know, like no preparation at all. He’s like, yeah, I just decided to do that. We’re sitting there and eating that raw rice. They’re at about 16. It was before, you know, before we made the summit push. 

So, you know the stories you hear and the things you see on that mountain, I’ll never forget I’m going back next year. They’re cramped, everything with COVID chills out. With my 15-year-old son, he’ll be 16 And wants to climb.

Brie

That’s going to be such an. It was a good experience to do with him. It would be so cool for him.

John

Yeah, it’ll be amazing. Now, you’re not stopping with Kilimanjaro, though. You want to do the other ones as well.

Brie

Yeah. So, after doing Kilimanjaro, and as you said, you talked to so many interesting people on the mountain. So many of them are legitimate climbers that they, a handful of people, were talking about which of the other seven they had done and mounted. Elbrus was one that a lot of people continue to recommend. You should go and do that one next, and I figured since I’m here in Europe, that’s easier to do.

So, it’s in Russia, which is challenging as an American citizen. They, but you jump through all the hoops, and I went there in 2019, so a couple of months after I’d done Kilimanjaro, I immediately turned around and went and did Mount Oh breast in Russia. 

So, I did ice training for that one because you have to use the crampons, and I thought we would have to use some ice picks on the way up. 

So, I learned how to do that. In preparation for it, and then we barely, I mean, you wear crampons when you climb it, but it was not the same thing. It’s just, you know, sticking with it, keeping a good slope. Place get up in the middle of the night, and you make the push. 

John

Yeah, and that one’s slightly different because you start climbing at 12,000, right?

Brie

I think something like that. Yeah, it was. It was a little bit higher than Kilimanjaro. No, is it?

John

So the starting point is higher, but it’s 2000 feet lower, and you have to trudge through the snow. That was the big thing about Elvis. You have to be in really good shape. Me to do algebras, you’re not doing as much elevation, but you’re like plowing through snow, so you have to be yours. Your legs have to be in really good shape for that one.

Brie

Yeah. And a couple of weeks before that, I had been surfing, and I had sea urchins. So, the water wasn’t quite deep enough; I came off and got sea urchins that got on my feet. So, I had 60 little spines that broke off. I had to go to the doctor, and they tried to cut out most of them, but I still had some infected sea urchin spines left in my feet. There were about five of them. The doctors said, “Do not go and climb this mountain like it’s a bad idea. You might be able to do it, but it won’t be good. It will be super unpleasant, and that’s what you’re saying, where you’re trudging through the snow. And I was like, well. I already paid. I already got everything approved. I didn’t want to back out, so I just did it.

I had lidocaine patches that made it up to the top. I hobbled back down it. That’ll make it easier for the next time. I think, just remembering, you know, I did this in Russia with infected feet. I’m going to be fine—the next mountain.

Right. That’s so wild. That’s that. That’s something tough.

John

Before COVID-19, you told me you would do Vince massive, right?

Brie

Yes. So, that was my plan for the end of 2020. So, I had, you know, I did the seven wonders of the world before I turned 25, and I wanted to hit the seven continents before I turned 30. 

So, I had planned on going last December and doing my last continent and going and seeing and hiking Vincent Mass. Unfortunately, COVID canceled all the hikes and trips planned for last year, so I’m unsure if I can make it there this December; timewise, with the school that I’m going to, I don’t know if I’ll be able to, but that is the next big bucket list—an adventure item I want to do.

John

Yeah. Now, that mountain is in Antarctica. For those of you who don’t know, and you’re, and most people save that for 2nd to last because of the cost of airfare. So, how did you manage that?

Brie

So, I had been saving and putting down the money I had just saved for a year and some change from coming off the last mountain. I don’t know what I think. I’m just going to continue saving and putting it aside. I might try and, you know, work with a few outdoor companies. I also do some sponsored things on my social media accounts.

So, hopefully, I’ll be able to pair up with a really good company. And work with them on doing this. Exploration down there takes some cool videos and makes it a story that others can engage with, but I don’t know exactly.

John

  1. OK. Yeah, because when I’ve talked to most of the climbers, that one tends to be, you know, second or third ever. You know. It is your last one, and then it just depends on the climber’s skill level. It tends to be massive or unclogged Vincent. You know, just kind of depending because then cog on yoga, you’ve got to do a lot of vertical ascents and ice picks and being tied in, and you know so. 

So, it has a little bit more technical climbing. Meanwhile, the first four Elbrus Kilimanjaro, the one in Australia, which I forget the name of…

Denali, you don’t …  It is like being in the military. It’s just one foot in front of it. The other. Whereas the last three tend to be a little bit more technical. So that’s so cool. And then, Morocco, and you’ve just done some… When are you going to swim with the great whites?

Brie

Oh, that’s another one I have wanted to do, so I’ve done some diving with sharks in different places. I think Australia, when I was living there, was the first time I had seen sharks in the water in Ishigaki. It’s a little island off of Japan. I went there when they had the hammerheads coming through. I haven’t made it to the great whites yet, though. 

One of my big diving goals is to go to South Africa and do that. Also, I think it would be cool to travel more of the coastline there and hopefully make a road trip down South Africa. But I was hoping to do that before I left here. It doesn’t look like with COVID, it’s going to be a possibility just yet, but hopefully soon.

John

So, what is it that drives you to be this type of adventure? Like, where does this come from? Like, is this? Know hereditary? Was your dad or your mom like this? I’m like. You know, when I talk to people, I find it rare amongst men and extremely rare amongst women, so it’s just amazing to me that you do all this stuff. Where’d you get it from?

Brie

I don’t know. Probably a few screws loose, as my parents would say they’re not wired the same way. Usually, if I go so, I’ve done. I did bungee jumping a handful of times. They did it like at the world’s first bungee jump place in New Zealand and then the highest in Macau. I’ve done a bunch of skydiving, especially this last year, and they never want to know what I’m doing until after I’ve finished it because they want to know that I’m safe. 

On the back end, they’re fine when I’m safe and walking on the ground. I’ve survived it, but they would rather not know anything leading up to it. And especially some of the places I go to, we just want to know when you’re safe. In the end, I know I was…

I always loved Indiana Jones and Lara Croft and the big adventures and was like, someday I’m going to go and see all of these places. I just made my whole bucket list. I think sitting on the side of a pool in Ohio when I was lifeguarding of, like, here’s all the dream places I’m going to do when I’m out of here. 

And I’ve slowly, just and again, I think the more you go, the more confidence you build and the more you realize how feasible things are. Because when you’re in a small town in the middle of the Midwest. It seems forever away and impossible to get to, but after you’ve made one trip, you realize it wasn’t that impossible like I could do all these crazy things. 

Then you start looking, and you also meet people along the way. And you talk to them, and they say some of these new ideas. Things that you had never even thought of doing before, like me doing Kilimanjaro; I’d never thought of doing the other mountains until I started. And you did that first hike, and then you met other people. You start seeing, you know, these are feasible to go and do these things and to try them, and that’s one of the things I love about the traveler community: you just get inspired. You find these crazy destinations or festivals or cool things that you can do in countries all over the world.

John

Yeah, that’s amazing, you know, and it’s an addiction that feeds itself, right? So, you get to the top of Kilimanjaro, and you’re like, when’s the next one, you know? Yeah. Or, you know, and I think for a lot of people like us over the last year, it has been a special form of torture. This is the longest I’ve ever gone without an international trip. And it’s been just absolutely brutal. 

And you sit there, and you think about getting on the plane. I am going to a new place, trying new foods, meeting new people, and seeing new cultures. And I think it just gets really woven into our DNA, right, you know, and even my kids now are like, hey, when’s the next trip? Where are we going? What are we doing? 

And so, my kids have been fortunate. To have that sewn into them from an early age. It’s just so interesting talking to people, and like I said, I find it rare to meet guys who are as crazy as I am; I want to do these things. It’s even crazier when I meet a woman who does, like.

Hopefully, for everybody listening today, you know your story will inspire them to do more than they ever thought they could. And that’s one of the great things about being in the military: You learn how capable you and your body are of accomplishing things I thought you could.

Brie

And I think there are so many new opportunities, especially if they’re becoming more connected, and you can see new places and places that people are going and see the steps of what they made that happen. It’s an amazing time to be able to travel and to go and do these things. And hopefully again soon. We’ll be able to do that. We’ll start reopening safely but quickly.

John

Now you know. Here you are. You were a full-time active-duty marine. You transition to full-time reserves with the Marines. And then you make a, I don’t know if you would even call it making a pivot, but you begin to do, you know, online social media, advertising, and cooperative agreements. How did that all come about? I mean, what started that?

Brie

So, I’m usually very slow to join any new social media platforms or apps because I just don’t want to put the time into doing any of those things. I’d rather go out and do the I’ll have all the experiences myself, but I eventually got on Instagram. I think back to when I was living in Japan. Just to have some photos and share them with friends and family. 

And then when I was there, I started doing a lot more travel all around the Pacific, you know, going and playing with the baby tigers in Thailand, going to the Taj Mahal, and going to Burma. Burma was one of the coolest places I think I’ve been. I started by riding a bicycle through the old Bagon and the old temples there and posting a few of them. These pictures and they were getting more. And more people. And as you just meet other people on the platform who are interested in the same thing, some photos will be shared. 

And then I started getting more and more messages like, oh, how did you get to? You know, Burma, I think, is a great example. Like, how did you get to Burma? How did you go to Cambodia? What were yours? Tips. How did you do this so low? It started getting many of the same questions, and I was like, well, maybe eventually I’ll start a travel blog. 

And so, after a few years, I think it got to 10 or 20,000 people following me on Instagram. And I finally went ahead and just put it together, like, let’s pull the trigger. Let’s do the travel blog thing. 

And so, I use that to give people useful and practical advice for planning trips, hopefully. In the beginning, I was doing a lot more like, here are places you can stay that are very cheap. Here’s what you need to know about currency. Some practical information, and then I’ve spread that more to my interest of what we’ve been talking about, like adventure travel of here’s some of the coolest places and most unique experiences that I’ve had in different locations, and that’s what I try to put on there to even. 

If you can’t travel at the moment, then hopefully, it’s some good ideas, and it will generate places and trips and things that you would like to do as the someday trip and put it together in planning things out. Because, again, that’s how I’ve made it happen so far as to do all these things. Do the detailed planning, take advantage of the few days off, and take advantage of wherever you’re located because I think there are so many. It’s easy to think Oh, it would be far easier to do this. If I were living in your country, there are always opportunities wherever you’re located to find off-the-beaten-path things. Explore more areas locally. But that was how I got started with the travel blog, and I think they just kind of feed back and forth between. 

I enjoy both platforms because they think they help connect with a lot of other like-minded people, and again, they help feed the cycle of you getting inspired, and hopefully, you pass along some good information. That helps encourage others to go on a trip they hadn’t considered before.

John

Right. Yeah. And you know, when we talk about that just so that people because the assumption is that everybody who travels like you and I do is extraordinarily wealthy. So, when taking a trip, talk about your budgeting quickly.

Again, I’m sure you’ve diversified by being an influencer and having a blog, and you’ve monetized those things. I’m sure that helps, but I want people to understand. They can travel like you’re traveling without breaking the bank or going bankrupt to do it.

Brie

Yeah, most of my trips are just those I pay for. And so, it is again planning to look for the deals. And I typically use Google Flights. But there are many different platforms for finding cheap flights and comparing, you know, a couple of weeks’ difference of figuring out when you can take that. Take an extra couple of days, or take those cheaper flights, or fly it into a different location and take a ferry out there. Place that usually that’s the most expensive part of it. 

But then there are so many options nowadays for how to stay cheaply. Airbnb is a great option. Again, sometimes I still stay in a hostel; you can stay in a single room in one of those, and it’s a great way to meet people when you’re traveling, eating, and drinking. I think you can do that pretty cheaply. I’m always happy to try St. Foods in different places. You get to eat through the city and get a more authentic experience when you’re willing to try more of the locals. Stuff. And there’s just so many different countries. 

So, I think also when you’re in the United States, it’s extremely expensive to travel. I’m even hesitant to fly like when I’m stationed, like when I was in Fort Story, and now going back, the flights in the US are so much more expensive than when you’re in different countries. In Japan, I would catch flights for 100 or $200.

John

For real?

Brie

And that’s. You know you’re going to a new country; you’re going to Hong Kong for a long weekend, and you’re getting to take a ferry out to Macau for $20 or something like that, and you’re spending not that much money for going on these cool and unique trips. 

But again, I think we get to go to Majorca for €20 on the flights here in Germany. The flights are wild sometimes, but then checking other platforms of taking trains or whatever is reliable transportation is a great way to save, and there are cheap options if you’re willing to take some time and look for it. Before the couch surfing, I think that’s kind of gone away, which is probably better. It seemed a little of an odd thing. I tried it a couple of times and met some nice people, but that’s when I wouldn’t necessarily still do that now because I think there are so many good options they can get for really good prices. 

And then with experiences like just going. Renting a bicycle for an afternoon, you can see so much of the entire city. Get some exercise. You get the lay of the land and many good ways to explore without taking expensive tours. Doing like the free walking tours I love doing—that new city.

John

That’s right, yeah.

Brie

They point out some great local places you can go, and you know you give them a small tip at the end, and it’s a win/win in both directions. And you typically meet people, especially when again so travel. It’s a great way to meet other people coming through the city and just passing by for a couple of days.

John

Yeah. So, when I went to Iceland, that was one of the things I noticed right off the bat. I scored an incredible plane ticket; I think it was like 280 bucks or 330 bucks, which is very low to get to Iceland. 

And then, when I got there, I started looking at what I wanted to do because I bought the ticket but left like 30 days later. I just saw the deal, and I was like. OK, I’m gone. 

But what I noticed was all the. Tours were a 150/200 bucks. Then, when I started looking into it, You know it. I could drive to all those places for free. 

So I ended up just renting a car, which in the front side was a little bit, you know, pricey because Iceland charged me like a $600.00 deposit that I wasn’t planning on, but I got it back as soon as I was done. But I did so many things in five or six days, whatever it was. I was there. It made up for that $600.00 because I wouldn’t have gotten to do that many things. I mean, I went and saw week, I went and. I did the Golden Circle. 

I went driving in the countryside and went did some glacier climbing. I did all these random things that cost me nothing because I rented my vehicle. Then, I stayed at some apartments, Airbnb, which cost me $300.00 for the week. Or $400.00, I mean, so all in. By the time the trip was over, I had spent 1,300.

Brie

Yeah. And they have the cheap flights because WOW is going from the States, and they’re trying to make that one off, like, a layover destination. So, I think it went from DC to Iceland for New Year’s Eve, costing like $300 or something.

So, it is similar to it’s just; there are good options if you just take the time and you look and plan a little, that there’s different pop-up last minute. Deep deals that that come up. You can take advantage, and they do the same when describing. I was laughing cause I’d done it. I did almost the same itinerary, going there and driving around, and then I think you see especially one downside with social media: you’ll see like the Blue Lagoon, which is a gorgeous place. It’s this nice bath that you can go to. But if you go inland for 15/20 minutes, there was another hot spring that was, I think, 1/4 of the price for an entire afternoon. There were no crowds. Probably three or four people were there for the entire day, which was a better experience. I was like, I could have skipped the blue lagoon completely of all the crowds, like having to get the ticket.

And it was just so expensive that there were so many different options. And I think if you take some time, that one was one. Looking back, I didn’t need to do the blue lagoon because better options were more authentic. Again, experience if you’re willing to go a little off the beaten path and can do such cool things.

John

Yeah. And I’ve found that. Going off the beaten path has always been better than doing the tourist attractions. I’ve just had a lot more fun and do most of my stuff solo; it can be expensive with four kids. I take them as much as I can. However, unfortunately, I can’t get them passports. You know. The ability to not be into tourist attractions, so I always ask when I have people from other countries, what’s the best thing you would want to see in your country that tourists don’t know about? And I asked that every time I travel, where do you think I should go? You know, and I.

Brie

Are there other options for off the beaten path of the Volcano Trail through Iceland that it’s like, well, you could go there? You can spend a handful of days crossing and seeing some of the most beautiful landscapes there, and you’re spending next to nothing cause you’re staying in the mountain huts. For a couple of dollars, you pack your food. 

So there’s. Ways to get unique experiences in these places that don’t have to be the cookie cutter version that everyone else goes and sees the same waterfalls, which are beautiful, but you can have a completely different experience for a fraction of the cost. You are going to a lot of places.

John

Yeah. And I mean, you could do that in every country, you know, regardless of your experience, and as you said, it literally once you’ve done it a couple of times. After that, you stop worrying about it, and I’ve even had some crazy scenarios overseas where the guide company didn’t show up to pick me up. So, not speaking any of the native language and nobody who spoke English had to figure out how to get 6 hours. East on my own, and that was my very, very, very first international trip ever. In the middle of the Civil War. So, like, yes.

Brie

No, but then after. That you’re like, I can certainly get any.

John

You can get it anywhere. It’s like, you know, and hopefully, the people listening never have an experience like that. Even though I loved it, I probably would not encourage most people to travel again. Yeah. So now this was, you know before we had the Internet. So. In my defense, I didn’t know. They were still in the middle of their civil war.

Brie

You know.

John

So, what was the best way for somebody to contact you or follow your blog? Where can they contact you?

Brie

So, I have the blog and the Instagram title under the same name. So it’s the Bree adventure, which fits with all the adventure travel all over the place. But I’m on. Yeah, both of those share many of my travel experiences.

John

Great. Listen, Bree; thank you so much for your time and service. It’s just been an awesome conversation with you. I thoroughly enjoyed it and hope to see you around soon.

Brie

Thank you so much for having me on. This has been a lot of fun, and it’s giving me the itch to go back out and do more of these. Things I can’t wait for it.

John

Alright, thanks a lot.

Brie

Thank you. Bye.

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