Spencer for site.jpg
Washington D.C. Lincoln Memorial
Washington D.C. Lincoln Memorial

Who is Spencer?

Spencer is an aquarius who likes long walks to the taco truck, his Manhattans shaken and not stirred, and would really prefer not to write in the third person. 

Alright, so while I know nobody really likes writing about themselves (well perhaps the 45th president of America does), this seems like the one place to do so. Plus, I hope my story helps adequately paint something of a picture of what Whiskey Tango Globetrot is and what this is all about.

Although I grew up with humble means, I was fortunate enough to start traveling at a young age, thanks to a flight attendant sister, and a history teacher father who believed that the only way to travel was by pop-up camper. It was the best of both worlds. However, I'd be lying if I didn't say that I basked in the flight travel of my childhood, and what felt like my own personal flight attendant when I flew by myself for the first time at age 7 (naturally with a notebook and disposable camera in hand). It was about that time, too, that I started drinking—Coca Cola that is. The first essay I ever remember writing was a submission for a competition to win a year’s supply of Coca-Cola. My essay: An account of how I beat Michael Jordan at a game of H-O-R-S-E in my backyard.

Fast-forward more than two decades later and I’ve graduated from a notebook, disposable camera, and bottle of Coca-Cola to a laptop, DSLR, and bottle(s) of whiskey. My work in travel was first largely associated with The Traveling Philosopher, a travelogue website I started several years ago, and then at Expedia, where I served as the Editor-in-Chief for three years. Life just prior to The Traveling Philosopher had hit rock-bottom. Yet I used it as a springboard to quit my job, sell and give away everything that wouldn’t fit into a backpack, and embark on a journey of traveling and living nomadically, supporting myself through freelance writing and consulting. The Traveling Philosopher was that place where I could color outside the lines, documenting my travels and reflecting on what I was learning (read more about that evolution here).

The four years since have taken me from living in a little Costa Rica beach town to learning to surf in Spain’s Canary Islands to taking karate lessons in Okinawa, Japan from a former student of Mr. Miyagi to paragliding over the Hawaii island of Maui on my 30th birthday to hot-air ballooning over South Africa. It’s been a literal and figurative trip, channeling my inner Hunter. S. Thompson.

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!
— Hunter S. Thompson

But as my travels, and therefore, life have evolved the last few years, so have my interests and expertise. I'm now in year No. 4 of living in Los Angeles, the longest I’ve lived anywhere since I was in high school. Take a peek into my house and you’ll find a wine fridge full of my own beer (yes, a wine fridge full of beer) I’ve brewed and an old Jim Beam whiskey barrel (that doubles as a cabinet) stocked to the hilt with bottles of whiskey (among other spirits) that I’ve collected from around the world. Peek at my Instagram feed and you’ll find some of my favorite food and drink concoctions I’ve found both near and afar, as well as made myself. And then look at my passport (and upcoming travel itineraries) and you see travels both near and afar that are planned around food and drinks.

But if there's anything that you take away from my life or what you find here on Whiskey Tango Globetrot, I simply hope that you'll be inspired to live, and to live well, be it visiting a new country (that leads to becoming an expat), brewing your own batch of beer (that leads to opening your own brewery), documenting your own story (that leads to becoming a published author or photographer), or traveling to an unfamiliar part of your own home state or country (which simply leads you to being a better citizen). We only get one shot at this life, so we might as well make it count, because if we do it right, then once is enough.