Andrew Ingersoll is well known to readers of Rick Ingersoll’s popular blog, The Frugal Travel Guy, for the images of people, places, and cultures he captured from around the world. At 29, Andrew has already visited 47 countries and, armed with all the free and frugal travel techniques he learned from his father, he’s not about to stop.
“The tips I got from ‘Pops’ allowed me to continue to travel at reasonable prices and share my experiences through my photography,” Andrew recently said.
Rick Ingersoll is a retired mortgage banker who became a “travel hacker” as a hobby so he and his wife, Katy, could spend their retirement years traveling the world. He began blogging about his tips and techniques for earning frequent flyer miles and other free travel techniques in 2007 (his current “bank” of frequent flyer miles is up to 1.5 million) and is the author of the book The frugal traveler’s handbook in 2010. The hobby became a business as its readership grew and the travel industry began to advertise it.
It wasn’t long before Rick’s entire family joined in on the “game,” as he calls it, including Andrew, who quickly learned that “the world is a fascinating place and I want to be able to share some of its glories with others.” . that they are not able to pick up and go.
He uses his photography to do that, photography whose quality challenges Andrew’s “amateur” 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.”
Growing up in Traverse City, Michigan, Andrew graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing in 2004. He began traveling to Europe for vacations and during summer breaks while in school.
“That’s when I discovered that the world was so much bigger than white, middle-class America,” said the slim, sandy-haired photographer currently based in Antarctica. “This inspired me to absorb as many other countries and cultures as possible.”
Andrew started his photography journal with a “point-and-shoot digital camera,” he said, choosing a Nikon Coolpix in a Malaysian market, “mainly because the price was right.” But when he made the decision to visit all seven continents before his 30th birthday, he knew he needed to improve.
“I got a great deal on a Nikon D5000 at Costco last December and Antarctica was the backdrop for my test.”
He moved to Seattle, Washington after graduating from Michigan State. “That’s when we as a family began to discover the true benefits of frequent flyer miles,” she said. “My first trip to Asia was on a United Mileage Plus reward ticket that took me from Seattle to Tokyo to Singapore. My eyes were now riveted on such different cultures from Northern Michigan that I was hooked. And to this day, I love Asian culture.”
On a 28-day Intrepid Tour of Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, Andrew met an Australian who gave him the idea of doing postgraduate work abroad.
“When I returned to Seattle, I found the Master’s program in International Public Health at the University of Sydney,” he said. “When calculating the cost-benefit analysis of attending a university in Australia versus the United States, I was ready to jump ship. I made the commitment to go to Australia, but not before checking off one of the things on my ‘bucket list’ “.
Andrew’s “Wish List,” which he insists he made long before the movie “The Wish List” came out, was actually a top 25 list that a friend suggested he make. He could see that he was struggling with what direction to take in his life after receiving his college degree.
“So he had me write down the top 25 experiences I wanted out of life,” he recalled. “I still have that list today.”
The list inspired him to join a medical mission in Mali, West Africa, where he worked alongside local Malian doctors and nurses at a hospital for women and children. His job was part of a relief team helping local staff with high-risk jobs.
“Again, my eyes were opened and my mind raced. I was so grateful for the opportunities that had been given to me,” he said. “So after some very emotional moments in Mali with some of the most amazing people, I joined another Intrepid tour to spend 15 days in Morocco. That was my first experience with Arab and Muslim culture. And I wanted to experience it like impartial can.”
In February 2008, Andrew moved to Sydney, Australia where he received his MIPH degree and occasionally worked as an evacuation and repatriation nurse, nurses who bring sick and injured people to Australia from South Pacific islands for treatment that otherwise they could not receive.
“This is great fun and very rewarding – flying to the South Pacific to pick someone up and take them to Australia for treatment,” he said. “I’ve been to New Caledonia, Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Kirabati, Tahiti, Norfolk Island, Tonga and Vanuatu.”
Andrew now works part-time in clinical research before beginning his Juris Doctor degree at the University of New South Wales in February, a three-year postgraduate law degree designed for professionals starting a career in law. “I am confident that The Frugal Travel Guy blog will continue to provide me with the necessary tools to enable me to meet my personal travel goals,” he said.
What’s next on your schedule? “Caving in Malaysian Borneo and camping trips in New Zealand,” she said. “And I’m still in the planning process of visiting the Great Wall of China with my dear dad.”
Also on his wish list: Nepal, Ghana, Bolivia, Mongolia, Croatia and the Maldives. No one doubts that she will fulfill his wishes, especially not his father.
“I wish I had the courage to go on some of the adventures that Andrew has been on,” Rick said. “He not only sees the world at prices he can afford, but sometimes in the most basic native accommodations. He really understands in culture more than I’ve ever been able to. I’m just a tourist when I compare my travels with Andrew’s. He is a true world traveler.”
Andrew posts his travel photos and humorous comments on The Frugal Travel Guy blog every Wednesday and Sunday. To view an archive of his posts, visit http://frugaltravelguy.blogspot.com.