Keepin' it Real

Sean Keener's Personal Blog

November 25th, 2015

Location Independent Work

Digital Nomad, Location Independent. These new terms were not in the lexicon of folks more than 10 years ago.

Today, it’s a movement with massive momentum.

There are so many websites and communities around this concept.

I’d say it’s “easy” todo today and if you are interested, it’s not too late.

Remote Year is a company that put groups of digital nomads together to travel and work creating a roving group/community for only $27,000/year. Wow. That is cheaper than living in many cities around the world.

I’m full of stoke for this movement as it bring a sense of freedom. We are lucky at BootsnAll – most of our colleagues have been location Independent since 2002, and ALL of them have been since 2009. We “closed” the office we had to make it officially, official.

Working While Traveling

When you can make extra money during your trip, it’s easier to travel longer and extend your budget.

Have you ever worked while traveling? What did you do and where? What was your experiences like? How did working while traveling change you?

CHALLENGE: If you haven’t traveled yet, or haven’t worked while traveling, what are five ways you could envision making extra money on your trip? They can be as real or fantastical as you’d like (keep it legal, though).
Pick one and tell us one thing you could do today to start this work (Contacting hostels? Starting a website?).

November 24th, 2015

Eating while travelling

In the past 10 years or so, when travelling for business, I’ve struggled with my optimal diet at time.

At home, I buy whole foods and eat a balanced healthy diet. When I get on the road, with meetings and socializing, I have, at times become less aware when I eat. I have tended to eat more, and with less discretion. Often times, coming back from a trip with a few extra pounds and feeling, “Puffy”.

In the past year, I’ve made a massive effort to change this behavour.

Strategies for Eating Well on the road
1) Bring healthy snacks for transition times like air travel. Fruit, nuts, protein bars, an empty water bottle.

2) With things like homestays and AirBnB taking off the past 5 years or so, get a place with a kitchen and shop local and cook. Eating out, as we all know is fun, but more expensive and often times may not be as healthy as choices you would make when you are preparing/cooking yourself.

3) When I do find myself out for events and dinners, I’ve been limiting my alcohol consumption to 1 or none. I find I make better eating decisions when I’m not going with the flow and have more than 1 drink.

4) For me, simple is beautiful. If I don’t have snacks to carry me over, I avoid all fast food joints. Almost always I can find an apple, or banana or something sensible that tastes good versus a Big Mac, Filet or Fish etc.

5) Local Markets – I injoy going to them and find what is in season and interesting to build a small reservoir of healthy eating options.

6) Slow down – Moving fast, trying todo everything, leaves less time for eating. When I go slow, I injoy what I’m eating/cooking and making the healthy choices that bring more joy.

Cooking on the Road

Traveling on a budget often means cooking your own food. As we travel we all come up with some creative ways to eat, and learn some amazing new cuisines – so let’s share our favourites.

CHALLENGE: Share a dish you’ve learned to cook abroad, or your favourite recipe you cook yourself when traveling. We aren’t looking for “pasta with butter” type of dishes. We want your most creative, healthy, and delicious recipes. Write down your recipe, title your dish, and share. Bonus points if you provide photos or make a cooking-show style video!
Bonus points if you provide photos, or make a cooking-show style video.

November 23rd, 2015

Slowing down in a modern world

It was easy
My 1st few indie travel experiences in the mid 90s did not have smartphones, iPads, and kindles available to interrupt slow travel moments and time.

Some memories of slowing down:
1) On many of my trips, deciding to goto 1 place for a period of time, instead of multiple places in a country trying to see it all

2) Chillin’ out in Warsaw for 6 weeks while I sorted out Ukraine visas. Instead of blasting around Eastern Europe, I did a 2 little trips out of Warsaw and just enjoyed where I was, versus where I could go. (Sept 1996)

3) Winter in New Zealand – I was married at the time, and I was happy to slow down and get to know the Waikato Region of New Zealand for 1 month in 2010 and 5 months in 2011/12.

Tools of Today, make this a bit more challenging

I highlighted the idea on a previous prompt. Today’s tech tools mentioned above, make it difficult to mentally slow down.

It’s uncanny, how many people I see relentless in their ability to check facebook, text message and be phrozen to their phone when waiting or they have 10 seconds of down time.

I am not judging. I am this person at times.

A few ideas for Slowing Down in Life and Travel

1) Chuck the devices away for 1 day or for a weekend. Or if you are on the road for a longer trip, put them away for a week or a month. Trust yourself, you can do it.

2) I’m a lucky man, and have 3 children aged 5, 3, 3. When together – I learned to “hide” the devices, including mine. It’s not an option then, and we end up having fun and learning without them.

3) When I’m waiting, just seeing other folks around me phrozen to their phones, reminds me to be present and slow the mind down.

Over the past 20+ years, I’ve heard countless people say they don’t have time to travel the world or do the things that they want to.

I’ve realized, we have the time, it’s a choice. We are free to choose how we spend every minute of everyday.

Will you spend you life checking facebook 1 more time. Will I?

Slow Down & Enjoy An Experience

Tell us about a time you slowed down and enjoyed an experience and how “slow travel” can be the best way to travel.

CHALLENGE: Go to a park, outdoor cafe, beach, or somewhere outdoors where you are around people. Sit for an hour without using a phone, laptop or other device. Just sit, watch, listen, observe, and enjoy the experience.
Did you learn anything about yourself or others during this time? How do you feel slowing down can help you experience a place better?

November 22nd, 2015

4 things I’ve learned

1) All that matters, is right now.

via CM

2) Learn and change.
Making the same mistake, that does not bring joy to you or others life over and over again is a road to misery

3) Love
Everything that people do, I do, comes back to a desire to be loved.

4) Hurt others = hurting yourself. Be good to others = being good to yourself.

Three Things You’ve Learned Through Life & Travel

What are three things you’ve learned the hard way? Be as serious or as funny as you want, but tell us three things you’ve learned through life and travel.

November 21st, 2015

Thoughts on Sharing in 2016 and beyond

When I saw this prompt, I thought of the original Code of Conduct Rule #20.

“Bottom line is to have fun, be open-minded, have a thirst for adventure, and a willingness to share.”

Willingness to share was and remains a core value of BootsnAll and I think that it remains alive when we co-created the Indie Travel Manifesto’s last value of “Share what you’ve learned with others

Sharing in today’s world is something I don’t even know how to describe. There is more “sharing” in the form of social media than the entire combined history of mankind.

With the ease of sharing, comes a lot of less valuable messages in my experience. I say that as a person and leader of an organization that has shared “not valuable” stuff in the past.

When BootsnAll identified our core values in the fall of 2011, it became apparent what to share. Each message we share today, we ask ourselves, does this align with our core values?

In a world where it is so easy to share, what is worthwhile to share? So many messages are flying through, does it matter?

If a message is shared, but no one hears it, did it make a sound or a difference?

Share What You’ve Learned With Others

We all have something to teach each other, whether we’ve traveled or not.

What is something you have learned while traveling? Did you just learn about a new country/city/place you didn’t know before?
Did you just learn about a new country/city/place you didn’t know before? Tell us about it (and show us some photos!).
Have you learned some travel tips that you wish you knew before you started traveling?
Tell us and help teach those of us that haven’t hit the road yet.

November 20th, 2015

My Story of Origin

February 1995

I had just made it to the island of Diu, in the province of Gujarati, India after taking 8 months to go overland from Europe to India.

I was staying at a guesthouse with a group of international travelers. After spending a few days in this beach town, and relaxing for the 1st time in months, I felt super empowered.

It was scary for me to go overland to India via Ukraine, Russia, Kazakstan, Western China, Tibet, and Nepal. It was not a relaxing trip.

While sitting on the beach, injoying a beer with motley crue of folks, I felt like I could do anything. I was 24 years old and realized at that moment while folks around the table talked of their life back home, their journey, that I had choices. I was free.

I could do anything. I did not have todo what I thought my parents, friends or people I grew up with thought I should do.

The evidence was all around me. There are so many options in this world, and no one is stopping me. The fear of following the crowd was gone. I did not feel the need to impress anyone, anymore.

I could be me.


Life Changing Journey/Moment…

Share the story of your life-changing RTW journey or the “A-HA” moment you had that changed your perspective on life.

Note: This can be before, during or after your travels.

November 19th, 2015

I’m here, you’re in Hawaii

Today’s challenge cracks me up. I’m in the PacNW, and it’s been raining, cold, and blustery the past few days as well as dark 16 hours per day.

Keener Blustery Day

My friend Willie in in Maui.

It’s a rich and complex world for sure! I’m grateful for the weather we are experiencing now, it makes the summer that much sweeter.

Happy Winter/Summer where ever you are.

Seeing Yourself in a Rich & Complex World

CHALLENGE: Let’s see you, wherever you are right now, in the world. Post a photo of yourself somewhere outside, and tell us about where you are. Whether you are local or abroad, give us some information about your location, what makes it unique, and why you like being there.

November 18th, 2015

Travel equals Learning

November 17th, 2015

Simple Moments

As I get older, I’m 42 years old when I’m writing this post, I appreciate and love this value.

As a young person, I was looking for that rush, and EPIC moment in travel and life.

The trick of it all is, that epic moments are happening all the time, right now. Where ever you are right now, be present for a moment and appreciate the details around you.

The long-term travel that I’ve done has helped me slow down and take the time to appreciate the simple moments in life.

For example, it’s 6:12 am on a Tuesday in November in the Pacific Northwest. It’s dark, it’s rainy, and I have a lovely cup of coffee. Just writing this short post…I’m injoying it.

Cheers to you and Seeking Pleasure in the Simple Moments & Details


Why only look for the big moment, spectacle or adventure when you travel? Try stopping along the way to enjoy all the little moments.

How do you enjoy the simple moments and details when you travel? What are the small things you enjoy in your everyday life?

CHALLENGE: The first thing in the morning ask yourself a question – “What would make me happy today?” Whatever pops into your head try to prioritize and make it happen.

What was the first thought you had? How did fulfilling it make you happy? How can doing this exercise each day help you find pleasure in the simple moments and small details when you travel?

November 16th, 2015

What is EcoTourism?

Google defines Ecotourism as:

“tourism directed toward exotic, often threatened, natural environments, especially to support conservation efforts and observe wildlife.”

Googling the definition of Responsible Travel brought me this:

“Responsible travel is a new way of traveling for those who’ve had enough of mass tourism. It’s about respecting and benefiting local people and the environment – but it’s about far more than that.” via

The question of What is Ecotoursim? and What is Responsible Travel? brings me back to a value of the Indie Travel Manifesto:

Learn the economic, political and environmental context of my host culture

That value, works for me as a guide towards responsible travel.

The very act of learning, brings awareness, and the ability to make informed decisions on my choices while I travel.

EcoTourism & Responsible Travel

You’ve heard about traveling responsibly, conservation, and ‘leaving only footprints’ when you travel, but how can you tell what is actually responsible tourism?
Do you try to travel responsibly? How do you define ecotourism and how important is it to you? (Be honest.) What are some ways you can travel responsibly and how you can tell if a company/tour is actually eco-friendly or not?
Have you ever been on an eco-trip? If you have photos, show us!

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