Vince Decker is living the dream.
The 51-year-old real estate broker and Madison Park resident is able to spend about a month each year traveling to exotic locales, meeting locals and writing about the experience.
Decker’s passion for traveling to less-touristy locations stems from his childhood, when his father, a college professor, would take the family on trips to less-known spots around the world.
Decker returned in January from a trip to Mozambique, a vibrant, relatively-unknown-to-Americans country in southern Africa.
“When tourists go there, they tend to stay near the coast near the border with South Africa,” he said. “I headed north, and saw very few other travelers there.”
Mozambique had a long history of Portuguese colonial rule (from 1498 to independence in 1975). It’s also famous for a bloody civil war in the wake of independence, leading to an ongoing land mine problem throughout the country and a reputation in the west for danger (the flag of Mozambique famously features a prominently displayed AK-47 assault rifle).
Decker said he purposely travels to countries which have a reputation as unsafe or unstable. He hopes he can prove some of those conceptions wrong.
“I like to go to places that were troubled but have emerged from those troubles,” he said.
Past trips include Somaliland, Ethiopia, Nepal, Bangladesh and other regions which tourists tend to shy away from.
“Everybody has their own adventure,” Decker said. “I want to motivate people to do something a little different. You don’t have to travel to world to try new things.”
Vince Decker will begin writing a travel column for the Madison Park Times in March.