365 days, 52 festivals, 15 countries, and countless memories from an epic adventure. Kyle Ziff risked it all, saw the world,
and is ready to share his story.
Some people go skydiving, some try deep sea scuba diving, or maybe base jumping. Whatever it is, we all have our own version of an adventure: something that takes us out of our daily routine and helps us shake things up. Now, imagine if you wanted to leave the actual routine behind and just wing it. That’s exactly what Kyle Ziff decided to do, and he highly recommends it.
Kyle took life by the horns and sold everything he owned. He bought three one-way flights to start and just went after it. His stories are filled with what can only be described as serendipity, and if you didn’t think some things were meant to be before, you will after you read them.
It’s a rare thing to find someone so genuine and open to everything life has to offer. Both the good and the challenging have helped shaped him, so we were thrilled to be able to get some insight into his very unique identity.
Hi Kyle! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! On your blog, you say that you got to a point in your life where you wanted to make your dream happen no matter what. What would you say was the catalyst for this adventure? Was there any leading event to this decision or was it an “I just woke up one morning…” kind of idea?
EDM Identity! First off thank you for taking the time to interview me. I had such a great time this weekend at Snowglobe hanging out with your team. To answer your question, I did just wake up one morning and realized I was stuck in a continuous daily cycle that I was getting tired of. I took a step back and asked myself, “What do I want to do with my life?” The answer was I wanted to see the world.
I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life asking myself, “What would’ve happened if I dropped everything to travel the world?” I also specifically remember having a deep conversation with a close friend of mine about wanting to go out and travel the world. I feel like she definitely helped in giving me the courage to go for it.
How long did you spend planning the trip and did you start by choosing festivals or choosing countries? What did you use to build your schedule around?
I spent a little over 2 months to prepare for my adventure. On October 14, 2017, I bought a one-way ticket to Hawaii, Miami, and Colombia. To be honest, the only festivals I planned on hitting were Ultra Miami and EDC Las Vegas. When I started this, there wasn’t really “building a schedule around anything” other than those two music festivals. As I continued the journey, I started connecting with new people online.
I randomly linked up with this person who happened to be going to Tomorrowland, and after a lot of talking about the festival, I decided to make it happen. Once that was planned, I then decided to hit Sensation White in Amsterdam. While I was on a bus from Amsterdam to London, I sat next to this girl who told me about Sziget festival in Budapest. So as you can see it was all very random and spontaneous. I truly believe everything in life happens for a reason and being open-minded to new experiences helps a lot.
How did you prepare for your travels?
The biggest thing for me is knowing that no matter what happens, I have my plane tickets in and out of wherever I go. I mapped out the first key spots that I wanted to go to and planned out purchasing necessary tickets for my trip – plane tickets, bus tickets, train tickets, etc.
After that was my pack. I originally packed a tent, sleeping bag, clothes, and a few essentials. I later realized a lot of what I thought were essentials were really just extra weight I didn’t need to carry. I ended up shipping back almost 20 pounds of stuff I just didn’t need. As far as languages, I already knew some Spanish, so I could carry conversations when I went to Colombia which helped me out a lot. A lot of my travel is very spontaneous, which makes it a surprise.
We loved your open-minded insight. Do you think that’s the most important life lesson you’ve acquired? Side question, you encouraged readers to try snails but didn’t really describe it in texture or taste – could you?
You know, it’s definitely up there on the list of life lessons. I know that being open-minded has made me a better person. It’s given me so many amazing opportunities in life. Without being open-minded, this adventure would’ve never happened nor would I have made any of the experiences I’ve been through and amazing friends I’ve met on this eye-opening journey.
The snails were actually one of the best things I ate in Europe, and if you are reading this getting grossed out, I’m sorry but you have no idea what you are missing out on. As soon as I had the first bite, I completely forgot that I was even eating snails. The strong garlic, buttery flavor overpowered any inhibitions I previously had about it. The texture was soft and chewy in a good way. It’s totally worth being open-minded about it by trying it at least once.
Some of your blog posts pose questions that you seemingly find the answer for during your adventure. How has finding those answers changed your worldview?
I love this question! It has honestly given me perspective in life. There is only so much you can read or hear about from places around the world, but it will never be the same as seeing it in person. Being able to see different cultures and learn about new ideas or try new food is a very eye-opening experience and it makes you realize how little you really know. I’ve already learned so much from my 2017 adventure and it has made me a better person today. I honestly feel like I’m a completely different person than when I first started the journey.
Out of all of the places you’ve seen which one would you say someone has to see in person? The one that pictures just don’t do justice.
The Amalfi Coast of Italy. There was one day where we had rented a scooter and rode up the coast and randomly found this small port. We parked the scooter and I went around asking people if I could rent a boat. Before I knew it I was on a private boat that I was able to pilot myself, heading out to this spot called Capri Island. Words will never do this place justice.
We went around the island looking for a spot they called the Blue Cave. You have to park your boat and take another smaller boat into the cave by one of the locals. The entire cave shines bright blue from the sun hitting the water below. I look back at the photos and know that the photos will never do this place justice.
What is the most powerful insight that you’ve gained about yourself through this process?
I love the concept of unity and what it can do. I’ve learned that I love to bring people together whether it be at one of my festival meet-ups or at one of my accommodations that I host during big festivals. It has such a powerful impact on me and being able to bring other’s happiness through unity is something that I hope I can do for the rest of my life.
You’ve met some incredible and interesting people in your travels. Who would you say is the most interesting person you’ve had the chance to meet?
Wow, this is a really hard question. There have been so many, but I’m going to have to say a friend of mine named Roy. I met this kid at Ultra Miami last year. This guy has so much personality, I swear he makes me laugh so hard whenever we hang out. I told him I was going to Europe for Tomorrowland and he decided to drop everything and come travel with me for a bit in Europe. We ended up going to Sensation White in Amsterdam and Tomorrowland in Belgium.
I have had so many crazy adventures with Roy and I’m lucky to have met him. He has impacted my life in a big way and I will be forever grateful for that. There was one memory I will have that I will never forget. We were walking into Tomorrowland and I was trying to sneak my camera in. After confusing the guards right in front of their eyes, I put my camera into his bag. The downside was that my distraction was my flagpole that they didn’t allow in. I ended up getting separated from him and had no way of contacting him because he didn’t have a phone with service.
I had a group chat that I started for Tomorrowland which had maybe around 50 people in it. After I got in and couldn’t find him, I blasted out on the chat I would pay anyone 100 Euros if they find Roy and bring him to me. I had a lot of people say they saw him go by.
After a while, I decided to take matters into my own hands and got a massive stick from a tree and tied my KZ flag onto it and went into the middle of the crowd. About an hour later he taps me on the shoulder and found me because of my flag. This is how I came up with my definition of what a flag is. I ended up getting my camera back for some photos before the event ended and had good laugh about the entire situation.
In your blog, you mention “meant to be” moments. Did you always have that view that things happening were meant to be or do you think that this adventure has made you more of a believer?
I’ve always had that view that things happen for a reason. For example, I just randomly bumped into your team three separate times at Snowglobe this past weekend. Hanging out with your team and getting to know more about you guys was definitely one of those “meant to be” moments.
There are a lot of arguments about PLUR being dead and the community not being the same. As someone who has been to seven EDC’s, you’ve had the opportunity to see the community change. What are your thoughts on these accusations?
You know I can at times see how people can get that feeling of PLUR being dead. Each event is always different. A lot of it has to do with the people you are around so for me I don’t get that feeling of it being dead because I am around a lot of people who truly live a PLUR lifestyle. I do think we can do a better job of passing PLUR down to the new festival goers.
Finally, not everyone can afford this kind of wild adventure. What advice would you give to someone who wanted to experience a scaled down/budget version of your self-discovery?
If you check out how I started this adventure it was on a super low budget. I got a tent and spent many nights camping out. I also volunteered at a hostel for some time. I feel like if you want something badly enough in life, you will make it happen regardless of whether or not you are making it work on a low budget. If you want it bad enough, you will figure it out. Don’t ever give up on a dream you have or at the very least, make a strong effort to achieve it.