In this interview, we sat down with Mike Schibel, a CLIQ Ambassador and host of Travel With Meaning, a podcast featuring a community of storytellers sharing how their lives and careers have been profoundly impacted by travel.
Mike was born and raised in Pacific Palisades, California, nestled between Los Angeles and Malibu in one of the most stunning geographical places in the world. His passion for traveling, storytelling and community building led him to launch the Travel With Meaning Blog in 2017. In Spring of 2019 he launched the Travel With Meaning Podcast to continue to grow his community. If you're a fan of travel, great stories and awesome people you'll love Travel with Meaning.
Be sure to give the Podcast a listen and stay tuned for more stories from CLIQ Ambassadors!
CLIQ: As an adventurer of the world, how did you discover a love for all things travel?
Mike Schibel: I’d have to say that travel is something I was introduced to at a young age. I was lucky to have parents that would take my brother and me on road trips to go skiing in the Winter or up to our family cabin in the Summer. But I didn't have a true appreciation for the impact of travel until I graduated high school. My friends and I planned this big trip to Europe but when it came time to go, nobody wanted to. I ended up going on my own and it was that trip that opened me up to having all these new experiences. It really was the precipice for me to travel more in my life and gain more experiences.
CLIQ: What have been the most influential trips in your life?
MS: Looking back, I’ve identified three pivotal travels in my life that have been the turning points. One, that first trip to Europe was like the eyes wide open-- holy s**t. Second, I studied abroad in London when I was a junior in college. It was a completely different experience living like a local-- taking weekend trips and getting fully ingrained in my environment. Then about 10 years later, I left my job as a talent agent and bought a one-way ticket to travel for a year. That trip was the straw that broke the camel's back and made me realize that travel is the central thing we need to do to grow.
CLIQ: You write and interview people about all aspects of travel from big cities to outdoor spaces, but what do you love most about being in nature?
MS: There's such a great balance between cities and outdoor spaces. There are so many remarkable cities in the world, with stories about how they came about by being populated with people from rural areas. I've been lucky enough to spend a lot of time in national parks around the world. It's a true balance. I love staying in nice hotels and going out for nice meals. But there is something therapeutic about sitting still in nature, listening to the sounds, and experiencing that feeling. It’s probably the most important thing you can actually do as a person.
CLIQ: Amen. Totally agree.
MS: Ya know, I grew up as a boy scout and did a lot of hiking and camping as a kid. It's not that I didn't appreciate it then, but I look back now and the thought of a 10-mile hike sounds amazing. Once I was able to slow down and appreciate the stillness, and the ultimate beauty of nature, it changed my life.
As part of that one-way ticket trip I took, I interviewed 80+ people and asked them the same three questions: what inspires you, what are you grateful for and what does travelling mean to you?
I'll never forget this guy I met on Fraser Island in Australia. He said something that has stayed with me 15 years later. He said, "if you want to know anything in life, go to nature. She has all the answers." My appreciation of nature from that moment has never been the same.
CLIQ: Travel gets you out of your comfort zone, which is what makes it exciting, but what are some ways that you find comfort when on an adventure?
MS: Going on that trip in Australia, I was ready to be uncomfortable-- whether it was not knowing where I was going to stay, or not knowing anyone, I just welcomed the discomfort in. I took everything as a part of the whole experience. That's how I found comfort, was simply enjoying the moments.
I think travel is so powerful because it forces you to be present. You have a true sense of the moment and what is right in front of you. That doesn't mean it’s always easy to appreciate, I deal with emotions-- I'm human! But I try to lean into my feelings each moment. On that trip, I spent a lot of time recording my daily blog and making videos. It helped me set a tone of presence by sharing those emotions out loud as opposed to keeping them inside.
So you ask, how do I find comfort? Just constantly reminding myself, “hey, I just left a profession that was grind, grind, grind and look at me on a Tuesday.”
Being present to be like this is the journey, it's not about the destination, this is where I'm at today. Comfort in the unknown is scarily okay. It's a constant practice of staying out of your head, enjoying the journey and being present.
CLIQ: What kind of messages do you hope to get across to your listeners?
MS: The one consistency that I hear from the range of incredibly successful people I get to speak with is, "you just keep going." If you like what you do, and you want to do it, just keep doing it. If you do things for the love of what you're doing with no attachment to the outcome, that's it.
CLIQ: Okay we have to ask, what has been your favorite place to travel?
I always think that’s such a loaded question. My favorite place in the world is my family’s cabin in Northern Minnesota. It’s the only place in my life that I go back to consistently. So to see how I’ve grown up and changed as a person by going back each year is interesting.
Where do I tell people to go? Bali and New Zealand are the two that always come to the top of my mind. New Zealand is one of the most pristine, stunningly gorgeous places in the world. Bali, because it creates that true essence of just slowing down and it offers the opportunity to lean in to your daily meditation, whatever it may be.