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Alumnus Eddie Kampelman pursues his goal of traveling the world

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On his trek at Torres Del Paine National Park in Chile, alumnus Eddie Kampelman takes a break to capture a positive memento of his own. “I never felt like I was wasting my time or money on such a life changing experience,” Kampelman said. “Certainly I’ve learned the most from ‘underdeveloped’ countries. Most of the people are very creative and hardworking and have a very positive attitudes despite not having a lot of things. [It serves as] a great reminder that happiness doesn’t come from material objects.”

On his trek at Torres Del Paine National Park in Chile, alumnus Eddie Kampelman takes a break to capture a positive memento of his own. “I never felt like I was wasting my time or money on such a life changing experience,” Kampelman said. “Certainly I’ve learned the most from ‘underdeveloped’ countries. Most of the people are very creative and hardworking and have a very positive attitudes despite not having a lot of things. [It serves as] a great reminder that happiness doesn’t come from material objects.”

Photo courtesy of Eddie Kampelman (Instagram: @ekampelman)

Photo courtesy of Eddie Kampelman (Instagram: @ekampelman)

On his trek at Torres Del Paine National Park in Chile, alumnus Eddie Kampelman takes a break to capture a positive memento of his own. “I never felt like I was wasting my time or money on such a life changing experience,” Kampelman said. “Certainly I’ve learned the most from ‘underdeveloped’ countries. Most of the people are very creative and hardworking and have a very positive attitudes despite not having a lot of things. [It serves as] a great reminder that happiness doesn’t come from material objects.”

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People may think that quitting means failure, but for alumnus Eddie Kampelman, who graduated in 2000, he has never made a better decision in his life. His decision to quit his job as Territory Manager and Technology Consultant for Elite Orthopedics to pursue his dream of traveling around the world has transformed his life.

“Whatever your passion or dream is, work to make it a reality,” Kampelman said. “I’m currently living my dream: I quit my job in April and will travel around the world for a year…it’s the best decision I’ve ever made for myself. No regrets.”

Kampelman has already left his footprints on many grounds around the world, reaching from country to country and continent to continent. If you can name it, he has been there, except for one continent.

“I’ve traveled to almost 50 countries on six continents. [I] still have to get down to Antarctica,” Kampelman said. “Every time I travel to a new place I learn something. I’ve enjoyed every country I’ve been to. I think my favorite experiences have been on long treks in remote parts of the world…including the Andes in South America, the far reaches of Greenland and among the highest peaks in the world in the Himalayas. This is when I feel the most humbled and human, and the most connected to the earth around us.”

Not every passion is immediately figured out from birth. For Kampelman, he did not realize his passion until his freshman year of high school when he traveled outside the United States for the first time.

Courtesy of Eddie Kampelman
Eddie Kampelman practices his ice climbing skills to prepare for his journey at Huayna Potosi.

“I went with my church youth group to build a house for some locals in Juarez, Mexico,” Kampelman said. “This first experience outside of my country and comfort bubble was the catalyst for my travel passion. It was a very humbling experience and showed me how happy people can be without having a lot of ‘things.’ I left wanting more.”

Now, Kampelman is planning for the future.

“My travel goals are to see as much of the world as possible and to learn as much as I possibly can from those experiences,” Kampelman said. “It’s extremely important to me, so I’ll continue to make the time and save the money to do it. I usually try to buy flights about two to three months out minimum. It also depends on if it’s ‘high season’ in the area I’m traveling to. Then, it’s important to do more planning ahead of time. If it’s ‘low season,’ I’ll general allow more flexibility for my schedule and not plan ahead as much and go-with-the-flow once I’m there. I always chat up other travelers and see what their must-do’s are, and what they’d skip.

Kampelman uses a personal approach for effective travel planning.

“I follow a lot of travelers on Instagram to get travel destination ideas. I also talk to other travelers I meet along the way: many times they’ll open my eyes to destinations I didn’t know existed,” Kampelman said. “I mostly do my own travel planning, though. In the age of the internet, it’s easy to do your own research and find the best deals on flights, hostels, AirBNBs, tours, etc. Typically I’ll stay at a hostel. These are very affordable, safe, and a great way to meet other travelers from all over the globe. Hostelworld.com is a great resource: you can compare prices and amenities, and book a place all in several clicks.

Courtesy of Eddie Kampelman
Eddie Kampelman climbs up the mountain of Huayna Potosi, reaching the 6,088 meter peak.

Kampelman has learned how to make traveling more eventful and less stressful.

“Make the effort to have a travel budget. If it’s for work, make time to get outside of the office or hotel to see the world around you,” Kampelman said. “Also, make it a priority to learn another language. It allows you to connect with locals on another level. I’ve found that most other countries encourage their citizens to learn at least one other language beyond their native tongue at a very young age. Currently, I speak 2.5: English, Spanish, and some Portuguese. I highly encourage everyone out there to take learning new languages seriously, it will open many new doors.

Money is important to consider when it comes to traveling, but Kampelman considers more about the place and the experience it provides.

“I have found my money to go further at [South America, Asia and Africa],” Kampelman said. “I am currently on an around-the-world trip that I planned and saved for years. I am not sure how much I’ll spend when all is said and done, but it will amount to the equivalent of a nice down payment on a home, tens of thousands of dollars. [Despite this], I prefer experiences over things.”

Kampelman does not travel alone all the time. In fact, he always makes new pals along the way.

“Some trips are alone, some I’ll plan with friends and family,” Kampelman said. “However, even with the trips that I’m traveling solo, I’m never ‘alone.’ It’s easy to find other friendly travelers to share great memories with.”

A tip Kampelman has for new travelers is to be more efficient in packing, especially with clothes.

Courtesy of Eddie Kampelman

“I’m all about packing layers, but I usually won’t bring a big heavy coat to colder climates. Rather, [I bring] a few thinner and less bulky items I can layer,” Kampelman said. “I also try to pack as light as possible: I’ll bring a duffle bag and a day pack typically. It’s easy to do laundry along the way, so bringing 30 shirts for a 30 day trip isn’t necessary.”

Without his passion for traveling, Kampelman would not be the same person he is today. Not only does Kampelman think that traveling has a positive impact on a person, but he also thinks it has a positive impact on society, meshing communities together to create harmony.

“It has changed me for the better and has shaped my personality 100 percent. Travel will change your life for the better, guaranteed. I think it’s important for every American to study abroad in high school or college,” Kampelman said. “I think our society would be a lot more tolerant of each other and foreign cultures if we just had a better understanding of one another. In the end, we are all human and all want peace and prosperity. ”

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Alumnus Eddie Kampelman pursues his goal of traveling the world