5 Minutes With Carl Hedinger of Travel Through Life

For McCool Travel’s 109th travel profile, I am happy to present Carl Hedinger of Travel Through Life. I met Carl on a Fathom cruise. In fact, we walked most of a 5K together—try walking 45 laps around a cruise ship—where we chatted about baseball (he loves the New York Mets) and oodles of travel stuff.
Carl Hedinger‘s bio: ” Pretty much from day one in my life, I played with maps, globes, and anything else that showed me the world. I wanted to see it and it took some time before I took a chance on a Study Abroad opportunity in Japan, with very little knowledge of the language. And that’s where my most wonderful memories as a traveler began. I never would’ve met Christina without first going away to Japan, but I never would’ve found myself, either.”

McCool Travel interview with Carl Hedinger of Travel Through Life
Travel Through Life: Carl Hedinger and Christina Riley

Carl Hedinger of Travel Through Life

I was born in Hackensack, NJ but have spent more time in Southern West Virginia (Coal Country, not the Greenbrier) than anywhere else. Let’s see how Central North Carolina goes though. Haha.
Always in my luggage…
I always must bring notebooks, pens, and something to read. I used to love e-readers but have gone back to paper books. National Geographic magazines tagged along with me for the last trip.
3 favorite home-away-from-home places…

  1. Northern Thailand
  2. Japan
  3. small-town America

That could change but right now, there’s a food and culture theme behind those three. Right now, we’re doing more local travel (see #TravelLocal on Instagram) around our digs here in Durham.
A favorite travel memory is…
Christina will probably have her own idea but I always loved our road trips around South Korea. It’s such a small country to navigate and full of beautiful sights all around. Angkor Wat was pretty cool too. I could go on.

McCool Travel interview with Carl Hedinger of Travel Through Life
Carl Hedinger and Christina Riley

3 favorite travel brands…

  1. Eagle Creek (good bags)
  2. Teva (though I’ve got Keen on the brain lately)
  3. MLB for donning my Mets cap. That counts, right?

3 money-saving travel tactics I use are…
I used to be terrible with money though I’m improving to a point above “Fair” in that regard.

  1. eat local as much as possible. It tastes better and is way cheaper than the foreign stuff you can eat at home.
  2. not buy too many useless souvenirs. They’ll be expensive to carry home (weight) and will likely get thrown away someday. I buy fridge magnets so they’re very compact and relatively inexpensive.
  3. get over yourself and stay at a hotel that’s not 4-5 stars. I find people staying at these places to be more approachable and that leads to new friendships as well as tips towards something cool to see and do.

3 ways that I have fun while traveling are …

  1. eating a lot of food
  2. getting up early to beat the crowds
  3. oh, and I also rent something [Ed. Note: I gotta follow up on this response.]

8 word (or less) travel mantra…
“Stay humble and assume you know nothing.” Works every time for me, I say.

McCool Travel interview with Carl Hedinger of Travel Through Life
The Travel Through Life team

favorite non-travel website …
I read so many travel websites that it’s hard to find one that’s not related to it. I love podcasts and absolutely love Startalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson. Bill Nye is a guest host from time to time. Need I say more? This American Life is also cool. I know I didn’t answer the question of websites… ESPN is cool.
most memorable souvenir …
My most memorable souvenir is the photos taken by my wife that rest on our walls, throughout the apartment. It’s always good to go back to the time when we were in X place, depending on which photo I’m looking at during any given moment.
favorite cheap eat …
Between a Bahn Mi in Vietnam ($.75-$1) or roti egg ($1) in Malaysia. Both need to be in my belly now!
recent discovery …
A recent discovery we made was a little town called Saxapahaw, in Alamance County and about 40 minutes away from our apartment in Durham. It’s a former mill town and part of a revival that includes a brewery, popular show venue (Haw River Ballroom), and a really cool general store, to name a few of the awesome things happening there. We went for a free music show recently and will be back before too long.
I am fortunate to have met …
I’m fortunate to have met my wife for so many reasons. Also, the great Kunio Nishimura, who was my teacher during that year I studied abroad in Japan. He’s not with us anymore and is a great example of why we travel for the memories.
I would like to meet …
Aside from meeting David Wright for a catch, countless people are on my list. I’d be intimidated hanging out with travel writers so it’d have to be someone who’d make me laugh. Chris Pratt or Aziz Ansari would be good, and I would try to keep the Parks and Rec references to a minimum. We’d have to pick some random topic like favorite Civil War battles or something to keep me from shouting “Treat yo’ self” every thirty seconds.

McCool Travel interview with Carl Hedinger of Travel Through Life
Travel Through Life: Carl Hedinger and Christina Riley

Thank you so much, Carl, for taking a few minutes to share your culinary wisdom, travel inspiration, and tips.
Follow Carl Hedinger and Christina Riley on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Travel Through Life.
Check out McCool Travel’s previous interviews. McCool Travel presents tips from travel experts in our 5 Minutes interview series—featuring travel industry giants, super frequent travelers, and adventurous persons. Previous 5 Minutes post: Luxury Travel Diary.
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2 thoughts on “5 Minutes With Carl Hedinger of Travel Through Life”

  1. I’m so sorry I didn’t assume you’d get the treat yo’ self reference. Also, I’m pretty sure we did that whole 5k together even if you did more after I left. This was wonderful and I really appreciate you reaching out to me for an interview, Charles. You tha man!

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