Tripping with The Thorough Tripper


Steven Jepson – tripping in Costa Rica

Thanks for checking out my blog! My name is Steven Jepson and I’m a retired physician who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. Travel has always been my passion. Despite what was a busy professional career, I made it a point to see as much of the world as I could. And now that I’m retired, I plan on seeing even more of it!

So, a doctor…..  That means 5 star resorts then, right?  Nope! I’m a frugal doctor. Especially now that I’m retired! Don’t get me wrong. I like nice things. I like to stay in nice places. I like great food.  But…I don’t like to waste money. So I travel practically. I put together itineraries for me and my wife that include mid-range accommodations – usually rental apartments or smaller hotels; include a wide range of dining experiences ranging from hole-in-the-wall joints to finer dining (I will splurge on at least a couple of expensive meals each trip, though I work hard in my planning to try and assure that every meal is a great experience for us); and include experiencing the top sights and some of the top activities in each area.

My style of travel is not only practical, it’s also experiential.   I’ve never been on a cruise. It’s too hard to get to the soul of a place if you are only spending a day in port while doing most of your eating and sleeping on a floating resort.  I won’t stay at all-inclusive resorts. It’s too hard to get to the soul of a place if you are dependant on the hotel for your daytrips & activities while deciding between one of the resort’s 5 “gourmet” restaurants for all your meals

You see, I want to get to the soul of a place.  I want to experience a destination. The late great Anthony Bourdain influenced my travel philosophy more than anyone. I want to live like a local – as much as a tourist can – so I generally stay in apartments or small hotels located in less-touristy areas. I want to eat a wide sampling of local cuisine (though unlike Tony, I won’t eat the “nasty bits.”)  I want to use local transportation – the subways, the trains, the buses. I will rent a car if exploring a country or countries. I will see the famous sights too, but seeing those sights is secondary to just experiencing “the place”.

My style of travel also reflects my OCD doctor tendencies.  I’m a relentless travel researcher, just like I was a relentless student, test-taker, and medical practitioner.  We all know that the internet is a blessing and a curse. So much travel information out there to help guide us towards the perfect trip – a blessing.  So much travel information out there to help guide us towards the perfect trip – definitely a curse for the OCD traveler. I can’t help but take advantage of my OCD tendencies and use all the information available to thoroughly research every trip we take. It usually drives me a little crazy, but I can’t not do it. 

I will spend hours trying to find the perfect rental apartment on AirBNB or VRBO. I don’t want to just settle for one if I haven’t checked out everything that is available. And so I basically will check out everything that is available, even if it takes me days to settle on a place to stay – and it usually does. I will scour TripAdvisor, travel blogs, and Open Table looking for the best eating experiences, and then check out each restaurant’s websites and menus too, just to be sure.  I will study Google Maps and explore the best routes and public transportation options ahead of time. When we go on a trip, we are ready! It doesn’t mean that we have an hour-by-hour, or even strict day-by-day itinerary. We still go with the flow and make adjustments based on our moods, levels of jet-lag, and on-the-spot discoveries. Travel is still full of surprises – that’s part of its pleasure. But the point is, I have thoroughly studied every controllable angle of each trip to minimize the unwanted surprises.

When I am lost in concentration over my iPad, pouring over travel site after travel site, thoroughly preparing for the next trip, my wife calls it “tripping”.  I am indeed a Thorough Tripper. I now want to share with you some of the Itineraries, Tips, and Experiences that resulted from my thorough tripping. I do like to take pictures when we travel. I’m far from professional in that regard, and just use my iPhone, but I think I have a good eye, and all pictures on this blog are mine. The header was taken from our VRBO rental in Motovun, Croatia.

I have talked to so many people over the years who want to travel like I do, but don’t know how.  So instead, they keep going to the same place every year. There is a whole world out there waiting to be experienced. If I, through my travel research, can make it a little easier for some of you to step outside of your comfort zone and try some new travel experiences, then cool!