Travis Hellstrom – Advancing Humanity from Mongolia


Advance Humanity has been my dream for many years, since high school actually. During Peace Corps I really discovered my love for writing and found myself doing it all the time. Sometimes those writings turned into blog posts and sometimes into books. Write now I write weekly on and I’ve written two books, the Unofficial Peace Corps Volunteer Handbook and Enough. Both can be downloaded for any price and I hope to continue writing for a long time.

What interests you most about what you’re doing now?

I love meeting new people, exploring ideas, creating things and helping others. Writing combines all of those things and with technology today, I can do it from the eastern steppe of Mongolia which is one of my most isolated places in the world. I feel very lucky and kind of amazed that it’s possible really. Ten years ago, this wouldn’t have been possible. Even five years ago actually.


What’s been your biggest accomplishment? Biggest challenge?

Finishing my service with Peace Corps was an amazing accomplishment, but I would have to say my biggest accomplishment was also my biggest challenge: getting over myself and breaking the only rule I came into the Peace Corps with. I write a lot more about it in Enough if you want to read the long version, but the short version is that I didn’t want to get into a relationship during Peace Corps. I had important goals I wanted to accomplish and so on. But it turns out that meeting my future wife Tunga was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Life can be like that, sneak up on you while you are making other plans.

Who or what inspires you?

My friends and family inspire me, and so do my amazing readers at Advance Humanity. Also people like the Dalai Lama, Brian Johnson and many others who I am profiling on Advance Humanity (including you Marianne!). One of the things that inspires me is the idea that all of us can be Everyday Humanitarians, people who change ourselves and change the world. I believe in that with all my heart and I am dedicating my life to it.

Why is peace sexy to you?  What does “Peace is Sexy” evoke for you?

Peace is like kindness, I think it surrounds us everyday and makes life worth living. As my friend Orly at Life Vest Inside says, kindness keeps the world afloat. When peace is sexy, that means that people want it, know that it’s real and work toward it. It’s not a lofty goal and certainly not an impossible one, it’s right here in front of us. We can live it out and, like my wife Tunga showed me, it’s one of the sexiest things we can possibly do. I fell in love with her because of how she treats people; she is one of the kindest people I have ever met in my life. When I think of Peace is Sexy, I think of her.

What is a simple thing you do to create peace? What is something you do everyday?

Ask everyone’s favorite question, “How can I help you?” And be completely sincere. When people know you are being honest and truly want to help them, amazing things happen. You cannot overestimate the power of that question and the incredible places it can take you.

How would you like Peace is Sexy to make a difference in what you are up to?

I would love to feature Peace is Sexy on Advance Humanity (coming soon!) and keep in contact for the long-haul. I think you are going to do amazing things Marianne and I am very proud to be able to work with you! The more people’s stories we can share, the more excited and inspired people will be to make a difference and change their world for the better.

Where would you like to see your passion go in the next 10 years? 20 years? 100 years?

I would love to see more and more people feel empowered to make a difference. It’s not just something for the Bill Gates-es and Bono-s of the world, all of us can do things that make lives around us better. I see that every single day. I would love to see my passion, Advance Humanity and the idea of Everyday Humanitarians, become so commonplace that everyone, no matter where they are or what they do, can see themselves helping others everyday. Service to others isn’t a job like Peace Corps, it’s a choice each of us make every day.

Is there anything else you want to tell us?

I’m teaching a 6-week online course called Peace Corps 101. Registration fee is on a sliding scale up to $25.

You guys are awesome! Congratulations on starting a new movement and getting the momentum going! I’m very happy to be here with you and excited to see where things go! Thanks Marianne!

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