Meet An International Vagabond Who Went From His Mom’s Couch To Traveling First Class In One Year

At a certain point, enough is enough. The corporate wheel is grinding away and you’re running the risk of getting shredded. It’s time to throw in the towel and storm out of your office.You’ve heard so much about how traveling the world is attainable, affordable, and healthy for you, but you still haven’t taken the leap. When do you know you’ve saved up enough? When do you just risk it? Sure, you need an income, but there’s living to do. There’s a world out there that needs seeing and a four-walled cubicle isn’t cutting it. Something’s gotta give.

We’ve interviewed a fascinating crew of folks for our new series The Mad Ones, with plenty more on the way, but I don’t think any of them would understand that “gotta make a change” situation better than Jubril Agoro. The man went from making $240 a week and living on his mom’s couch to traveling the world first-class. Agoro is an online marketing entrepreneur — specifically focused on Facebook advertising and Pay Per Click targeted ads — and listening to him will help you realize that it’s possible to flip the script. The status quo doesn’t have to exist and ditching the daily grind doesn’t necessarily mean the money has to stop coming in.

The walls might feel like they’re closing in. The monotony of the day in, day out might seem inescapable. That’s why you need someone like Jubril to show you a different way. Check out what the world traveler has to say in this week’s The Mad Ones:

What inspired you to explore?

I first started traveling for business conferences. But the inspiration to continue exploring came from my desire to enlighten the world about countries that are misunderstood/misrepresented, or countries that people might not have an idea exist in the world.

For example, I’m currently in Medellin, Colombia. I’ll be living here for six months total, shooting some travel videos. When you speak of Medellin, most people think of drugs, cartels, Pablo, and that it’s just dangerous in general. But in reality, it’s one of the most innovative cities I have ever been in. Wall Street Journal actually voted it as the most innovative city in the world.

Did you ever have a mentor who inspired you?

Mentors have been huge in my life. I would say my father was a huge influence to me. But also books. I don’t need to know the author personally to consider them a mentor, I just read a lot of personal development books.

How did you get involved in pay-per-click marketing and what helped you be so successful with it?

It was just a natural transition from selling candy at school to all the kids. It’s all about supply and demand. I was just giving the kids what they wanted. I soon realized that through the internet, there was a huge supply of people I could reach with pay-per-click marketing.

The way I got so good at it was basically by falling on my face more times than I can count! Also by testing different things. There was a lot of trial and error. Doing Google PPC, I lost $800 on my first day! Now if I earned $800 it would be a bad day.

Let me break down what PPC marketing is. Though there are different types, including search PPC and display PPC, my experience is more focused in search PPC.

In 2008 when Obama became president there were a lot of opportunities for people with their eyes open. I was living in Chicago at the time of his inauguration and a major local newspaper, The Chicago Sun Times, ran his photo on their front cover. At this point Oprah was still on TV and featured the paper saying something to the tune of “This is the best newspaper out, this will go down in history”.

Being the hustler that I am and understanding world trends for supply and demand, I went to a gas station and bought 20 copies of the Chicago Sun Times with Obama on the cover at $.50 each. When I got home I put up a very simple website with a picture of the newspaper saying, “Own piece of history for $14.99 with $4.00 shipping”. Then I put up the PPC ad on google. I sold out within an hour. Seeing the success, I went back and brought a hundred more. I sold 80 or so over the next 24 hours. After watching Oprah’s show and hearing here rave about The Chicago Sun Newspaper with Obama on the cover, people began to search on google using terms such as; “ Obama newspaper on Oprah”, “Inauguration Obama newspaper on Oprah”, or just simply “Obama Chicago Sun Times Inauguration newspaper”. 49 states in America didn’t have access to The Chicago Sun Times and knowing that Americans love to collect things, it made sense this paper would be highly sought after.

I paid Google $ .10 a click and it took roughly about 8 clicks to make the sale. It broke down to a cost of something like $.50 per newspaper, $4 to ship each one, and an average of about $.80 to advertise one purchased newspaper. If people ordered more than one newspaper flat rate, then I was making about $14 a newspaper. In total I sold around 100 copies making myself roughly $1400 thanks to Obama, Oprah, and Google. I have evolved a bit since then. I now run PPC campaigns for some of the biggest brands online. I learned how to do things myself first and then branched out. While I knew slanging candy at school was cool in my local market, worldwide markets appealed much more. I always knew being a consumer was never going to make me rich. I do my best to think outside the box. Opportunities are always around if we “Stay woke”.

You’ve talked in a few of your videos about what it’s like to travel as a person of color. Do you have any advice on that topic?

I’ve learned that people are more curious than offensive. When you go places, if you lead with a smile, more than likely you’ll be fine and you can end up developing relationships you would not have otherwise.

Most of the time, people are just uneducated. They see these things on TV and movies so they have this preconceived idea about you. This is your chance to educate them. When I was in Thailand traveling through small villages, the locals would come up to me and stare at me. Some would even rub my skin to see if the color would come off. They had literally never seen a black person in their life. Thailand was actually where I got my nickname ‘Chocolate Man’. The locals would yell it out to me.

Overall, for the last seven years I’ve had a great time. Just be friendly. You might meet an ignorant person or two, but don’t let that hold you back. You get that anywhere you go, even your own country.

What are some misconceptions about travel?

That there’s a “right” way to do it. People will try sell you on the fact that their way is the best way. People will even make you feel guilty for seeing the tourist spots, or say that “real” travelers only have a backpack or a carry-on and not a whole suitcase. Find your own groove. Over time you will evolve as a traveler.

My first trip was to a resort in Cancun, Mexico. I found it eye opening. Now I prefer to spend multiple months in one country. You don’t get to that stage overnight… Just enjoy the journey, no matter which way you do it.

If you could tell people one thing to inspire them to get out there, what would it be?

You don’t wanna look back on your life and say “I wish I would have traveled earlier.” The older you get, the harder it is. So many people wait to take that one trip… Always telling themselves “one day.” But what if  you don’t get that chance to take your dream trip. What if you get cancer or something happens? In this day and age, traveling is easier than it’s ever been before.  It’s cheaper, more accessible, and theres so many resources out there for you.

How can people learn more about what you do and get involved themselves?

The main thing I’m working on right now is a project called PassportHeavy. We film short documentaries and videos to help educate people on countries that they might not have ever thought to visit, such as Panama, Thailand and Colombia. We provide travel guides and a community for like-minded travelers, as well as a blog. We are launching the PassportHeavy site soon so head to to check it out!

Do you need to be a millionaire to travel? How do you recommend doing it on a budget?

No! (But it sure makes its easier.) There’s plenty of travel booking sites to help cut the costs, as well as there being many countries where you can have a great time for cheap. For example, you could go to Thailand for two weeks and live like an absolute boss for less than $1,500/month. They have 5-star, 56-floor high rises, and kill it when it comes to luxury. Living that life in a city like New York would cost around $15,000. It’s all about where you go.

For me, I hate penny pinching when I travel. That’s why I choose places where my money goes further, like in South East Asia, Indonesia, and South America; but in the highly developed cities. If you want to keep the budget low, hostels are a great choice, especially if you’re young. I personally don’t do really grungy hostels. South East Asia has some awesome hostels for cheap. The best conversations I’ve had while traveling have actually come from hostels. They’re always a great choice for meeting people.

Where do you call home?

Chicago and London are where my families are; so that’s where my heart is. But for me, home is wherever I am at the time. Right now home is Medellin, Colombia!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten recently?

I would say the best piece of advice I’ve gotten recently is to take advantage of your youth. Use it to your maximum ability. I’ve heard this from a few people in the past, but recently Gary Vaynerchuk mentioned it in a video I was watching and I would have to agree with him.

The Mad Ones is a reference to a famous quote from Jack Kerouac’s On the Road: “…the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’”

Watch this series for interviews and profiles with people doing big, wild, bold, creative things with their lives. #TheMadOnes