Sitting Down With Brendan Hughes
Why should anyone invest in study abroad and travel?
We sat down with Brendan Hughes - a globe-trotting Chartered Financial Analyst in the Washington DC area - to hear about what's inspired him to combine his background and passion for finance with his love for travel. As educators and fellow travel enthusiasts, we want you to hear how Brendan went from a curious study abroad student to becoming a savvy world traveler and well-rounded investor. Collectively, we believe that these experiences abroad are a worthwhile investment that can change and continue as a priority beyond college, which is why we want to share Brendan’s story and his work with you.
Q: Tell us about your background.
A: My lifelong love for travel spawned when I was in college attending James Madison University. While I didn’t realize it at the time, my Study Abroad experience in Antwerp, Belgium (if you have the means to do it make sure you Study Abroad while still in school!) where I was fortunate enough to visit about 10 European countries along the way changed my life forever. I firmly believe that travel is the single best way to learn, as you get real firsthand knowledge of how the world really works in other cultures. I currently work as an Investment Advisor for Lafayette Investments and have 6.5 years of professional experience in the Finance field. I have made it a priority to go on at least 1-2 international trips a year, as it keeps me well grounded in developments going on around the world in addition to the enjoyment factor I get from the experience.
Q: How have you more specifically married your passion for travel with your Finance profession?
A: For starters, I take detailed notes on every trip I go on. My notes will document things such as what smartphone applications people are using in that particular country to the work ethic apparent in the city or location. I have tied all of this into a book I have been working on for several years that covers experiences of destinations from around the world and reads like an adventure thriller but includes commentary in regards to local economic developments and observations. I have positioned myself as both an expert in Finance and adventure travel.
Q: Tell me about your recent travels.
A: I have most recently traveled to Colombia. While many still view Colombia as being a country ruled by Pablo Escobar that is completely unsafe, this is far from present day reality in the country. What I found was a stunningly beautiful country that is still dirt cheap because of the misguided beliefs around what Colombia is like in 2018. Yes, there are plenty of areas within the country that would still be off limits to many travelers due to safety, but locations such as Medellin, Bogota, and Cartagena are open for business. Prospective investors looking at the Colombian Peso, the tourism industry within the country, and Medellin real estate may find something to like.
I document my travels on my Instagram account @the_wandering_investor. I would consider myself a “destination expert” for Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, New Zealand, Peru, Morocco, Iceland, Belize, Chile, Canada, Australia, Colombia, and Western Europe.
Q: How do you usually get around countries while you are traveling?
A: On many occasions I have worked with niche local tour operators that have been able to customize the experience to fit my high and precise expectations in addition to handling the undesirable logistics. Much like my recent trip to Colombia where I took a private tour with one company for five days, I came out of the trip with a much better feel for the present day business landscape and history of the country than I would have if I had just booked the trip on my own. I believe that EdOdyssey's approach lends credence to this philosophy. I have found that it is less likely that you will miss out on learning about the local culture, experiencing a high quality activity, or understanding the business landscape if you combine independent research with help from a local tour company or a Study Abroad program such as what EdOdyssey offers.
Q: If someone wanted to learn more about your travels or get in touch with you how could they do that?
A: Please follow me on Instagram and TripAdvisor using the links at the bottom of the page. On TripAdvisor, I have written detailed reviews of various tours/attractions, restaurants, and hotels around the world. Feel free to follow or connect with me on LinkedIn as well. I post a good amount of business-related content on that forum.