Exclusive interview with world traveler 2.0 David Horvitz

I recently talked with serial blogger and traveler David Horvitz, whom I wrote about last month. He’s the guy who came up with the ingenious idea of getting people to pay for his exotic trips all over the world. Here’s what he has to say:

Who are you? What do you do during the day?

I’m 25 years old and live in New York City. I moved here from Los Angeles in September. As you can see tell, I like to wander around–just drift around and discover new places. I try to do this at least once a day. Ideally I’d like it to take up my whole day… But recently I’ve had some art shows come up, so I’d have to get images ready, do stuff online at my place in Brooklyn, get all stressed out, and then jump on a bike or train (or foot) and just go somewhere.

How’d you come up with this idea?

I just did it one night. It was completely spontaneous. I’ve been to Okinawa and have given people star sand. I have traveled afar and mailed people photographs of what I saw from there (my own personal postcards). So, it’s like something I’ve always done for my friends – and I thought I should offer it to anyone if the funded the trip. A thing for you from where I go.
What kind of response have you gotten from the blogosphere, travelers, etc?

I have Google Alerts, and I get like 20 hits a day. It’s crazy. I get a lot of positive responses, lots of “you are so creative.” I’ve got contacted for art shows, interviews with magazines, even a potential TV show, which is really insane. My favorite is when people say I’m inspiring, so then what I’m doing isn’t just for passive speculation– people are actually moved by it. So, ideally, people can see what I do, and then decide for themselves that they might find their lives a little boring and take off around the globe somewhere after saving up some money. And, doing it in a non-selfish manner, always thinking about people who you are leaving, and sending them little treasures.

What’s the adventure you most want to go on (but haven’t)?

I want to go to Perth, Australia just for conceptual reasons. I don’t know what it’s like there, but I like the idea of going as faraway as possible. I looked it up online, and I used Google Earth, so I am hoping it is actually the farthest place possible from NY.

What’s the best adventure you’ve gone on (through this project)?

I am hanging out in an abandoned part of Roosevelt Island reading all of Anna Karenina. The project was that I would go to a desolate location by train, and read the entire book, and keep returning each day until the book was read. This was as if the book was my “job.” I used to always get in trouble for reading at work. I got $400 to do this.

Any juicy hate-mail?

A few… I like criticism, so I like to attack back. But, some of the people who write me hate mail aren’t that articulate, and their messages are kind of dumb, so I get bored with their emails. I’d love for someone to tear me apart and make me rethink what I was doing. My friend actually mentioned Carbon Footprint, and I am re-thinking whether I should raise some prices higher to add in the Carbon Offsetting.

What about ideas for new adventures? How do you get those?

Inspired. I get ideas 24 hours a day. I get ideas when I’m in the shower and have to run out and write them down. Lots of things come from my immediate environment. This could be from where I am or what I am directly exposed to (films, books, music, even memories).

Any weird corners of the world you’re particularly proud of visiting?

I love Okinawa! I’ve been there twice. Their history is really harsh, but their culture is amazing. There is still a US base there and still to this day (even recently) some really sad things happen because of that. I went into Zapatista territory in Chiapas, Mexico once. Chiapas was so beautiful, it was so amazing. I am kind of weary about going to politically heated places because then it seems like I’m only going to somewhere because of a kind of indignation in me, but I don’t know what that means for me to want to physically go there. Make it adventurous? Like, I don’t know if I’d want to go to Iraq or Palestine or something… I went to Israel. I threw eggs in the Dead Sea with my friend because we thought it was funny that eggs represent life, and the Dead Sea implicates death. Other people there didn’t think it was funny.


Inland Empire California!

OK, this one is actually weird. So I am walking across from Sweden to Finland, really really north. I don’t know if we were in the Arctic Circle or not… We need to catch a train to Helsinki, so we find the station and decide to sleep there for the night. It’s the summer, so it’s 3am and still bright out. I pull out my dictionary and translate a plaque on the train station. “Lenin arrived here in 1917.” Holy &@#$! We were at the station Lenin arrived at when that part of Finland was part of Russia! He stepped out of a train there and then the revolution happened!

Oh, I also found the writer, John Berger’s house in a small village in the French Alps. I knocked on his door but he wasn’t home. But is wife was really nice and gave me and my (ex) girlfriend coffee. Amazing!

My favorite all time place in the whole world is right near where I grew up. Palos Verdes.