Who Am I?

Joris DrayerMy name is Joris Drayer and welcome to ADrayInTheLife! I was born in Holland but moved to the USA when I was just two years old so by most accounts, I’m pretty American. There were a few things that defined my childhood: First, since we left my extended family back in Holland, my parents, my sister, and I were very close. We also moved a lot, never seeming to stay in one state for more than a few years. This made my family even closer since we often only had each other when we moved to a new place. Finally, we traveled a ton! Every summer, we would go back to Holland to visit our relatives and frequently extend the trip by a week or two to go visit some other part of Europe or the rest of the world.

With so much moving and traveling in my youth, I learned to embrace change as an adult. In fact, I would say that it has led me to seek change. After high school, I continued the pattern of moving regularly (though the traveling slowed down for a few years as a broke student). I went to college in Santa Barbara (CA), randomly moved to Las Vegas for a year, went to grad school in San Francisco, got my PhD in Colorado, took my first academic job in Memphis, and ended up moving to Philly to take a job at Temple University. However, in a weird twist of fate, I landed a job that I love and for the first time in my life, I feel like I have some stability… though I still have a desire to experience the unfamiliar.

How Did My Nomadic Childhood Affect Me?

I think everyone can probably identify some characteristics that define them and if you dig deep enough, you can probably figure out where those defining characteristics came from. For me, experiencing so much of the US and the rest of the world, I’m someone who has an overdeveloped need to understand the world around me and to solve things that I don’t understand. This intense pursuit of solving problems and mastering systems manifests itself in a few different ways.

  • I started my professional career working in baseball for the Oakland A’s, including two years working in baseball operations with the guys from Moneyball. I loved the idea of using research to predict player performance and to find value where no one else did. Now, I’m a professor of sport marketing who still enjoys doing research, mostly to understand the crazy decisions sports fans make.
  • In addition to my academic work, I always have some side hobby that involves doing a bunch of research to understand a problem and developing my problem-solving strategy. I’ve tried online poker, stock market day trading, ticket reselling, daily fantasy sports, the list goes on and on… however, the most recent hobby has been maximizing travel points.
  • I LOVE to travel! I’m forever indebted to my parents for creating a sense of curiosity and wanderlust that has stuck with me over the years. Traveling is my way of getting away from the day-to-day grind but it’s also a way to keep my mind working to understand the unfamiliar.

Why Write ADrayInTheLife?

I’ve learned over the years that there is a fantastic community of travelers sharing their stories on the internet. There are some amazing travel blogs out there that feature stunning photography, hotel and restaurant reviews, travel deals, and others useful information and insights. However, the most enriching part of travel for me is that it forces me out of my comfort zone and into a world that I don’t understand… and those thoughts and experiences are what I want ADrayInTheLife to be about. So I’ve broken down this blog into four sections.

“Dray Dreaming” – This section will feature my reflections from the road, a little insight into where my mind wanders while my body does the same.

“Travel Tricks” – As I travel more and more and become obsessed with credit cards and loyalty programs, I have learned a few tricks to make travel a little more affordable. I’ll be sharing a few of these insights in this section.

“Dray Drinking” – The best place to get an honest answer about the experience of being in a new place is often at a café, bar, or restaurant. Plus, I’m a bit of a foodie so I like trying new places to eat and drink.

“Beats By Dray” – Our travel experiences typically have a soundtrack. On my homepage, I’ll post the songs that are in my regular rotation at the moment.

I hope you like it all… or at least some of it. One of my other big motivations for writing this blog is to promote thoughtful discussion and to connect with other wanderers and wonderers. So please connect with me via any of the following platforms. I’d love to hear your thoughts too!

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