Richard Nohs is a Long Island, NY resident who has raveled and lived around the world. We stumbled across his page on Instagram and have been addicted ever since. Some of his travel experiences are truly unbelieveable. Check out why he is a Fly Guy.
Soul Society 101: What inspired your interest in travel?
Richard: As a child, my family would always take road trips and sometimes fly here and there for vacation. Traveling just became a part of me. I have also always been intrigued with people and things that were/are different from me. The town I grew up in and schools I went to were very culturally diverse. I would say that I first began to travel abroad when simply asking friends about their culture and where they came from as an adolescent. Emotionally, I was already on my way there.
Soul Society 101: Does your travel have to do with your career, or is it mostly personal?
Richard: Yes and no. I have done paid travel to do photography, speak at engagements, sing and share in various ways. I have also worked places where I'd either earn enough to travel or travel for free (i.e. US Marines, Retail Management, Airlines) but most of my travel is simply a result of my desire to see what's out there. Travel is a priority for me and I've had to sacrifice having many other things that others may consider a "normal" way of life to make it happen. It is totally worth every sacrifice made though. I invest my time, thoughts, money, passion and everything I know about me to securing a place where ever my heart desires to be. I travel internationally much more often now than I did a few years back but I started wandering abroad at least once a year as a Celebration of Life. It started out around 10 years ago when I wanted to celebrate my birthday on foreign soil. The first few years, I was joined by one of my best friends and this past year I was joined by him and two others very close to me. It keeps expanding by both people and destinations because regardless to where I am and what I am doing, I have made travel a focus. Since I'm always looking for new places to go, I'm also always looking for ways to get there and new ways to make it all work for me.
Soul Society 101: What was the first stamp in your passport?
Richard: The first stamp in my passport was from Japan!
Soul Society 101: What are your top 3 travel experiences to date?
Richard: That's a tough question!
Israel - BEING in this place that I have learned of and visualized my entire life was overwhelming, to say the least. It was like the young me was there almost as a travel partner, touching the stones, inhaling the aromas and memorizing the sounds and everything started to connect and explode all at the same time.
Iceland - I was only there for about 3 days and it blew my mind in such a short time. Interestingly so, part of what contributed to this trip being so significant was walking behind Seljalandsfoss Waterfall. I first saw this waterfall on an IG Feature. I took a screen shot and told myself that I HAD to be there. About a year later, there I was. Iceland is like some fairytale land with its volcanoes, lava fields that run for miles, icebergs and waterfalls. I also didn't see many people that look like me there and there's something about being the "foreigner" that I grow much stronger from.
Cross Country USA - This was such a pivotal point for me in life. I had flown across the waters quite a few times. I had made drives from NJ to Florida before but the two month trip I took solo in my car from NJ to California was what made me a "man" of travel. I had to come face to face with many fears on the road and I had to make do with lots of "nothing" many times. I got to get reacquainted with friends and family in many States between the coasts. I hiked and wandered around National Parks like Grand Canyon, Arches Ntl Park in Utah, The Rockies of Colorado and in whatever other strange place I found myself in after randomly detouring from my routes. As strange as it may sound, this was all terrifyingly exciting to me. I embraced the fears and uncertainties and I loved them all. That was definitely one of the most defining trips I've ever taken.
I'm going to throw Egypt in there without expounding since you only asked for three. I don't suppose I would need to say more.
Soul Society 101: What has been your craziest or most shocking travel experience to date?
Richard: I would have to say that the craziest travel experience that I have had to date was being thrown (almost literally) out of a bar/restaurant in China! I was beckoned to enter by a guy working at the door and so I decided to step in and check the place out. I wanted to see if this was where I wished to plant myself for the night before ordering anything. I guess this didn't sit well with the workers. The guy who beckoned me in kept shoving a menu in my face and insisting that I sit and order something. I had no clue what else he may have been saying but he was annoying me and I gestured that he please give me a moment. That's when it seemed like someone from some sort of Chinese Mafia came out from the dark and started shoving me out and yelling at me with words that I couldn't understand but could certainly imagine. My first instinct was to push his hand off, look him in his face and tell him not to touch me! I did this to no avail because he got more aggressive with his pushing me out. It then occurred to me that I was quite possibly the ONLY one of my kind for miles and miles around and it wouldn't be wise for me to show my pride in this situation. I kept my brows furled to save face and not appear to be a punk but tucked my tail like a pro and walked the walk of shame out of that front door. After that experience, I almost threw the baby out with the bath water and dismissed the entire country because of two men. I then recalled all of the children smiling at me, the waves of many strangers, the mind blowing landscapes and the good cuisine I had during my journey. Dismissing the whole country because of this would have been not only incredibly stupid but also one of the biggest mistakes I could've made.
Soul Society 101: I honestly don't know what I woul dhave done in that situation, but that is good to note! What is on your travel list for 2015?
Richard: My 2015 list is just now starting to be compiled. I do see myself visiting the last of the U.S. States that I haven't visited. I have 5 left to go. I'm also setting my sites on Myanmar, Vietnam, India, Brazil and back to Israel, Iceland and Australia. I may not do them all but I'm mulling over them now.
Soul Society 101: What's your dream location to visit within your lifetime?
Richard: I actually have two. One of my dream locations is Antarctica! Its the only continent that I've yet to plant my feet on. I have every intention of doing so by February of 2016. Who knows, it may even join my list for 2015. The other is New Zealand. Haven't been there yet but GOD ... I must go soon!
Soul Society 101: If you could live a parallel life anywhere in the US or around the world, at the same time as your current life in your current city, where would it be and why?
Richard: Another very challenging question to answer. Its difficult to say because I LOVE nature and mountainous landscapes but I also LOVE the entertainment and convenience of city life! I am going to settle with London (or a surrounding area) for now. I say London because, for one, I could easily transition into the area since there's no language barrier. I also love that since its a part of Europe, I could explore other countries by train and/or car. London gave me the feeling of NYC on some sort of stimulant so there would be no shortage of entertainment but I could also get my hiking fix in countryside areas that many just don't know exist. Now, ask me the same question later and my answer may (would probably) change.
Soul Society 101: What has your biggest learning experience from traveling been?
Richard: "I" have been my biggest learning experience from traveling. No doubt, I have learned many "things" along the way though. One very valuable lesson I gained is that different is not necessarily better off or less fortunate. Different is just that ... it's different. To truly appreciate that difference, I have to sorta abandon what I have considered to be my truth and venture out into the mind of the one(s) I'm dealing with. I have to be them, even if but for a moment. I have to have their needs. I have to think their thoughts. I have to learn to survive how they survive ... even if but for a moment. Once I do, I may start seeing that just because someone pumps their water from a well and I get mine from a faucet doesn't make my way of life better than theirs. Just because I cook on an electric stove and they in a pot on a fire in a small room outside of their house doesn't mean they are less fortunate than I am. While I contend that everyone should have access to clean water, safe food and medicine, I don't think they should have to compromise the lifestyle that is very different from mine but valuable to them to get it. This is one lesson I've learned but on a larger scale, I have learned more of who "I" am through being the "foreigner" (sometimes, even on my own soil) by the relationships I forged with the people and their places.
Soul Society 101: What are some travel tips that you can share to help novice travelers create the best deals/experiences possible?
Richard: If you haven't registered with Airbnb yet, I would highly advise you to do so. It has been a great help to me in many countries. If you only plan to do one big trip then sure, do it up at a fancy hotel on the beach, etc, etc. If you plan to venture out to as many places as possible then you may need to stretch that dollar. I have found some great rentals on Airbnb that allowed me to spend more money elsewhere. After all, how much time do you plan to sit in your room anyway? I always Google the places I'm going to and go straight to the images. I'm very visual so I go through the images and write down places I like there that I'd like to explore. I then arrange them in priority of importance and research the most important ones thoroughly. This will help spend less time trying to figure out your days while away. There's so much more I could say but one very important thing is to ditch what you heard and what you "expect". Of course, we'll have some things we really hope to experience but what happens when a monkey wrench is thrown in your program (i.e. rain and rough waters cause your whale watching excursion to be cancelled)? I make my plans but I like to go with a mindset of allowing the place to "happen" to me. Allow the place to be what it is and don't try to fit it into your preconceived ideas. I feel like that's when you are really THERE.
Soul Society 101: Destination(s) with the best food?
Richard: Capetown, SA and Portugal
Soul Society 101: Destination(s) with the best beaches?
Richard: Hawaii, only been to Oahu so far though, Capetown and Australia
Soul Society 101: Destination(s) with the most unique experiences?
Richard: China without a doubt and Iceland
Soul Society 101: destination(s) with the best city/nightlife?