Andrew Bloem is an adventure travel writer from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, living in St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. As a professional pirate, Andrew’s travels usually don’t stray too far from a palm tree and an ocean view. When he’s not writing guides for Travel Lemming, you can find him typing away at the local tiki bar for his site OceanWide Explorers.
🎓 Education: Michigan State University (BS, Sports Medicine, 2015), Auburn University (MS, Physical Education Teacher Education, 2017)
✔️ Fun Facts: I’m a professional mariner, scuba diver, and Undefeated Champion (since the 4th grade) of the board game, Connect 4.
📚 What was Your Favorite Travel Experience or Story?
My first months-long backpacking adventure was up the East Coast of Australia from Melbourne to Cairns. As I attended college, I saved up for the trip for years, eventually strumming together about 6k to last me four months on the road.
The trip culminated in a three-day Liveaboard Scuba Diving trip to the Great Barrier Reef, which catalyzed a complete 180° turn in my life. Instead of pursuing a career with my degrees, I worked scuba boats and sailboats in the Florida Keys (which is also where I met my lovely wife) and Fort Lauderdale, garnering enough sea time to become a USCG Certified Captain.
Today, my wife and I live in the US Virgin Islands, exploring the waters of the Caribbean Sea while hopping from island to island! And honestly, none of it would have happened had I not taken the chance on a solo backpacking adventure in Australia!
🗺️ What’s Your #1 Expert Travel Tip?
Get out of your comfort zone and try new things. Whether putting yourself in new social settings, trying new food, or taking the plunge on a new adventure, the best memories are always the ones where we take a chance.
🧳 Backpack or Suitcase?
One backpack stuffed to the brim so you can walk around hands-free.
✈️ Window or Aisle Seat?
Window seat when traveling somewhere new to see below; aisle seat when your knees are achy.