12 People Who Inspire Me To Keep Moving

Reflecting in Colonia, Uruguay

“Okay that was fun… now what are you really going to do?”

Since I’ve been home that’s the question I’m constantly faced with. Maybe not in those exact words but if you cut out the fat, that’s pretty much it.

My friends and family definitely support what I’m doing, they get it to some extent,, but I’m from a small town where this just isn’t the norm. In Upstate New York you graduate from college, find a job, find a wife, buy a house, start having kids, get a promotion, have more kids. In that order and without deviating to much from the mean.

Don’t get me wrong, this is how we were brought up, this isn’t a bad thing, in fact I think it’s great, too great maybe. In the last 3 weeks I’ve attended 2 amazing weddings that made me question everything. I ramble…this looks pretty awesome, they look really happy, should go get me one of those “wives”? They are getting a house… I’d love to have a house. What would I put in it? I’m selling everything I own. They have a car… I used to have a car. They are all grown up… am I going in the opposite direction?

I pump the breaks of my imaginary car and take a deep breath. The voices in my head are more talkative then usual – Learn. Grow. Create. Be Amazing. This is what plays in my head over and over. This is what drives me. As the tuxedo comes off so do the ideas of slowing down. I admire my friends for the amazing lives they’re beginning, maybe even a little envious, but this isn’t me, This isn’t what I want, not right now.

To keep me motivated and moving forward I looked back on the things that inspired to take the leap in the first place. These are the books, videos and articles I refer to whenever there is a desire for mediocrity and when I need a good kick in the ass. Like my mother always says, “even if you’re on the right tracks if you don’t keep moving your eventually going to get run over.”

12 People Who Inspire Me:

1. John Wood: Leaving Microsoft to Change the World – This is the book that changed the way I think about a lot of stuff. John Wood was a big marketing executive at Microsoft who decided to leave the company and his very comfortable life to start to Room to Read – a company that utilizes a unique philanthropy structure to build libraries all over the world.

2. Paulo Coelho: The Alchemist – I’m sure there are thousands of travelers and entrepreneurs who will put this book on their lists as well. It’s all about the journey of life and following your dreams. Fittingly, it was given to me by the CEO of my last venture at ValoreBooks.com.

3. Bear Grylls: The Kid Who Climbed Everest – What inspires me so much about this book is the idea that with a little luck and a lot of hard work you can accomplish anything. Bear took this idea to a whole new level, literally and then made an sweet TV show.

4. Randolph Dupree: You, Me and Dupree – One of the greatest speeches ever given. I get goose bumps every time I watch it (there is even an Argentina reference). Check it out -> Mothership Speech

5. Richard Branson: Loosing My Virginity – Take risks. Live your life to the fullest. Richard also inspired me to do things in a different way. The way he writes his book is so (brutally) honest and straight forward you can’t help getting attached. That’s what I want to create, not just with Tourist2Townie.com but with every project. Truthfulness and balls.

6. Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations – Since I’ve been home I’ve watched his show on repeat, trying to pick up video editing tips and location ideas. Like Branson, I am inspired by Bourdain’s honesty and sincerity in everything he talks about.

Favorite Episode: No Reservations – Argentina

7. Seth Godin: Marketing Guru – Be smart. Be unique. Question everything.

8. Chris Guillebeu: Art of Non-Conformity – Chris is creating an amazing brand as he strives to travel to every country in the world before his 35th birthday. Not taking anything away from what he’s doing, because his focus is on the actual travel process, but he inspired me to do the exact opposite. He doesn’t stay in one place for a long period of time and I wanted to have a different experience (plus he likes the traveling part a lot more than I do).

Favorite Article: How To Be Awesome

9. Gary Arndt: Everything-Everywhere.com – This guy is like the godfather of travel blogging. He’s been doing it a long time and taking his game to the masses. He was featured in Time Magazine for gosh sakes. The future looks bright!

Favorite Article: “I Don’t Give A Damn How You Travel”

10. Matt Kepnes: NomadicMatt.com – Here’s a young guy who’s been traveling the world for a long time and cracked the code on how to make money and travel the world via a travel blog. My competitive spirit loves to see what he’s accomplished, he’s a great writer and his work pushes me to get better.

Favorite Article: Everyone Says I’m Running Away

11. Christine Gilbert: AlmostFearless.com – Like Gary and Matt, Christine has been traveling for a long time and has figured out how to break away from the mold. She speaks a lot about being a digital nomad and as I work on my first marketing consulting projects I look to her site for a lot of encouragement. She is also in Colombia right now so that’s a bonus.

Favorite Article: 8 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 22

12. Matt Harding: WhereTheHellIsMatt.com – Last but not least this is the guy who took a simple idea and ran (danced) with it across the globe. Simple. Awesome. Sponsored! Matt’s video inspired me tremendously but he also taught me a very valuable lesson at the hands of the College Humor guys – Maybe it’s not the best idea to try and maintain a long distance relationship while you’re out chasing your dreams…

check it out -> Where The Hell is Matt’s Girlfriend – EXPLICIT

This is my fuel… what inspires you?

My name is Gareth Leonard, a Marketing Director turned World Traveler with a passion for slow, meaningful travel. I have been traveling the world full-time for the past 9+ years and document it all on Instagram and YouTube. Come join me!


  1. This is quite the list.. I’ve got some of the same people on mine, and some others to check out. Glad to see you’re moving forward Garreth. Take care buddy

  2. I watch Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations religiously-excellent pick! Same goes for Richard Brenson-talk about the guy with a true sense of adventure with very few reservations-if any!

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