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North Rockland Grads Choose Adventure, Experience After Graduation

Connor Callanan and Connor Mallon, 2010 graduates of North Rockland HIgh School, have been traveling since they graduated from college in May of 2014. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Connor Callanan
Connor Callanan, a graduate of North Rockland High School, enjoys the view of a snow-capped mountain at Moraine Lake in Oregon. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Connor Callanan
Connor Callanan and Connor Mallon enjoy a unique view during a stop on their travels. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Connor Callanan
Connor Callanan and Connor Mallon created a new look during a visit to Mount Rushmore. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Connor Callanan
Connor Callanan and Connor Mallon travel by van on their journey. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Connor Callanan
  • Who : Conor Mallon and Connor Callanan, graduates of North Rockland High
  • What : Traveling the world since graduating college in 2014
  • Catching up: On Instagram at

NORTH ROCKLAND, N.Y. -- At their next reunion, graduates of the North Rockland High School Class of 2010 might ask each other “Where in the world are Connor Mallon and Connor Callanan?”

Good question, because even both young men don’t know at this point. The pair set out to journey in May of 2014 after graduating from the University of Albany and haven’t stopped. There is no end in sight. The best way to catch up with their travels is through Instagram , where they post frequent updates on their travels.

“At first there wasn’t much of a plan,’’ Callanan wrote in an email. “We always thought of traveling as continued education, and knew those first months out of college were crucial. If we stayed home and took on a career, we would have always wondered what if. We were tired of wondering what if. The desire to experience was strong, and that was all we needed.”

Callanan and Mallon are piecing the trip together, financially and logistically, as they go. They subsidize it with seasonal gigs. “The past few years we drove taxis on Martha’s Vineyard during the summer and served at a restaurant in Vail throughout the winner,’’ Mallon wrote. “These jobs allow us to hustle hard for a few months and then travel between the seasons.” They also receive donations from followers and backing from a few companies.

“Expenses add up fast,” Callanan said. “Camera gear, travel equipment, phone bills, student loans, health insurance. The key for us is saving our money and traveling smart. We do our best to spend money on experiences rather than things, and we’ve developed strategies that allow us to travel for super cheap.”

Callanan said they’ve stayed at campgrounds, homes of friends and have been taken in by strangers. They also sleep in a van and have spent “countless hours under the stars in our hammock,’’ according to Patrick. They cook their own food on a portable grill and stock up with non-perishables. “Peanut butter is a staple in our diet,’’ Mallon said. “A home-cooked meal from a lovely host is something we always look forward to.”

Excursions have taken Mallon and Callanan all over. They recently spent a week in the Grand Canyon at Havasupai Falls in Arizona. They spent five months hitchhiking from Cape Town in South Africa to Nairobi in Kenya. They also spent a month on the Cape Verde Islands in Africa. “The culture differences from Africa are imprinted in our brain. Never have we learned so much from having so little. It was the trip that really inspired us to start telling stories,’’ Callanan said.

They recently concluded a trip to Alaska. “The remoteness and beauty of the place was incredible,’’ Mallon wrote. “We flew in a single engine airplane and landed on a glacier just under the peak of Mt. Denali. That was a super unique experience. Canada itself is just stunning. The icefields highway through Jasper and Banff National Park is possibly the most amazing drive we’ve ever done. In the past year we’ve driven almost 30,000 miles around North America, we have found beauty in almost all of it.”

Callanan said the biggest surprise has been the people they’ve met. “The nicest, strangest, most interesting people present themselves along our journey. You see how different everyone lives around the world, and that it’s possible to live different from the ways you’ve always imagined,’’ he said.

They have also learned something about themselves. They have pushed themselves beyond their limits, physically and mentally. “Through constant trial and error we have become confident in ourselves. We have become comfortable making mistakes. We have learned that we are capable of taking on new tasks and learning new things. Most importantly we have learned how little we know,'' Mallon said.

The men are unsure when it will end, perhaps never. They are acquiring skills in photography, film making, social media and more. “Our goal was to tell stories that would inspire people to explore outside their comfort zones,’’ Callanan said. “It has been wild watching our thoughts come to life.”

The plan is still loose, evolving as they go and figuring things out on a daily basis. “The plan is to get better equipment, and further develop our editing skills,’’ Mallon said. “We are constantly aiming to tell a story that positively impacts people. Finding ways to travel and plan trips is always a top priority. Its looking like Asia this spring!”

To follow the men on their journey, click here to see their pictures on Instagram.

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