Travis Steinemann (BSBA ’13)

When Fisher alumnus Travis Steinemann (BSBA ’13) set sail around the world with his father, he embarked on personal quest for meaning. He credits Fisher for giving him the courage to see the world, explore his passions and discover a new career path forward.

Travis Steinemann and his father
Steinemann with his dad.

While working at his insurance sales job, Travis Steinemann was asked a question by his father.  

“Do you want to do this for the rest of your life?”

In that life-changing moment, Steinemann realized that the answer was no.

“I need to do something I am passionate about,” he told his father.

“I kept thinking about my Fisher classmates in the 15th Honors Cohort,” he said. “I had three or four classmates who had quit their first jobs to do something they were more passionate about. One went to Nicaragua to build houses. Another chose to become a chef. They shared this mindset that whatever happened would work out. That made me think that I could too.’”

Steinemann was not sure what his next career step would be, but he had always dreamed about sailing around the world. He had always expected to take such a voyage when he retired. But his father was retiring and they could sail around the world together. There was no time better than now to share such a unique experience with his dad.

Steinemann decided then and there to take the leap and just jump in. He put in his two weeks’ notice, and Googled what skills he might need on the voyage. He signed up for a class on safety training, firefighting and sea survival. He leveraged his sales skills to offer a hand to yachts in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He spent the next two years sailing to Mallorca, the Bahamas, Costa Rica and Thailand, conducting trainings, maintaining equipment and saving money.

In March 2018, Steinemann and his father embarked on their journey. They rotated steering duties every five hours. Steinemann’s mother had read numerous books prior to their departure, mapping out their itinerary on an elaborate spreadsheet, as it was crucial to follow the seas and stay ahead of the cyclone seasons. They did have one close call as they sailed from Niue to Tonga in the South Pacific Ocean.

“The forecast said we would get 5 knots of wind. It started out like that,” Steinemann said. “I was cleaning a mahi-mahi, and the wind picked up real fast. We were soon sailing in 56-knot wind.”

For comparison, hurricanes winds hover around 64 knots.

“This massive wave knocked the boat down, and our mast almost touched the water,” he said.

Travis Steinemann on a volcano

Fortunately, the Steinemanns were able reach Réunion Island, Steinemann’s favorite destination. The volcanic island is a French colony east of Madagascar. Locals and tourists are often found canyoning, rock climbing, paragliding and mountain biking.

Vanuatu, an island to the west of Fiji, was memorable as well.

“We ended up staying with people we met on the side of the road and attended Vanuatu’s Independence Day festivities with them,” he added. “There are amazing people all over the world.”

While these activities would be the highlight for most, Steinemann also focused on personal development. When he was not steering the boat, he spent much of his time reading, listening to podcasts and blogging about his personal journey.

“This was such a unique opportunity to grow,” he said. “You feel small once you see a lot.”

During his travels, Steinemann discovered that real estate was the career path forward for him. Hours of learning while sailing piqued his interest in the industry. He began educating himself, devising strategies and planning for a career in the field.

Steinemann credits Fisher and the Honors Cohort program for giving him the courage to see the world and explore his passions.

“The people are what meant the most to me about that program,” he said. “I have come across so many people that are unhappy but do not do anything about it. Without Cohort, I would not have witnessed the power of just jumping in.”

He now advises others to ask themselves what they would do if they were retired.

“What steps can you take to do that now,” he asks. “How might you make money doing that? From there, doors can open.”