John Monarch is a seasoned traveler and entrepreneur that runs one of the largest fulfillment centers in the Southeast, Direct Outbound. He’s recently ventured into the world of blockchain technology to start ShipChain, a decentralized solution for the shipping and logistics industry.
John’s experience with travel comes with his years in business. Visiting new places to meet with clients and speak at events is not uncommon. As in demand as his presence is, Monarch spends a fair amount of his year on the road. When he’s not abroad, he enjoys a quiet life in South Carolina with his two dogs Hana and Baron and going to see his alma mater, Clemson University, play football each fall.
1.What is your favorite thing about traveling?
For me travel is way to experience new cultures and try new foods. Seeing a new country for the first time is eye opening, to say the least. I love being able to unplug when I need to and step into adventurous new surroundings.
2. Is traveling a hobby or a lifestyle for you? How did you get started?
For me right now, it’s a hobby. Unless it’s directly tied to business, I like to take trips to places that have been on my bucket list for a while. I recently returned from Bangkok, Thailand where I spoke at the first ever Blockchain World Conference about ShipChain and what we’re doing. That was mostly business trip but also my first time in Thailand so I took some time to see Bangkok and try the amazing street food.
Business enables me to travel regularly. Ever since I started working for myself years ago, business conferences sparked the travel bug in me.
3. What is the most beautiful place you’ve been to?
Kyoto, Japan. I spent two weeks traveling Japan last month and Kyoto has topped the list for me. The hand-crafted temples and shrines set among calm waters cannot be captured with a photo. If you’re reading this, go see Kyoto for yourself
4. Do you have any exciting travel dates planned for the future?
Nothing in the immediate future. Ironically, I’m a bit worn out from a lot of travel in the past two months. Right now, I’m happy to be home but I’d like to explore more of Asia when the right opportunity arises next year.
5. What are some travel tips you’d give to someone inexperienced?
Don’t overthink or over plan your trip unless you absolutely must. Some of the best travel you’ll experience comes from not having an itinerary being free to come and go as you like.
Pack light to stay nimble in the event you get the urge to go somewhere else. You only need one suitcase and maybe a carry-on if you’re conducting business on your trip.
Resist the urge to take an extra bag for souvenirs. Just ship whatever you buy home. Once ShipChain is live, you can rest assured your package will get home safely with full transparency! The less bags you need to tote in multiple airports will make traveling back home less worrisome.
6. Where would you like to go?
I have yet to go to South America. Peru and Argentina are on the list!
7. Where would you like to revisit?
Japan. While I spent two weeks there, I know there’s still more to see and experience. The food is some of the best in the world and their technology just moves at a rapid pace. I’d love to check out Hakkaido on my next trip.
8. Do you travel alone? Why?
I’ve traveled alone before and it certainly has its advantages. These days though, I love traveling with my girlfriend on trips. Most of the places I go are for business, so when I do arrive I end up spending time with friends and acquaintances I haven’t seen in a while.
9. If you could pick the top 3 places every person should go, what would they be?
My top three would be Japan, Morocco, and the Turks and Caicos islands in the Caribbean.
10. Do you travel light or do you pack up the house?
I’m a light traveler. I at least try to be. Packing light forces you to adapt and get out of your comfort zone when traveling. You also have the advantage of not looking too much like a tourist in a new country. We’ve all seen that one traveler lugging along five suitcases behind them through the airport – don’t be that guy!
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