The young world traveler hopes to inspire others to travel through his photography
Andrew Ingersoll is well known to readers of Rick Ingersoll’s popular blog, The Frugal Travel Guy, for his photographs of people, places, and cultures taken all over the world. At the age of 29, Andrew has already visited 47 countries, and armed with all the free and frugal travel techniques he learned from his dad, he’s not about to stop.
“The advice I got from Pops has allowed me to continue to travel affordably and share my experiences through photography,” Andrew said recently.
Rick Ingersoll is a retired mortgage banker who became a “travel hack” as a hobby so that he and his wife, Katie, could spend their retirement years traveling the world. He started blogging about his tips and techniques for collecting frequent flyer miles and other free travel techniques in 2007 (his current frequent flyer miles balance is 1.5 million) and authored the book The frugal travel guide In 2010. the hobby became a business as readership grew and the travel industry began to advertise it.
It isn’t long before Rick’s entire family joins in on “the game,” as he calls it—including Andrew, who soon learns that “the world is a wonderful place, and I want to be able to share some of its glories with others who can’t pick things up and go.” .
He uses his photography to do just that – photography whose quality defies Andrew’s “cliff” status.
“It would be great if I could inspire others to travel through my photos,” he said. “Traveling and experiencing cultures and customs opens minds and challenges the ignorance and prejudices portrayed by the media.”
Andrew grew up in Traverse City, Michigan, and graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing in 2004. He began traveling to Europe on holidays and during summer vacations while in school.
“That’s when I discovered that the world was much bigger than middle-class white America,” said the slim, sandy-haired photographer who is currently based in Antarctica. “This has inspired me to absorb as much of other countries and cultures as possible.”
Andrew started his photographic journal “with a digital point-and-shoot camera,” he says, and bought a Nikon Coolpix in a Malaysian market, “mostly because the price was right.” But when he made up his mind to visit all seven continents before he turned 30, he knew a promotion was in order.
“I got a great deal on a Nikon D5000 at Costco last December and Antarctica was my test backdrop.”
He moved to Seattle, Washington, after graduating from Michigan State. “It was around this time that we, as a family, began to discover the real benefits of frequent flyer miles,” he said. “My first trip to Asia was on a United Miles Plus reward ticket that took me from Seattle to Tokyo to Singapore. My eyes were now so focused on cultures so different from Northern Michigan, I was hooked. To this day, I love Asian culture.”
On Intrepid’s 28-day tour of Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia, Andrew met an Australian man who gave him the idea of pursuing a graduate degree abroad.
“When I got back to Seattle, I found my master’s degree in the International Public Health program at the University of Sydney,” he said. “In calculating the cost-benefit analysis of attending a university in Australia versus America, I was ready to jump ship. I committed to pursuing Australia, but not without ticking one of the things on my ‘bucket list’ first.”
Andrew’s “bucket list”—which he insists he made long before “The Bucket List” came out—was actually a top-25 list suggested by a friend. She could see that he was struggling to figure out what direction to take in his life after he got his college degree.
“She made me jot down my top 25 experiences that I wanted out of life,” he recalls. “I still have that list today.”
The list inspired him to join a medical mission to Mali, West Africa, where he worked alongside local Malian doctors and nurses in a hospital for women and children. His job was as part of a relief team that assisted local staff with high-risk deliveries.
“Once again, my eyes opened and my mind raced. I was so grateful for the opportunities I had,” he said. So after some very emotional times in Mali with some of the most amazing people, I joined another Intrepid tour to spend 15 days in Morocco. This was my first taste of Arab and Islamic culture. And I wanted to experience it as Unbiased as possible.”
In February 2008, Andrew moved to Sydney, Australia, where he obtained his MIPH degree and occasionally worked as an evacuation and repatriation nurse – nurses who bring sick and injured people to Australia from the South Pacific islands for treatment they could not otherwise receive.
“It’s very interesting and beneficial – to travel to the South Pacific to pick someone up and bring them to Australia for treatment,” he said. “I’ve been to New Caledonia, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Kirabati, Tahiti, Norfolk Island, Tonga, and Vanuatu.”
Andrew is now working part-time in clinical research before starting his Juris Doctor degree at UNSW in February, a three-year postgraduate law degree designed for professionals entering a career in law. “I am confident that The Frugal Travel Guy blog will continue to provide me with the tools to allow me to achieve my personal travel goals,” he said.
What’s next on his agenda? “Caving in Malaysian Borneo and camper vans traveling in New Zealand,” he said. “I am still in the process of planning a visit to the Great Wall of China with my dear father.”
Also on his wish list: Nepal, Ghana, Bolivia, Mongolia, Croatia and the Maldives. No one doubted that he would fulfill his desires, especially his father.
“I wish I had the courage to go on some of the adventures Andrew had,” Rick said. “Not only does he see the world at the prices he can afford, but he does so sometimes in the most basic of local accommodations. He really gets in culture More than I was capable of. I’m just a tourist when I compare my travels to Andrew’s. He is a real traveler around the world.
Andrew posts his travel photos and humorous commentary on The Frugal Travel Guy blog every Wednesday and Sunday. To see an archive of his publications, visit http://frugaltravelguy.blogspot.com.