Uncornered Market is a community, a movement of respectful travelers who live at the intersection of deeper travel experiences and caring for our planet and its people. A movement that knows travel as a force for good. A movement of travelers whose decisions are at the same time for their own benefit and for the good of others. A movement that is not zero-sum.
We are a community of travelers who live by the motto: “Driven by Curiosity, Guided by Respect.”
A movement that outlasts the need to reach a destination. A movement that continues as we leave impressions on others, as they have left on us.
A movement that knows we’ve succeeded only when we accept that our ability to affect positive change through the way we travel NEVER ends. A movement that knows its impact will outlive our last journey, this website and each of us.
It’s what we stand for. Together.
We hope you'll join us.
“Come. See for yourself. There’s a different story to be told here.”
Just before we set off eight years ago on our around-the-world trip, Audrey was working at a news organization in Prague, Czech Republic. Her colleagues were from countries throughout the former Soviet Union. Unfortunately, news from these locations was often negative, suggesting that these places were somehow “bad” or implicitly dangerous.
But her colleagues insisted, “You must see for yourself.”
So we did. We spent five months traveling through the Caucasus and Central Asia. An over-arching theme of our journey — and our lives — began to take shape: to share stories of people and places that usually don’t have a voice, with the aim of humanizing faraway places that people might otherwise never hear about or actively disregard. Why? Because stories connect people like no other mechanism. This connection helps dispel stereotypes and fears, and slowly replaces them with curiosity. It shifts the prevailing narrative, displacing the “one story” with the actual story of many — the story of humanity.
We continued to travel in this vein, throughout Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, South America, and the Middle East and Africa. The more we traveled and shared stories, like an impromptu feast at a market in the Republic of Georgia to being welcomed like family in Iran to sharing a meal with a young Bangladeshi woman who wants to be the next Prime Minister, the more people asked: “How did you get those experiences? How do you connect with people in a meaningful way?”
Our experience, we found, was a function of how much we opened ourselves up to others, pushing the boundaries of what was comfortable. As we traveled with respect and an eye to the lives of local people and the challenges of local economies and the environment, doors opened up to us that enriched our experiences and the experiences of the people with whom we interacted. This enabled us to tell richer stories, which in turn allowed us to give back to the places we traveled to by helping others understand them in a different light.
This approach, in turn, helps us all to better understand and continually grow into our place in the world.
1. Follow Your Curiosity
Curiosity can take you to unusual destinations, places others might not think to go. The goal: to see firsthand and form your own conclusions rather than adopting someone else’s story. Traveling to destinations that are misunderstood or avoided brings a personal face, a human face, to places we might otherwise disregard.
If we hadn’t followed our curiosity, we wouldn’t know that countries are not always as we see on the news, nor would we understand the full extent of our capabilities. The best way to understand the world: walk the streets, eat local food, talk with its people. Fear, particularly of other people and places, gets in the way of seeing for ourselves and writing our own narrative.
“…some of the most interesting travelers in all the world. People in the future will be reading the memoirs of Audrey Scott and Daniel Noll for a picture of scarcely visited places of the world in the early 21st century.”
– Arthur Frommer
Video: Our TEDx Talk: What if we go and see for ourselves?
Podcasts, Interviews and Articles
- The Authentic World is Infinite — Daily Travel Podcast
- Interviews with Radio Enso — Part 1 and Part 2
- How Travel is the Classroom: Experiential Learning Through Travel
- An Adventure Manifesto: Adventure is a State of Mind
- How to Travel Outside Your Comfort Zone
- Danger Map of the World: Fear vs. Awareness
- How Travel Beats the Media Fear Machine
- Unconventional Safety Tips: Stay Safe, Stay Open
- Central Asia Travel: A Beginner's Guide
- Bangladesh Travel: A Beginner's Guide
- Our Offbeat Travel Hot List: 8 Destinations You're Not Considering…but Should
- Stories from Iran, Photo Essays
- Stories from Republic of Georgia, Photo Essays
- Stories from Ethiopia, Photo Essays
- Stories from Central Asia, Photo Essays
- Travel to Haiti, Amateur Traveler Podcast
- Travel to Bangladesh, Amateur Traveler Podcast
Our Work Elsewhere:
- At the Edge of Possibility: What's Travel Got to Do with It? – keynote at Providence College
- Travel as a Force for Good: Putting Haiti back on the Travel Map – talk at the UK Destinations Show, London
- In Ethiopia, an adrenaline-filled act of faith, BBC Travel
- Pamir Mountains: Driving One of the World's Most Remote Highway, BBC Travel.
- India's hidden Himalayas of Ladakh, BBC Travel
- Iran's province of surprises, BBC Travel
2. Travel with Respect
The world is a special place; it requires a sense of engagement and stewardship that honors that reality.
With this in mind, we advocate for three levels of respect: respect for people and their cultures, respect for the environment and respect for the local socioeconomic realities that influence them both. But all of this begins with humanity, with people — the most under-represented facet of travel and tourism.
When we travel respectfully, people and communities sense this presence. They open up, and experiences — often unexpected and positive — can unfold. This is what we mean when we speak of the two-way impact of travel. We can positively impact our own experience, and the places we visit depending on how we choose to visit them and how we interact.
In this way, travel is one of the greatest platforms not only for personal growth, but also for positive global change and understanding.
“I love their [Dan's and Audrey's] approach to life – they’re filled with curiosity, adventure and good-will to the people of this world.”
– Sasha Martin, Author, Life from Scratch
- Future of Tourism, Toronto. Panel discussion on “tourism as a force for good” with the CEO of Lonely Planet and sustainable tourism leaders. See our take on these issues in this video.
- Tourism, It's is the People's Business
- 8 Ways Empathy Can Improve Your Travels…and Your Life
- Travel and Your Values: The Power of Deliberate Spending to Give Back
- Should Travelers Give to Children Who Beg? Alternative Responsible Giving Options
- The Good Global Traveler: 17 Actions You Can Take
- Travel with Connection Resource Page
- Tips for Taking Street and Market Photos…Respectfully
- Blue Eyes, Gold Teeth: The Fabled Land of the Svans
- Ladakh: 9 Memories of Deep Himalayan India
- Bangladesh Village Homestay: Becoming One of the Family
- Life Lessons Learned from Jordan's Bedouins
- Masiphumelele Township By Bicycle: Getting Up Close
Our Work Elsewhere:
- The Faces of Tourism and Social Enterprise and Community Impact part of the series “Travel as a Force for Good” for World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC)
- Storytelling for Sustainability Leaders – workshop in Berlin for Sustainable Travel International (STI)
- Telling Your Sustainability Story in Three Acts – keynote at People Planet Peace Conference (P3)
3. Live Deliberately
As in travel, as in life. The big magic trick of travel: take the lessons we’ve learned on the road and plow them back into the way we live life. Just as we might follow our curiosity to see the world, we can apply that same sense into a lifetime of creating experiences back home. The beauty of this is that it fuels the fire for even greater exploration of the world. We know this because we’ve lived it.
It doesn’t stop with one journey of a lifetime. Rather it continues with a lifetime of journeys.
Whether you call it as we do — “regret avoidance” or “deliberate living” — it’s about making choices in your travels and in your life that align with your values. Whether those are spending decisions or choices of time allocation, travel continually re-affirms possibility and potential and the idea that everything is in fact connected.
“Toppling preconceived notions about our big, scary world one step at a time, Dan and Audrey serve as citizen ambassadors to offer a first-hand window to destinations and experiences.”
– Gregory Berg, Life On Purpose Show
Video: WDS Keynote – Life Lessons From a Journey Around the World
Podcasts, Interviews and Articles
- Interview with Chris Guillebeau: Turning Fear into Curiosity
- The Joy of Living Deliberately
- Stuff Junkie or Experience Junkie?
- Climbing Kilmanjaro: Life Lessons from the Top of Africa
- Reflections on Gratitude
- Taking a Creative Sabbatical – interview with CoachRadio.tv
- 10 Ways Travel Helps You Let Go
- Being Present in Travel: 6 Reasons Why, 4 Ways How
- 7 Habits of Highly Effective Travelers
- The Importance of Saying Thank You
- Living Outside Your Comfort Zone
- 9 Steps from Doubt to Doing
- Finding the Good Way: How to Meditate While Trekking at 15,000 Feet
4. Engage in Two-Way Storytelling
Stories are the way we share our discoveries. They are especially powerful because they can motivate others to do similarly — to move from prevailing media narratives that may or may not be accurate to ones that are informed by firsthand experience.
In the earliest days of our travel in places like Laos and Cambodia it occurred to us that we not only had the opportunity to tell a different story about the places we were visiting, but we also had the chance to share with local people a different story — perhaps a more accurate one — about where we were from. We refer to this as two-way storytelling, a recognition that each of us has a story to tell about ourselves and one another.
We all have the ability to change the way we perceive our world and ourselves through story. Travel, particularly a certain kind of engaged travel, provides opportunity to exercise this ability.
“Dan and Audrey are excellent facilitators and storytellers. Not only did they provide amazing support and encouragement, they also provided practical examples from their own personal stories to help push us out of our comfort zones, engage with each other and effectively tell our own very personal stories.”
– Lee-Ann Gibbs, Sisterhood of Survivors, Sasane
- Microfinance Diaries: Seeing is Believing in West Bengal
- The World Does Not End with the Blue Sky: A Clean Cookstove Project in Tanzania
- Midnight Express: Iran to Turkey by Train
- The Scottish Highlands: Tell Me a Story
- An Amazing Scene We Were Forbidden to Record: An Indigenous Easter Celebration in Chiapas, Mexico
- Unspoken Patagonia: A look at the void of indigenous people in the region
We're proud of what we've done and created so far. Our plans for the future growth of the movement of travelers who live by the motto “Driven by Curiosity, Guided by Respect”:
- Books:“You need to write a book.” Our community has asked for this repeatedly; now we’re making good on it. Our first book will unpack the wisdom and experience we’ve gained from our time on the road, as we’ve begun to outline here. While how-to travel guides often focus on the transaction, our book will encapsulate an approach to travel that helps you build a story-filled life.
- Speaking: We are planning a multi-stop, multi-state university speaking tour in the United States to encourage and empower more students to study and travel abroad, with an emphasis on choosing “non-traditional” destinations. We will begin by participating in and co-facilitating a week-long event with global leaders from across the international service and education fields, entitled “Ethical Global Partnerships, Learning, and Service” sponsored by The Leading Change Institute and The Staley School of Leadership Studies at Kansas State University (August 2015).
- Storytelling Consulting for Sustainable Tourism: There are many sustainable and responsible tourism organizations whose ground-breaking work in their communities goes unnoticed. Our goals are two-fold: 1) to help those organizations tell their stories in a compelling way so that they reach travelers with an interest in engaging and giving back to the communities they visit, and 2) to raise traveler awareness regarding how to support local communities through the purchasing choices they make. In addition to our consumer advocacy channels above, we will promote this through our work and writing for QV Global, our consulting and facilitation services entity.