No Barriers

The Power of Travel: Talking with the Founders of AFAR Media, Greg Sullivan and Joe Diaz

Episode Summary

This episode focuses on the power of travel as one of the best forms of education with our guests, the two founders of AFAR Media, Greg Sullivan and Joe Diaz. AFAR Media is a premier media company serving the world’s best travelers. AFAR’s website at offers daily travel news, inspiration and guides to destinations throughout the globe. AFAR’s mission is to inspire, guide and enable deeper, richer and more fulfilling travel experiences. AFAR also has America’s most critically acclaimed travel magazine. When Greg and Joe launched AFAR in 2009, they joined forces with No Barriers Youth to also launch Learning AFAR, which provides travel experiences to high school students from low-income families. Over 1,500 students have been given life-changing experiences through this joint program. “Learning AFAR runs to the core of everything we do at AFAR,” says Diaz.

Episode Notes

Dave and Erik interviewed No Barriers supporters, business leaders, and co-founders of AFAR Media, Joe Diaz and Greg Sullivan for this episode’s podcast.  AFAR Media is a critically acclaimed, multi-platform media company. Founded by Diaz and co-founder Greg Sullivan in 2009, AFAR inspires, guides, and enables the world’s best travelers to have deeper, richer, and more fulfilling experiences. AFAR’s innovative and award-winning platforms include AFAR Magazine,, AFAR Experiences, AFAR in Residence, and AFAR Conversations. Ten years ago, when they launched AFAR Media, they also joined forces with No Barriers Youth to also launch Learning AFAR, which provides travel experiences to high school students from low income families. Over 1,500 students have been given life changing experiences through this joint program. 

Greg started his career as a corporate securities attorney and later an investment banker before launching a series of successful entrepreneurial ventures, including the world’s largest selling coin-operated basketball game manufacturer and the second largest used car sales and finance company in the USA. He currently also serves on the board of directors of Carvana, the leading online car retailer. For Joe Diaz: in addition to his daily responsibilities at AFAR, Joe is an accomplished speaker and frequently lends his expertise on a variety of topics, including travel trends, startups, brands, entrepreneurship, innovation through digital media, and more.

Starting with a pivotal trip to India in 2009, Joe and Greg were quickly inspired to share their love of travel with the world. They see travel as not just glamorous or escapism but as a way to instead seek and discover meaning, purpose, and connection in their lives. 

They realized that there was a lack of resources for global travelers that explored the transformative power of travel. They wanted to start a magazine and literally went on amazon to order books on how to begin that process. Joe and Greg discuss these humble beginnings as well as what “transformative and experiential travel” means to them:

“It starts with a mindset, that travel isn’t something you do two weeks out of the year but an approach you take to life. That you’re curious about the world and want to really get off the tour bus and sit at the kitchen table. It’s a spirit - everytime you walk out your front door you take it with you.” - Joe

They offer planning tips to get out in the world in more meaningful ways and how to take advantage of the resources and mission driven organizations that are out there to assist. It doesn’t always mean following an itinerary - you can volunteer or “spin the globe.” 

Greg and Joe speak to the value of guides and trip builders who help craft experiences for clients to get the most impact. 

“What does ‘been to’ mean? How many kitchen tables have you set at? Take part in experiential and deep-dive travel.” - Greg

Our guests discuss how to be open and curious during your day to day. How to start conversations with the people you encounter in your everyday experiences like commuting and grabbing coffee. 

With the No Barriers program, Learning AFAR, Greg and Joe wanted to expand these amazing opportunities to people that don’t have the financial means. Not everyone has access or funds to hop on a plane and get to another continent. Providing programs that allow underprivileged kids to experience different cultures and languages gives them a new perspective on life. And the most rewarding part is that they return wanting to do more for others.

“How do you put a value on that??” - Greg

“And now they can pay that forward.” - Joe

Joe did a TEDx Talk where he talks about this: After years of traveling, Joe found that the most dangerous worldview is that of those who have never viewed the world. The more we travel, the more we learn and the less we fear our world. We can help people to fear less.

Ultimately it is invaluable to know your neighbors and treat our planet with care and that is the message that Greg and Joe are sharing with others with their travel company and No Barriers programming. 

AFAR Media

No Barriers Learning AFAR program

Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter: @AFARmedia

Joe’s Ted Talk