Are you an avid traveller who has been to over 50 countries? Then you are eligible to join The Traveler’s PhD, an online group of travel bugs. The Traveler’s PhD founder Sarah Nicole Groen is on a mission to inspire and enable more people to travel widely. She believes that travel is an important form of education.
A graduate from the Stanford Graduate School of Business she launched the start-up after her recent visit to the Sultanate. Her goal is to visit 100 countries in the next few years and retire around 40. She has so far visited 86 countries using the UN list of 195 countries plus 38 dependencies.
Travel, according to Sarah, challenges people to grow out of comfort zones, learn new ways of thinking, and become more tolerant global citizens. Though she has an MBA in entrepreneurship and leadership, her blog states that travelling is better than an MBA. “I think it is my small way of making the world a better and more tolerant place.” Sarah recently started Bell & Bly Travel Design to help plan custom itineraries and independent travel for busy professionals. As part of this endeavour, she was recently accepted to the prestigious mentorship programme at Brownell Hosting, the leading host for successful travel advisers.
Her ultimate goal is to donate a portion of the proceeds from her businesses to scholarships for poor students who would like to study abroad. She is also willing to fund a student to study in Oman some day!
For those planning to join the group from the Sultanate need to wait till this year-end, as there are many on the waiting list.
Having been to all seven continents, Sarah is always looking for some new and unique spot to visit.
Earlier, she had also heard great things about the camping trips that are easily organised from Muscat to see some of the natural wonders around the city. “Visiting Oman provided her another country to help educate her followers about,” she adds. Sarah mentions that there are several sites that allow you to count your countries or regions visited and be ranked. There is also a club for travellers who have been to 100 countries or more and for travellers who have circumnavigated the globe.
Sarah was accompanied on her Oman trip by Angela Rastegar, her best friend. They both spent most of their time among nature and had an amazing time!
Oman is truly unique, she says. “I can’t really compare it to many other places, hiking in Jabal Shams was different than the Grand Canyon in the US. Rimal al Sharqiyah (Wahiba Sands) was different than the desert in Dubai. The beaches were so different than other beaches I have been to, and the wadis were otherworldly. Perhaps this is why I loved my trip to Oman so much.”
She was in Oman for a week and spent 2 days in Muscat staying at the Al Husn Resort and Spa and the Sheraton Oman with a city tour added. Her first impressions were about how clean, and safe the Sultanate was. At the Anantara Jabal Al Akhdar Resort they both performed some great rock climbing and hiked the Balcony Walk which was absolutely gorgeous!
Driving to Rimal al Sharqiya, they camped with a Bedouin family and headed to Ras al Hadd finding a really secluded and beautiful spot to camp overlooking a beach full of turtle nests.
With an ‘inexhaustible curiosity for life,’ Sarah says The Traveler’s PhD is more targeted towards millennials and Gen X. The other groups have more of an in-person component to them and are very paper or mail based rather than internet based. These organisations inspire people to travel more so they are all good.”
Her travel Instagram account @sarahgoesglobal has posts from several countries, and about Arab world to break some of the misconceptions. Sarah says travel is education and we all need more of it. It brings with it joy, and adventure, difficulty, and excitement, but it is also a deep learning experience.
“I truly believe that if more of us travelled and interacted with diverse and different cultures, we would live in a more tolerant, loving world.”
Hailing from Corpus Christi in South Texas, Sarah grew up in a diverse family with diverse interests and hobbies but they all boil down to business and travel!
She spends most of her time working. When not working she loves to spend time with the family and friends, and her two dogs, Lennon and Denver, named after the singers.