Saleh Stevens is a Bitcoin expert and entrepreneur from Los Angeles, California. With a background in computer science, he is an up-and-coming name in cryptocurrency today. He is also a seasoned traveler and meets with cryptocurrency proponents around the world to assist them with this exciting new part of the knowledge economy.
What is your hobby?
My hobby is international travel. I spend several weeks per year exploring Europe and Asia. I haven’t yet been to Africa, but it’s on my list for 2018.
How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?
I have always wanted to travel. I’ve been taking international trips for about seven years now. Before my Bitcoin investment took off, I was restricted to more affordable destinations around the United States, but now I have a lot more freedom to choose where I want to go.
Tell us what you love about it.
Ever since I was a little boy, I have wanted to be a world traveler. We lived near the Los Angeles International Airport: I would watch the big planes fly over the house and imagine where they might be headed. I was always envious of the people on those planes.
When we did get to travel as a family, I was always one of those little kids with my face pushed up against the glass, looking at all the planes. I used to collect airplane models as a kid.
Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?
I love the unpredictability of travel. I don’t like to plan my trips too far in advance. I prefer to fly to a central destination and then take local ground transportation. That way, I can explore as the whim takes me. I rarely stay in one place for more than two nights.
Train passes in Europe are so affordable, and the service is so much better than you’d receive in the US. Traveling by train gets me down on the ground with the everyday people at my destination. I enjoy striking up conversations with fellow travelers: I have even gone for drinks with people I just met.
Sometimes I think about starting out with luxury travel, but I’d rather have my boots on the ground than go through an endless parade of hotels that look just the same inside.
Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.
Not so much. Traveling is a solitary pursuit for me. I do visit travel websites like lonelyplanet.com for tips and resources. My family would probably prefer it if I spent more time in the US when I’m not working, but I feel like I should do all my traveling now while I’m single and don’t have responsibilities beyond my job.
Where do you buy most of your supplies?
I haven’t invested that much in equipment for traveling, per se. I do spend money on clothing and gear for my trips. I probably spend more on comfortable walking shoes than on anything else. Since I travel mostly by bus and train, I tend to pack just one backpack or rolling suitcase.
Again, I don’t really buy supplies for traveling. I tend to pack light. I do leave room in my bag for the occasional gift for my nieces and nephews.
Are there any good books for beginners?
Definitely the Lonely Planet series of books. Rick Steves’ Europe is also fun, but geared more toward couples and families traveling, so I don’t use his books as much.
How has this changed your life?
It’s made me more spontaneous. I’m much more likely to eat in a new restaurant or make friends with someone I don’t have much in common with. I worry a lot less about my possessions and more about my experiences. Travel has also developed my curiosity and my ability to get along with different kinds of people.
What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?
Pack light, shop around for airfare, take advantage of your frequent flyer miles, get a gate lounge pass if you can afford it, (you’ll soon have enough miles that you will be able to get one much more easily), and be open to new experiences.
Are there any other hobbies you have?
When I’m traveling, I like to see classical music concerts. I have often thought that I would enjoy having a saltwater aquarium, but I travel so much, I don’t think I would have the time to appreciate it. Perhaps I’ll have one someday if travel isn’t as appealing anymore. I have thought of taking up snorkeling to see the ocean that way.