Welcome! I am so glad you are here!
On this blog, along with my Instagram account, @seeing__sam, is where I document my adventures from around the world. My goal is to share everything I experience, the good, the bad and utterly ridiculous, to help inspire your next adventure and encourage potential travelers to stop waiting and start exploring!
I do a lot of solo travel and have been to 47 US states, 32 US National Parks and 27 countries, almost all of them solo, but I wasn’t always seeing the world.
I always wanted to see the world but after college, I was more focused on a career in the fashion industry and told myself travel can wait. After a trip to Iceland in 2017 I couldn’t resist the wanderlust that consumed me and started using all of my vacation days to start checking off my Bucket List. When I was laid off in 2020, this blog was born. I decided to turn my true passions into a reality and started SEEing the World full time.
Read more about Sam
Long story short, I always loved the idea of seeing the world, but it wasn’t until a trip to Iceland in 2017 that I started taking that desire seriously. Once back from Iceland, I immediately prioritized saving money for travel and planning adventures around my full-time job. Two years later, I had been to 9 new countries and 4 new cities (more than the previous 10 years) and could not wait to get to more.
After a layoff in early 2020, I knew I had to make a change and start living the life I always dreamed of. So I decided to leave the comforts of home, fuel my wanderlust and SEE as much of the world as possible by embarking on my first long-term solo travel journey with a ton of bucket list experiences in mind….or so I thought.
When those travel plans took a back seat due to a worldwide pandemic, I found myself in new territory, enjoying the simple life with family in Upstate New York.
At the end of 2020, my wanderlust was still burning bright, so I decided I had to get back out there in the “safest” and most convenient way possible. I always wanted to camper van across the US, visit all 63 National Parks and explore all 50 US states and thought, now is the time.
In March 2021, I rented out my condo to cover the mortgage, packed up my car, and left on a cross-country car-camping road trip. I made it back to Tampa, FL in November 2021 and had a really great experience. In early 2022 I planned a two-month international trip through the UAE, went diving in the Maldives, wild camping on Socotra Island, and road-tripped through Turkey.
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In 2007 I graduated college with dual bachelor’s degrees in Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising. Always intrigued by the creative aspect behind fashion design, I set off to NYC immediately following graduation and set my sights on the fashion world. I envisioned myself running my own line (and still do). I worked 3-4 internships over the next couple of months (some paid, some not) while trying to find something that felt right…it didn’t happen. After some time in NYC, I moved to Chicago on a whim, convinced I would get a job with a luxury retailer I had been interviewing for. Fast forward to me boarding the plane to Chicago, I got a call from HR telling me they are going with someone more experienced. I totally didn’t see that one coming; I laughed the whole way there!
Not wanting to move back in with my parents, I landed in Chicago and ended up finding another job pretty quickly. I actually thought this one would turn into my dream job (designing a clothing line, managing a brand, producing fashion shows). However, fast forward a year later, I realized that wasn’t going to happen; the owners didn’t share my same passions. I ultimately moved back in with my parents because I was broke and visionless, but I never stopped working. At one point, I was working 4+ jobs (magazine stocker, retail associate, sewing bathrobes, hemming pants, and working in event planning), trying to save money and find my groove.
Eventually, I took a job as a visual merchandiser and then worked really hard to get the same position at a luxury retailer. When I saw I missed a call from the recruiter, I called her back 6 times in a row, not realizing she had caller i.d. She finally called me back and said, “so I saw you called a few times.” I was bursting with embarrassment, but it had been three weeks, and I wanted to know if I got the job. Thankfully I did!
I was excited to start my new position as a visual coordinator, but I was only making $15 an hour with mediocre benefits. In addition, this was 5 years out of college, not what I had envisioned for myself.
I took another part-time position and worked these two jobs for about 6 months. I was then let go from my full-time job due to the store closing. I was recruited via LinkedIn only a few days after and wound up being offered another full-time position in the wholesale apparel industry. This time in Miami. New experiences are exciting for me, and I’ve never shied away from change, so I jumped at the chance to move to Miami, not knowing what to expect.
By May 2014, I had been in the same position for about a year and a half, and while I felt I had finally found a “real” job with all the benefits I thought I needed, it started to become mundane. Boredom set in. I did feel a sense of security knowing I had a steady paycheck and loved my co-workers; however, I still wasn’t making enough to live solo in Miami, which was disappointing.
After my 30th birthday, I had no debt, sacrificed many luxuries, and saved enough money for a down payment. I bought a condo overlooking the ocean (my mortgage is cheaper than rent), moved in, renovated a bit, and was offered a District Manager position at a new company. I thought this one would give me the satisfaction I was looking for, an elevated position at a hugely popular fashion house. Unfortunately, two years later, I started to get burned out and a bit disappointed with life again….I mean, seriously, how many times is that supposed to happen in one lifetime? I had big dreams of growing with the new company I worked for but quickly realized a 9-5 corporate desk job wasn’t my cup of tea. I decided I no longer wanted to pursue a corporate career that would take me back to NYC and opted to say in the field as a Wholesale District Manager.
In 2017 I bought a go-pro and tagged along with my parents and a few of their friends on a highly anticipated trip to Iceland. I had not been out of the country since I studied abroad in 2005 and was slacking a bit on the savings since buying and renovating my condo. As soon as I landed, I was like, “what have I been missing”? Immediately the travel bug lit up inside me, and I began plotting my next adventure.
Iceland was a phenomenal experience for me and really got me out of the little slump I was in. With a bit more soul searching and numerous thoughts about quitting my job, I realized quitting wasn’t an option since I didn’t have enough savings at the time. What I could do was leverage my paid vacation, personal days, holidays and other corporate days off to make the most of any travel time I could swing. Saving money to travel quickly became my #1 priority. Thankfully I had a new manager who encouraged me to see the world and was always curious of where I was going next.
I had been toying with the travel blogging idea for a while, but I always thought I didn’t travel enough, and self-doubt always crept in for several reasons. Finally, after about a year or more of back and forth, and with some friend’s encouragement, and well nothing to lose, I said, what the heck, why not try! So on 9-9-19 I purchased the domain name “Seeing Sam.” I actually purchased the domain name “Sam Stamps Travels” but decided I didn’t like it and purchased Seeing Sam the next morning. A domain name made it feel real.
But balancing a full time job and learning the ropes of travel blogging was pretty tough. It took months for me to learn how to edit the theme and create new posts, publishing posts only when I could which was not a lot for the first year. My goal of monetizing my travel blog was suddenly so far away but I fell in love with the process and connecting with other like minded travelers that I never would have met otherwise.
After a year, I began making some Affiliate income money that I put right back into the blog. Although its been a slow journey, I continue to post as much as I can and hope you’ll find some inspiration for your next adventure.
I’ve been nomadic for the past three years but am looking forward to settling into a new home base on the west coast or maybe buying a camper van in 2024…..
Thank you for reading my story. I hope you will (if you haven’t already) set out to pursue the life of your dreams!
In 20 years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.H. Jackson Brown Jr.