Exercising Around the World: 18 Months in the Making

Steve Jumping Rope in Alaska

My dear Rebel friend, I’m excited to share something with you I’ve been working on for a LONG time.  

Eighteen months ago, I took my first trip outside of North America, visiting the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru.  Energized by the adventures I had there, I decided that I needed to see the rest of the world too.  So, I took an even CRAZIER trip , spanning 15 countries and over 120,000 miles.  Because my decision to travel the world was heavily inspired by Where The Hell is Matt, I wanted to pay homage to his video by exercising along the way and eventually turn it into a cool video.

That day is today.  

18 months and 120,000+ miles of travel later, I present to you, “Exercising Around the World.”

(note: reading this on a MOBILE DEVICE?  Watch the video at this link instead!)

Exercising Around the World Video

Exercising Around the World (MOBILE DEVICES VIEW HERE)

I need your help!

I was ready to publish this video a while ago.  However, I wanted to wait to get to Ecuador to tack on one last country, so I held off on posting it until today.  Coincidentally, one week before I was set to hit “publish,” Nike put out their own video of a professional video maker dude they hired to travel around the world and exercise too!

I’m not gonna lie – when a buddy sent me their video the other day, I was furious!  I’m super competitive, so to have something like that come out a week before my own video made me freak out slightly; I knew the comparisons would be drawn even though I had started working on mine eighteen months ago… because I managed to wait eight days too long to release mine.  “Dude you copied the Nike video” I’m sure will be the #1 comment on YouTube over the next few weeks/months, followed by things like “dumb” and “you suck at skimboarding” 🙂

But then I looked at it like a challenge: David vs Goliath.  The underdog vs. the clear favorite.  Self-funded vs. commercial sponsorship.  Complete amateur vs. professional crew.  Rebellion vs. the Empire.

Nerd Fitness vs. Nike.

It’s on!

Yeah, I’m going to try to out-market Nike.

(seriously, stop laughing)

I might not have a kickass camera (most of the videos were shot with my iPhone), I didn’t have a camera man (I traveled by myself and recruited folks along the way to hold the camera), my editing skills are substandard (edited by myself in iMovie), and I’ve already given them a one week (and 3 million+ views on YouTube ) headstart, but damnit we have a phenomenal community here…with members all over the world…who can hopefully help make this thing take off!

So, I ask for one small favor:

  • If you happened to enjoy the video, share it with people you think would also enjoy it!
  • If you’re a travel or fitness or any other kind of blogger and deem this video worthy, I’d love it if you shared it with your community (if it’s something you think they’d like)!  It’s embeddable, sharable, and whatever else you need.

Nike’s goin down!

Okay probably not, and I actually love Nike’s commercials (including this one – well done sir!), but I’d love to try.

It’s a long shot, sure. But stranger things have happened…

Questions you might have about the adventure

Map of my flight path

How far did you travel?

Yeah, that map above represents my flight schedule over the past 18 months. According to that map, I flew 123,435 miles.

Here’s what the airport code sequence looks like:


How did you pick that song?

About a year ago, I stumbled across Young the Giant’s “My Body” and instantly fell in love with the song.  As I was putting this video together, I tried about a million songs to see which fit the best, and I kept coming back to this one.  The chorus is particularly appropriate: “My body tells me no, but I won’t quit, because I want more” – that’s how I felt while on my trip.  Endless bus rides, dozens of plane rides, hundreds of hours spent in transit….part of me missed the days where I knew where I’d be sleeping and had a closet to hang my clothes in, but the rest of me knew there was a whole world to explore and that each new location would bring more adventure, more friends, and more memories.

How did you afford all of this?

I’ve been running Nerd Fitness for almost three and a half years now, and the site has been my full time job for the last twenty-two months.  Because I can work from anywhere, I was able to travel and explore and exercise while still building a business.  Yes, it was (and still is) fun to be able to both, but also quite hectic and chaotic at times.  I booked the majority of adventure with one around the world ticket for $418.  My trip to Peru was also booked using points, and almost all of my trips around the United States were paid for with cash.

Along the way, I stayed in hostels, on couches, and in the occasional hotel while traveling.  All told, I spend on average around $2,000 per month for the time I was traveling outside of the United States.  Because I had no expenses other than student loans and insurance tied up back home (no house, no mortgage, no rent, no car), it was actually cheaper for me to travel than it was to “play it safe” in the States!

How the heck did you do the “James Bond” in Monte Carlo thing?

I cover that particular adventure pretty extensively in this article, but here’s the abridged version: I spent one night in Monaco, convinced a local girl to help me rent a cheap tuxedo, gambled for 6 hours in the Monte Carlo, and convinced the Irish folks at my blackjack table to film me in front of the Casino at 3AM when the rest of the country was asleep.

Whose hat did you steal in Paris?

That was Nerd Fitness reader Alexandre who runs Wellicient.com!  Alex and his buddy Morgan were nice enough to show me around Paris for a few days while I was in town, and he volunteered to be in the video.  Thanks guys!

Where did you film the Parkour scene in Los Angeles?

Tempest Freerunning Academy!  Yeah, THAT ONE.   After watching that video I knew I had to somehow film part of my video in there.  I swung in for an open gym session, spent a few hours learning some moves with the members, and then asked for their help to make that scene special.

What’s next?

Honestly, I don’t know!  I didn’t do this video to get sponsored or discovered or get advertisers or anything like that – I have so much fun writing and running Nerd Fitness that I don’t see that changing any time soon.  I really just wanted to come up with a cool way to document my adventure.  I still plan on crossing things off my Epic Quest of Awesome, but I don’t know if I’ll take another crazy epic around-the-world trip like I did to shoot this video.  I still have around 750,000 airline and hotel miles sitting around however, so the travel definitely won’t stop!

Favorite place in the film?

Monaco.  That entire country is ludicrous in its weath, so to be able to live like that for even a night was something I never thought would happen.   Plus, it’s impossible not to feel like a million bucks while wearing a tux, right?


Steve with Elvis in Vegas

Thank you.

If you happen to have met up with me along the way and helped me film some of these sections, thank you!  I have to give a big shout out to my buddy Cash too, who came and met up with me in Peru, Thailand, and again in South Africa – thanks Cashy!

Big thanks to the dozen folks over the past few days to help me edit and proofread this sucker…I love you guys.

And if you watched the video, thanks 🙂

I feel very lucky to be able to do what I do for a living: help people live a better life.  The fact that I get to do that from some pretty cool places around the world still feels really surreal to me.

This community means the world to me, and I feel honored to be able to hopefully make you chuckle and smile with a video like this.  I hope you enjoy it, and I hope it inspires you to maybe start planning an adventure of your own (no matter how small).

If you happen to like it…thanks for sharing it!

…And hey Nike: Just do it. Already did it 🙂


PS. It’s fun making up rivalries out of thin air, so why shouldn’t Nerd Fitness’s rival be Nike?  All in good fun!  Also, my buddy Saint and I have a rivalry for no reason with James Cameron.  Bet you thought I’d never get this video out, huh James?  Well take that!



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