Why I do what I do
Update 2021: New website. Same dream. I have been hard at work behind the scenes recreating myself and my website!!! So, without further ado:
Why did I rebrand myself?
For a long time, I have struggled to make ends meet and, ironically, my life of adventure had turned into years in front of the computer. To boot, as you know, the last year has been extra challenging for us all. For me, I took it as an opportunity to reevaluate where my life is going as compared to where I want it to go. As a result, I’ve been making some big life changes. I doubled and tripled down on my career as an author/artist/adventurer, and so after 22 years of thinking about it, I finally launched this new website.
As part of our new rebrand, I’ve broken my old website into three new websites.
- ScottStoll.com will be about both the outer adventure and the inner journey. My aim is for this website to be inspirational, entertaining and educational.
- Dreamaplay.com is all about teaching children (and adults) how to dream and how to turn those dreams into reality.
- TheArgonauts.com will now be focused on the myth of Jason and the Argonauts.
I view this website as an exploration of the world and an incubator of ideas, and I will be some combination of a Chief Exploration Officer (CEO), jack-of-all-trades, work-in-progress and guinea pig. Essentially, it will be a lot like my journey around the world on a bicycle. On that journey, I was determined to discover the meaning of life and be happy. The journey was full of lots of mistakes and a lot of amazingness. If I am doing it right, I don’t really think my life will ever be much different.
I plan to share my experiences and lessons learned by creating lots of inspirational and educational posts. I imagine as my ideas graduate, they will become books or artwork or games. That’s how my website Dreamaplay, for teachers, parents and children came to be.
I think the key difference to this website is that rather than stand up on a pedestal to tell people how to live their lives, like so many lifestyle blogs do, I invite people to join my journey. Through actual journeys, discussions, or just armchair travels, we can grow together. My end goal is to create a legacy that can outlive me, whether that be this website, my books, or simply my ideas becoming reality and helping to make the world a better place.
Below you can read our new mission statement, which still remains the same in spirit. (I still say “our” because there are so many people helping me behind the scenes.) And further below, you can read about the history of our old website and our original mission statement. I’m proud of what we had accomplished. We were true pioneers in what has become the world of blogging and social media. Most amazingly, my dream to see people share stories of their adventures — in real-time as they happened — did come true. Even if we weren’t the ones to automate the process, I like to think we planted the seeds of this dream in society and helped develop the proof of concept.
As for the future: I’ve never wanted to be in the limelight, so it’s weird to be both the figurehead and my own golden goose, so to speak, but it is time to move forward, and I genuinely believe that the new focus on my adventures and lessons learned will give you insight into your own life. In a way, it will be like continually adding new chapters to my best-selling book, Falling Uphill. I consider my life a work-in-progress and myself as a bit of a guinea pig. So, I like to believe that my stories are honest and refreshing compared to all the other websites offering miracle cures, and all the social media influencers seemingly living perfect lives. For as long as I live, I hope to never have all the answers; instead, I hope to summit each peak of life and find many new adventures lying ahead.
Thanks for sticking with me. And I hope, once again, you enjoy riding alongside me on this adventure we call life.
Please poke around the new website, and let me know what you think.
My vision and mission
My Vision (the why): To expand human consciousness and the realm of what is possible.
Once a close friend asked me why I do what I do, and I was surprised when the above grandiose statement popped out, but it was a heartfelt statement. I have always thought the potential of humanity is unlimited, and I have always felt obligated to make the most of my life. As a result, my life has always been an unintentional experiment, full of adventures and explorations, both in the inner and outer worlds. I view myself as a work-in-progress with the goal to be a better person and make the world a better place. This isn’t a fix-it mentality. I want to learn how to be a better creator of experiences and memories, and I especially want to create more joy. And, I want the world to join me because I believe, together, the possibilities are limitless. That is why my previous vision statement, which still holds true, was: To inspire people to venture into the unknown and turn their dreams into reality.
My Mission (the how): To share both the outer adventure and the inner journey in an inspirational, entertaining and educational manner to support each other in living the best life possible.
Another fundamental principle I’ve come to believe is that everything is an adventure. Furthermore, when I traveled the world, I learned that, though I was a solo traveler, everyone I met was part of my adventure, and vice versa. When I teamed up with other people, not only could I go further and faster, but the journey became more joyful, and life became richer as our perspectives combined to paint a more complete picture of the world.
Sharing the adventure is twofold: One, I invite you to join my adventures and explorations of ideas here. I’m not a perfect person, so I welcome your feedback. Two, I’d love to be a part of your dreams and adventures. Since 1999, we gave dozens of people a chance to share their story before social media, blogs and guest post were invented. So, I invite you to share your story. Visit our Guest Adventures for some inspiration. And, who knows, maybe someday I’ll see you out in the real world.
About Scott’s first website — The Argonauts, Inc.
The original website design
During the California gold rush in 1849, the miners were nicknamed argonauts; and, coincidently during California’s second gold rush, the dotcom boom, The Argonauts Inc. was born in San Francisco exactly 150 years later. In 2009, we celebrated twenty years online, outlasting millions of other websites, and we still rank in the top few percent of billions.
TheArgonauts.com wasn’t just a website; for a while, we were an incorporated organization. We celebrated over 20 years online, outlasting millions of other websites born in the dotcom era. Our website was a blog before blogs existed. We shared stories before sharing was a thing. We innovated new standards. We won a few awards along the way. And, we inspired thousands of people to follow their dreams. The stories they have told us about their courageous leap into a new life have been our greatest reward. And as I mentioned above, my dream to see people share stories of their adventures — in real-time as they happened — did come true. Even if we weren’t the ones to automate the process, I like to think we planted the seeds of this dream in society and helped develop the proof of concept. As the founder, I’m proud of this.
Here is one of our original advertisements. Remember, back then this idea was new! Sharing and social media didn’t exist yet.
Our site has won a handful of awards, such as a Golden Web Award and the Cool Site of the Day. We were even the Barnes & Noble Affiliate of the Month. The reason we won the award back in 2000 is because our website was the first website to introduce the idea of combining a story with the related product link from an affiliate sponsor. Now it sounds so obvious that it is hard to believe, but TheArgonauts.com was a real pioneer on the internet.
But the world changed
I wasn’t expecting it to be easy, but I definitely wasn’t expecting it to keep getting harder. Our original website was all hand-coded, and we’ve had to completely rebuild it four times to slowly bring it up to modern standards. Our small team spent long hours editing guest posts. I spent years generating world-class content through my travels, experiments, blog posts and books. So, there was little time leftover for practical business matters. And, it was a constant and growing challenge to find an audience. As time went on, our brand got diluted. Google now indexes our old website not as a travel-adventure blog but as a mythology website. (The word “argonauts” has several meanings: one being the band of heroes, the other being synonymous with an adventurer.) The competition has grown exponentially over the years as technology improved and the internet opened doors all over the world. The invention of social media has made it easy for everyone to share stories of their adventures. And, blogs have slowly become repurposed to be more informational resources. In short, people no longer needed our website to share their adventures. I still hope to share many guest adventures, but I decided to rebrand theArgonauts.com under my own name. I felt I needed to unify the tone of voice and the quality of our stories. And, for better or worse, I decided to throw my hat over the fence and use myself as the role model, work-in-progress or guinea pig, depending on your point of view and whether I succeed or not. In other words, I decided it would be my new challenge to live the best life possible, and I would hold myself accountable with my own website as witnessed by friends and fans and strangers. And, that I would share my lessons learned in the hopes to help other people live more joyful lives.
So, there you have the short story. Below you can read the original “About” page from theArgonauts.com. I still love it and think it is the same dream in a different form. In fact, I just moved “Our mission” to the top of the page with hardly any changes.
Our original story and mission
If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him… We need not wait to see what others do. ~
PS. This is often misquoted as:
Be the change you want to see in the world.
Scott’s life of adventure began with this question: If I could do anything, what would I do? It may seem like an innocent or obvious question, yet it is perhaps the most awesome (literally meaning frightening and inspiring) question one may ask of themselves. It also planted the seed for this website, which is named for one of the first adventure stories in Western history: Jason and the Argonauts.
This website goes way back to 1999 before the invention of blogging or social media. It was originally created because on Scott’s first trip, bicycling across The United States, being a “crazy bicyclist” put an amazing sparkle of curiosity and wonder into people’s eyes and inspired many people to follow their dreams. Scott realized that everyone he encountered was partaking in his adventure and vice versa: everyone he met were adventurers themselves and a friendly word of encouragement or helping hand gave strangers the hope to continue on their journey. And Scott believes that he could never have accomplished his journey without all the words of kindness in return. So before he embarked on his personal quest for happiness around the world on a bicycle, Scott wondered why should he be the only one to share his adventure, so he founded The Argonauts, Inc.:
An adventure-travel community dedicated to inspiring the human spirit by enabling people to venture into the unknown and sharing their dreams and discoveries with the world in real-time.
100% of profits donated to adventure and exploration.
After my trip around the world on a bicycle, my definition of an adventure had changed. I came to believe everything in life to be an adventure. The challenge was to see it as an adventure and not a problem. So I added:
No matter what you call it — adventure, expedition, the hero’s journey, wanderlust, walkabout, vision quest, coming-of-age ritual, a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, spiritual awakening, enlightenment, the travel bug, voyage into the unknown, self-transcendence — or simply hope — and, no matter whether your adventure is to travel the world, bake cupcakes or sweep streets — this is our exploration of life and the human spirit.
That was our idealistic mission statement when Scott’s first adventure-travel website, theArgonauts.com, came online in 1999. Our vision was to give adventurers a forum to share their hopes and dreams and pass along the boon of their adventures, like new ideas and lessons learned. We were an online adventure magazine before the concept of a webzine, blog, guest post and before social media existed and made it easy to share content. Another goal was to post the stories in real-time. Back then, we could see the Internet was going to revolutionize global communication, but the infrastructure and technology still weren’t in place. In fact, the only way many adventurers had to share their inspirational stories was to email us and have us post their story online. It may not seem like today’s real-time adventures, but we were posting stories that same day — almost as soon as we got the email, letter or phone call. Many people wanted us to automate these features, which would have essentially made our website one of the first social media platforms. TheArgonauts.com was ahead of its time but, unfortunately, we never could find the estimated $50-100,000 to create the features that companies like Facebook and WordPress now make free and easy for everyone.
Still, the founding members of The Argonauts archived an impressive number of stories. And, even with the invention of social media, we still love to share inspiring stories; and it gives all of us a greater reach. So, don’t forget to submit your inspirational story.
Thanks for supporting y/our dreams,
Scott Stoll and the team of volunteers at The Argonauts
PS. Over the years, Scott has received hundreds of letters from people saying that his journeys, books, and website has inspired them to follow their dreams, like: quit their jobs and cycle countries like Cuba, Australia or Canada; or backpack Europe; hike the Inca trail; kayak New Zealand; some people even said they quit traveling because they were inspired to go home to the adventure of building a community, pursue a new career, find a new love, or even building a cabin in the north woods of Wisconsin; and many more testimonials. It has been Scott’s honor and privilege to have gotten so many emails over the years.
TheArgonauts has been showcased a few times. Here’s one of my favorites: 12 Personal Travel Websites That Will Make You Quit Your Day Job.
For more photos and information, please visit our press room.
Visit our Archive of stories before the era of the blog and social media.