HELSINKI, Finland – Travis Purn had an itch to travel. The only problem was he had no money. Did he let that stop him? Not so far.
Purn has been to 124 countries, and still has a few he intends to hit.
How does he do it? By overnight mail.
“Overnight mail is guaranteed”, he said. “If something happens and I’m delayed more than a day, for some reason, they return my money. All I need to do is to get myself out of the box. “
Whenever he can, he has someone waiting for him to help him break out of the mailing box.
Believe it or not, the 5’2”, 110 pound Purn is so flexible he’s like a contortionist.
He folds himself in half and almost flat into a reinforced box, and overnight mail’s himself from country to country.
A flight to Japan that would have cost him $1200. wound up costing only $117.
The problem is in getting someone in each country to pack him up, and mail him out once he’s ready to leave.
“You can only deal with people you trust,” Purn says. One time I got this guy who was so drunk, for a joke, he was gonna send me to the wrong country. It’s a good thing I heard him through the box, and started pounding on the sides.”
Purn adds, “the key is to pack extremely light. The service is reliable, and gets me there overnight, but you really can’t bring a lot with you when you’re traveling this way. I just make sure I have enough water, a change of underwear, and maybe a couple of snacks, and I’m good.”
He likens himself to the men who used to cross the country by riding in empty railroad cars. He refuses to refer to them as “bums”, instead thinking of them as “men who knew the value of a dollar.”
“Why spend $1200. bucks when you can get there for $117”, he asks. “Sure it take a few hours longer, but at least I don’t have any crying kids around me, and there’s no guy next to me boring me to death with pictures of his grandkids.