Interview With An Accomplished World Traveler On Life And Travel

I was able to catch up recently with James Maverick, who readers may know also goes by the name of Maverick Traveler. I had interviewed him some time ago to explore his general ideas on travel and life.  I consider him one of the few truly accomplished travelers out there.

Since then, he’s published The Sovereign Man and The Way of the Maverick, and continues to turn out thought-provoking work on his blog. One gets the sense that his mind is always pondering the implications and nuances of the “stranger in a strange land” motif, and this makes for fascinating reading.

We had done a voice-to-voice interview since his last appearance here at Return of Kings. I finally was able to track him down (not an easy task) in Barcelona, in between his jaunts to Eastern Europe. Let’s see what he has to tell us.

QC: You’ve been in Europe for a long time now. If I’m right, you’ve been in Barcelona for over a year, right? How has that been?

JM: Thankfully, it’s been much less, around 4 months. I don’t think I can live in Barcelona for a whole year (chuckling).

For me, Barcelona is a fantastic getaway from the cold and dreary Eastern Europe. The city is simply gorgeous, has fantastic sunny weather and awesome food.

However, I think the problem with Barcelona is that it’s just too organized, too predictable, too modern—plus it’s overrun by tourists pretty much all year. For a “Latin” and southern European city, it’s nowhere near as friendly as any Latin American city.

When it comes to women, Spanish women are cute and sexy, but aren’t exactly easy, especially to fly-by-night foreigners. So, if you’re a single guy, do yourself a favor and do not come to Barcelona. Go find yourself a girlfriend in Eastern Europe and then come with her to Barcelona. Oh, and I had plenty of time to finish my second book.

QC: You’ve written about a fascinating subject, which you call the “strategically lazy mindset.” Can you give us a quick breakdown of what that is?

JM: Strategically lazy means that you only expend energy where you’ll have the highest ROI (return on investment). People tend to downplay laziness, but I think if you use it correctly, it can become a virtue, almost like a weapon.


The core idea is instead of chasing and convincing people to do stuff, you simply show up and announce your intent to do something. That can be asking out a girl or starting a new project. Then you step back, relax, and see if there are any takers.

If not, then you need to do something else or with someone else. This forces you to always look at reality from an objective viewpoint instead of trying to fit everyone and everything into your notion of what reality should be.

QC: How did you come up with this concept?

JM: I learned it the hard way. All my life I’ve been chasing people and things that simply didn’t want to be chased. I started projects that failed because no one cared. I chased women who played games, but weren’t genuinely interested.

After lots and lots of failures, I decided to step back and reexamine my strategy. I realized that I needed to be more nonchalant about my behavior; I needed to let people come to me and then go from there.

This is something I also noticed about other guys; they’re extremely needy and chase the wrong things: money, women, etc. That never ends well. This is a topic that I explore in depth in my first book, The Sovereign Man.

QC: You’ve written a recent article on your site about guys who become “slaves” to the game. When did you first become aware of this concept?

JM: I became aware of this as a result of becoming a slave myself. You see, for the past eight years, I’ve been traveling around the world and trying to pickup women. I’ve done the whole “numbers game.” I’ve toughened up against the inevitable rejections (and there are always lots of them). But no matter how much I rationalized my behavior, I was never fully content and satisfied.

Then it hit me that instead of using this skill (meeting women) to enrich me and make me a better and more capable man, what actually occurred was the reverse: I became a slave to game. That needed to stop.

Ultimately, I realized that there has to be something more to life than endless approaching. I’ve been spending lots of time lately trying to connect the dots.

QC: I liked reading your recent article about how every man should live in Eastern Europe at least once. Roosh has been telling me the same thing. I’m beginning to feel left out. But I got the sense that some of your Balkan travels didn’t live up to expectation. Am I right?


JM: Eastern Europe is a barren, depressing and unforgiving place. The weather sucks nine months out of the year. The winters are brutally cold. The people aren’t very friendly, at least until they get to know you better. There isn’t much customer service and hand-holding. If you combine that with rotting Soviet-era buildings everywhere, it’s very easy to feel down. Think of it as America but without all the bullshit, hand-holding, the fake smiles and confusing dating rules.

The flipside of all this is that it toughens you up because you’re no longer dealing with the soft cushion, the fake and superficial veneer that we experience in the West. It makes you more assertive and resourceful. I can say for a fact that it had a positive effect me. Other guys that have lived in Eastern Europe all mention the same thing.

On the bright side, dating and relationships are relatively straightforward. Women play less games. You can actually connect with them emotionally because every conversation doesn’t resemble a televised debate.

Balkans is a bit different. I refer to it as “Eastern Europe Plus”: The tough Eastern European mentality with nicer weather, tastier food and friendlier people. Belgrade is one of my favorite cities in the region because it’s cheap, compact and has a certain charm. I always feel extremely comfortable in Belgrade.

QC: As far as I know, you haven’t written about Asia or traveled there. Any plans for that in the future?

JM: I’ve been to Taiwan and Thailand around ten years ago. Asia has never been on my radar for any kind of exploring or long-term living; I much prefer Latin America and Europe. I think it’s because there are either guys who dig Asia and guys who don’t really care much about it. I’m in the latter camp.

Though, I have a good friend who goes to Asia often. He goes there every month and always has an amazing time. He brings back tons of amazing stories. His experiences have piqued my curiosity, so I might check out the region sometime in the future.

QC: How do you see yourself having changed when compared with two years ago, if at all?

JM: Great question. For one, my traveling pace has greatly slowed down. I no longer do any kind of backpacking or even carry a backpack; I travel with a medium-size suitcase, which is much more convenient. I’m also much more interested in renting a place for 3-6 months instead of bouncing around different cities and countries.

The biggest change is that I’m also less interested in meaningless relationships. I don’t really have any desire to have random one-night stands or spend lots of nights in bars or clubs. They take away the time that can be used for more productive means: working and building your empire. Building a business takes lots of time and it’s almost impossible to do when you’re chasing women seven nights a week.

QC: I’ve noticed that you generally avoid subjects like religion and the possibility of marriage. Do you have any thoughts on those subjects you’d like to share?

JM: It’s funny you ask this because for the past week I’ve been penning a long article about the qualities that you should look for in a wife. It’s a complete detour from my regular content with deals with traveling and self-improvement, so I’m very curious how it will be received. It should be out this week.

What marriage and religion have in common is that both are extremely polarizing. Religion is polarizing because it’s religion. And marriage is polarizing because in the manosphere it’s being treated as religion.

Many guys are doggedly against marriage. They think it’s a trap. They think that their ex-wife will take all their money and fuck them over. There are also guys who are interested in getting married and want to settle down with a nice girl. Then there are the guys in between who aren’t sure what they want in life.

I think it’s important to find a nice balance instead of viewing something as black and white. That’s why I do what I do: elucidate other men on the way of the maverick.

QC: I agree with you that a man shouldn’t box himself in to any rigid conception of life. As we grow and develop, we just don’t know where life will take us.

JM: Yes, very much so.

QC: All right, man. I really appreciate your taking the time to talk to us here. We’ll have to hit you up again soon.

JM: Sounds good to me, man.

Read More: Why Wrestling Is The Most Masculine Sport

48 thoughts on “Interview With An Accomplished World Traveler On Life And Travel”

    1. That you discovered the law of least effort as a social tool on your own is pretty awesome. I’m sure it was painstaking.

      1. Agreed. The law of least is brilliant in its simplicity but we often overlook it. We’re all trained to do more, more, more but rarely stop to ask “why?”.
        What can I do less of and get near-same results?
        What can I delegate to others to do?
        What can I completely discard?
        I wasn’t aware of this law until I read the 4 hour work week. Since then, I have been diligently scrutinizing every facet of my life to remove nonsense that doesn’t add any value to it.

        1. In business, DND: not the role playing game but “Delegate aNd Disappear”. While internet billionaires might present a particular exception, the general way to get rich is on the labour of others too timid to take a risk.

        2. Dungeons and Dragons was a fantastic part of my personal development. Using creative thinking, problem solving, making both strategic and tactical decisions from an early age. I probably learned more from D&D that from any other class in high school.

        3. And those too timid to take a risk will accuse you of receiving unearned income and tax you so that they can share in your gains.

    2. What are your favourite Latin American cities to live in/spend your holidays?
      Which Latin American city has the hottest girls? I went to Colombia this past summer and I have to say that I was impressed, the girls in Bogota and Medellin were amazing. Any pieces of advice for my next summer?

      1. Favorite LatAm Country: Brazil
        Favorite LatAm Cities: Rio, Medellin (not easy for girls), Bogota (much easier), Buenos Aires is awesome (girls aren’t the easiest).
        If you go to Medellin, forget about meeting girls at night. Not possible. Only during the day/social circles.
        Overall, I couldn’t recommend highly Brazil. Great country, friendly people, amazing women.

        1. Yes, I have been to Cartagena as well (It would have been stupid not to go to Cartagena when travelling around Culombia -pun intended!) but I felt that it is a tourist trap, although it was good to see it for a few days, as it is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
          I am pretty sure that you’ll like the girls in Bogota and Medellin.
          I enjoy working out whilst on holiday, turns out it was one of the best decisions in Medellin. I stayed in the district of Poblado (one of the wealthiest districts) and signed up with the biggest gym there and couldn’t believe my eyes, 4-7pm one stunner was following the next one, I didn’t know where to look…will definitely return to Medellin and Bogota.

        2. I was advised to go to Cartagena by a girl from Bogota. She actually had that “typical” Colombian look (black hair, creamy skin). In Cartagena, I saw only one woman that looked like that and she was the prettiest one there.
          I’ll learn from your example. Bogota next time!

    3. The Law of Laziness. I have being doing this since I was a child. Its good that someone else does too. That said, I don’t consider it laziness. Rather I consider it a sensible and disciplined approach. I always thought that students who spent all night reading and re-reading textbooks were in fact cowardly and lazy, since the obvious approach was to study and understand only the main points and then get a good nights rest before a test.

      1. I used to teach LSAT and “The Kaplan Method” included such tid bits of wisdom.
        When I teach accounting there are two kinds of students: the ones who I teach a few concepts to and then everything flows from that (like what is a “debit” and “credit”) and the ones who I have to teach by rote so it becomes a mechanical process. A high school credit is 110 hours in class but the first group I could teach them everything in a third of that time and then spend the rest learning by doing. For the latter group, the process can be painfully slow.

  1. Interesting, I’ve not heard of Mr. Maverick before. Good interview Quintus.
    The core idea is instead of chasing and convincing people to do
    stuff, you simply show up and announce your intent to do something. That
    can be asking out a girl or starting a new project. Then you step back,
    relax, and see if there are any takers.

    If not, then you need to do something else or with someone else. This
    forces you to always look at reality from an objective viewpoint
    instead of trying to fit everyone and everything into your notion of
    what reality should be.
    Fantastic way of approaching life, but one I think it takes a lot of men some time to learn. When you’re in your teens and 20’s you get focused on something, whatever it may be, and try to “convert” anybody within hearing range to your reality. Thirties you still do here and there but tend to be more choosy and start to realize that “the world doesn’t want to be saved”. By 40’s you’re cruising along, basically with your above quoted attitude by default, reserving your “sales pitch” for actual hard line business ventures.

    1. “Thirties you still do here and there but tend to be more choosy and start to realize that “the world doesn’t want to be saved”. By 40’s you’re cruising along, basically with your above quoted attitude by default, reserving your “sales pitch” for actual hard line business ventures.”
      You pretty much hit the nail right on the head. As you get older, you start to give a lot less fucks about minor bullshit and only focus on the bigger picture things. Shit that you cared about before doesn’t faze you anymore.
      Although the key is to make conscious effort, too. It’ll help to accelerate the process.
      And, yeah, the wisdom is in the fact that you can’t really convert anyone to do anything. But that also takes some time to get.

      1. I gather by your comments on Barcelona being inferior to a capitol city in Latin America that you’ve traveled in S/C America. Have you taken any trips to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Iceland or any of the rather obscure African nations, and how do they rate if you have?
        EDIT: I guess that’s a pretty broad assed question.
        Doubleplus EDIT: I should probably just grab your book and discover for myself, heh.

        1. I like my cities to have a certain edge to them. Barcelona is absolutely gorgeous but it’s too organized and has no edge whatsoever.
          Other than that, there isn’t much to add. Fantastic city for a family vacation I guess.
          In Latin America, I can go out, meet awesome people and end up in some random place. There’s a certain element of unpredictability there that’s sorely missing in the super organized Western Europe.
          Eastern Europe has the same feel as Latin America. That’s why I’m currently here and don’t want to go anywhere else.

    2. Great interview and writeup
      “try to “convert” anybody within hearing range to your reality.”
      Spot on as usual, GOJ. I look back and regret all the time I wasted yakking and playing “Paul Revere” to my friends and anyone within earshot, frankly. I guess it’s a natural phase and we all fall in to it in some ways. Choosing your way in life is scary and it helps to have as many people on your team as possible. But ultimately, winning people to your side (or trying to) is not a good use of your time. It actually exposes you unnecessarily also. People know stuff about you and inevitably everyone’s life choices will start to diverge more and more with each passing year. It’s no coincidence that opinions on ‘how life should be lived’ become more pronounced as people are more vested in their own route. Maintaining privacy when it comes to your choices and the rationale behind them is the much smarter path.
      I use to rail against the obesity of the American female and bullshit government salaries/pension quite openly. Now, probably 80-90% of my friends either have a fat daughter and a gov’t job, if not both. They know exactly what I’m thinking. All of that energy/tension/emotion doesn’t move my life forward one centimeter. KEEP YOUR MOUTHS SHUT YOUNG BLOODS.
      Young Bucks;
      —–Quietly make your choices and set your own values. Discuss it with close friends and family, if you must. Sometimes not even with them. But quiet, private discussions are different than spreading the word about how you think life should be lived. Don’t be Paul Revere (The fatties are coming! The fatties are coming! The entitlements are coming! The pensions are coming! And you’re paying for them!) Just keep a low profile.
      1. There should be no need to justify your own life to anyone under any circumstances, ever. Not even to your own parents.
      2. If you’re too open about the reasoning behind your life choices (especially if they’re unorthodox), you will be amazed with how non-supportive people will be, as they will likely be in a state of full psychological defense over their own choices. Diverging lifestyles can weaken decades long friendships to a very surprising extent. This is especially true if you’re constantly vocalizing why ‘your way’ is right. It inadvertently jabs at other peoples’ decisions whether you intend that or not.
      All that said, I certainly have mouthed off a lot here on ROK about how life should be lived, heh, heh.

    3. It seems to amount to throwing it against the wall and seeing what sticks. People will do what they want to do for irrational reasons (male or female) so there is no point in trying to make a case like you are in an informal logic class. Some of the most interesting chapters in my life started with “Hey, fuck it. . .”
      Hey, fuck it, let’s start a rock band!
      Hey, fuck it, let’s start a game design business!
      Hey, fuck it, send me to China!
      Hey, fuck it, do you want to have sex, make love or be dominated?
      Of course, there are a lot “Hey, fuck it. . .” moments that get no takers, but if you don’t ask you will never get.

        1. There is the issue of having people invest in your idea and then you abandon them. I don’t advocate that.
          But generally, brainstorm, ideate, (insert other new age neologisms along the same line) and see who responds. Go for it..
          A more radical idea, that many here do not agree with, is extending the “abundance mentality” to money itself. The wisdom is that you toss away a girl because there is another one waiting, but the idea of tossing some money out (and not having more in the pipeline) seems so strange.
          Every wealthy man that I know of said “fuck it” and rolled the dice with their life savings. On a more timid scale, you don’t have to bet the farm but rather let loose. Some red pill thinkers call women “dream killers”. Don’t let them!

  2. Been reading Maverick Traveller for a while. Good to see him getting exposed to the ROK audience.

  3. I know I’ve learned to judge women quickly more than to try to become the best player who can pull any woman. There are plenty of women who really aren’t worth your best effort.

    1. This is why I say men should “think horizontally, not vertically”. All continued over-investment does is let a guy become a woman’s “orbiter in chief”–which is NOT where you want to be.

      1. Well, getting horizontal with a girl is more of a priority than getting vertical with her, the Mile High Club notwithstanding.

      2. The other thing though is your actual ability to change her behavior. Something ROK doesn’t get into enough. No woman is ever perfect, but a strong man can mold her quite a bit.

  4. I miss travelling. Lived in France 4 years and Japan 8. But now I have to stay home because of my dog, cat and chickens.
    My wife and son still travel though. I get the bills, but that’s ok. I knew that when I got all my critters.
    At least I don’t get my nuts grabbed by homeland security. That was one reason I do not mind staying home.
    When I used to travel in the 80’s and 90’s, even security people were nice. All changed after 9/11. Travelling does not make me feel free like it used to.

  5. I disagree that Spanish girls are “not easy”. Perhaps Mr Maverick has been dealing with Catalan girls and not Spanish? Try Seville for a bit. Much better than Barcelona in my opinion. Much friendlier.
    I have only been to one S. American city but I would take Spain over S. America any day. I don’t think I could take the Latin American poverty.

    1. The poverty factor is note easy to ignore down in central and south America. The problem, for me anyway, was that while you could confine yourself to a gated area and have a decent time, you eventually had to confront the nastiness outside the gates. Made trips down there rather depressing.

      1. I actually stayed in a gated area and even that looked poor to me. That said. I still enjoyed being there.

    2. Estoy de acuerdo contigo, the Spanish girls that I have met so far were very “friendly!”. I really do have a soft spot for Spanish girls. From my personal experience they are either really hot or definitely not!

      1. I have actually only met one Spanish girl who was unfriendly and that was in London. In Spain, generally they are excited to meet foreign men, except in San Sebastian, where I found them generally unpleasant and ugly. Must be a Basque thing.
        That said, the one pretty girl I met in San Sebastian was very nice.

  6. Next summer I want to hit Budapest, Angouleme, and Surrey as I trek from China to Ontario for my annual vacation. I have business and personal contacts there. Any pointers?

    1. Budapest is awesome. Gorgeous city with amazing architecture. The city is great in the summer, too. Just forget about trying to learn the language (it’s one of the hardest in the world).

      1. The language is in it’s own class, not even proto-Indo-European if I recall. You might as well learn Chinese – which is a bitch as I can testify to from experience!
        Budapest seem like something right out of a James Bond movie. I have a friend (that I have known for 30 years) who gave up on Canada – and it’s women, I might add – and made the move to be with his extended family.

      2. This guy thinks it’s easy:
        If you think about it rationally, there’s no reason it should be the hardest to learn unless we think that the humans in Hungary have some natural advantage that the rest of us mere mortals lack. If they learned it, we can learn it.
        In my opinion, no language is easy to learn. You’ve just got to get out there and start talking.

  7. Enjoyed the interview here. I will be reading more of your site and checking out your podcast (happily it appears to have quality over quantity), but I’m curious about the age-old question of, if one does marry, is it absolutely toxic to bring the girl back to the west? I share many of the same frustrations you mention here but for the time being, I have a fairly lucrative income in the states that I’m not yet ready to abandon.
    I feel I would personally be much happier abroad in a different culture with more traditional values and less of the problems in America. But that being said, how possible do you think it is to have a LTR or wife from another culture brought to America? Does the American toxic culture really ruin people that quickly? I understand you have left, and don’t have direct experience with this but am interested in hearing your thoughts on this matter.

    1. This is a fantastic question.
      Most foreign women are already exposed to American culture via television, blogs, news, etc. They know all about feminism, etc. Many absolutely hate it. I’ve met women in Latvia, Russia and Ukraine who watch every episode of the exact same sitcoms that American girls watch.
      So, if your girl hasn’t become a feminist in Russia or Ukraine, she won’t suddenly become feminist in New York or San Francisco. Especially if she’s not too young, i.e., older than 25 or 30.

      1. Good insight. I think many of them see the USA as a place of great wealth but great corruption / immorality.. kinda the way some Americans view Las Vegas.
        I try to visit Latin America once a year and recently mentioned to a girl I met down there that yes, you can make a lot of money here (although the cost of living is also high), it’s a good place to save and invest, but our culture is absolutely corrupt, and surprisingly she wholeheartedly agreed (Oh, yes, I know!). I think gay marriage (I wasn’t initially opposed to it but it seems to be bringing out some degeneracy) and Bruce Jenner make the perversity of American culture obvious to foreigners. She also has a distorted view of the attractiveness of American women through Hollywood. I can’t quite bring myself to introduce her to but somehow this needs to be balanced 😉
        Also, this is a longer discussion, but I find foreign women on the whole to be more independent than American woman. By this I mean I dated a 30 year old You Go Girl American woman with a corporate job, expense account, etc. in one of the largest cities in America. But she turned out to be one of the most empty, shallow, weak, immature women I’ve known. By contrast, the girl from Ecuador working a job 6 days a week selling SIM cards doesn’t have it nearly as easy, but is far more well-adjusted, happy, has her priorities in line, doesn’t behave like a child, and has a fun and strong social network that supports her. Yet feminism teaches that the most independent thing a woman can do is pursue her career. My career girl ex will be living alone in her apartment for years, crying and attempting to assemble a social life that brings her a bit of happiness, living paycheck to paycheck and without any real purpose in life.

  8. I plan to buy some entrepreneurship program from James Maverick, the “Maverick Traveler”. He is the real deal. He can help me and others build a successful online business, make more money, and go on more trips.
    I would love to be in Colombia or Ukraine dating beautiful women, enjoying my life, and not worry about money at all.
    I want to be like James Maverick.

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