Joe Geoghegan and Noah Horowitz in Ushuaia | Courtesy of

About a year ago, Insider reported on the high school classmates Joe Geoghegan and Noah Horowitz, who were embarking on an epic six-month journey on land from Louisville to Antarctica (they hoped) in a Geoghegan’s 2002 Dodge Intrepid painted to look like a shark.

At the IdeaFestival on Wednesday, Geoghegan, former senior manager of public policy and planning with GLI, shared some field notes about the experience, which — spoiler alert — did not end up in Antarctica. (It had a little something to do with an exorbitant sum of money needed to board a ship.)

Even so, the two travelers came away from their car, bus and boat trip through Central and South America profoundly changed, according to Geoghegan, who highly recommended any type of travel or interaction with people from places outside the U.S.

Usually, he said, when he encounters someone as a traveler: “I’m the first person from Kentucky that person has met. It’s good to foster a culture of international engagement. A lot of people are already trying to do that here.”

While the IdeaFest often attracts extremely educated people, he added: “I’m extremely average, anybody in this room can do what I do. I hope people choose to engage. It’s about choosing and consciously expanding how you engage with the world.”

Taking his own advice, Geoghegan is living in Australia via the Working Holiday Visa program, picking up a minimum wage job in retail at $25 an hour and doing construction work in the trades, as it’s called, he said, for $50 an hour. Australia’s more expensive than the U.S., he pointed out, but the wages are much higher.

From Australia, he will journey to China next year where he plans to teach. Eventually, though, he said in answer to a question, he’d love to find his way back home to Louisville. “I might be inclined to come help the presidential campaign efforts” of the next president. “Louisville is my home, I do want to bring it back here.”

Back to the field notes, when it comes to packing for travel, he advises to “take as little as you can.” Oh, and if you pack a knife, make sure it’s no bigger than a four-inch camping knife.

Here’s why. Outside of Mexico City, the two were stopped by two police cars, Geoghegan explained. Officers found the camping knife. “It looks like you’ve been arms’ trafficking,” one said in Spanish.

“He pulls out the Book of Laws and that’s how you knew, ‘We’re going to have to pay for this,'” Geoghegan said. They forked over $50 and got out of there.