The eldest brother, Mark, is the thinker. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from UCLA with degrees in economics and political science, just months before the global economic collapse of 2008. After graduation, Mark moved to rural India to work as a summer consultant at a micro-finance bank serving small-scale sugar farmers. At first he intended to use the experience to bolster his resume, but upon arrival in India, he felt his assumptions and career plans fall away in the face of India’s astounding poverty. He began to wonder how such widespread suffering could be explained by the neat equations and graphs of his economics textbooks. He decided to put down his books and pick up his backpack.
India prompted Mark to start writing about travel, culture, international politics, and globalization. Writing came to occupy increasingly more of his time in India, and at the end of his internship he decided to take off across Asia and write about his experiences. He opened his eyes to the world, and opened his ears to foreign languages, the key to understanding any culture. He hasn’t put down his pen since.
Mark has chased knowledge through experiences all across the globe. First, he spent seven months traveling overland by himself from Singapore to St. Petersburg, Russia, writing about backpacker culture on the Banana Pancake Trail, speaking with political dissidents in Burma, riding a $300 Russian motorbike across Vietnam, exploring awakening China, climbing up to Tibet, then falling to Swine Flu in Beijing before taking the Trans-Mongolian Railroad across Siberia to Eastern Europe. The trip produced a miniature book of 70 blog posts – and more questions than answers.
He then spent two years in Spain, perfecting his Spanish and building a career as a freelance travel writer, studying at the Paris American Academy with travel writers Rolf Potts and Jeffery Tayler, completing coursework for MatadorU, writing articles for OffTrackPlanet, MatadorNights, InsidersAbroad.com, and authoring a guidebook to Buenos Aires and a gastronomical guidebook to the Basque Country in Spain, available as an app on iTunes. Adventure has been the constant theme throughout these experiences, as he’s hitchhiked across Europe, walked the 800km Camino de Santiago and worked as a deckhand on ships sailing around the Mediterranean. He writes travel-related news stories for Travora.com.
Together, Mark and Alex have traveled to more than 45 countries, lived in Spain, India, New Zealand, France, and Argentina, filmed three adventure documentaries, written two guidebooks and many travel articles. Mark – the passionate writer pushing himself into the world of action. Alex – the witty, outspoken outdoorsman drawn toward knowledge.
What makes Mark a Vagabrother: Mark believes in cooperation over competition – both as a brother and a citizen of the world. Mark’s also the philosopher of the two, always searching for the deeper meaning of travel. And Mark always links their travels to current events, asking other people where we are today, and where we’re going tomorrow.