Mike Ragsdale is an explorer and entrepreneur. He loves his wife Angela and their four children. Mike’s goal in life is simple:
BE HAPPY, and inspire happiness in others.
So far, Mike and Angela have visited 50 countries, including such places as Myanmar, Indonesia, Hungary, China, Moldova, Dominican Republic, Morocco, Cambodia, Slovenia, Russia, Croatia, India, Ecuador, Laos, Poland, Bosnia, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey, Costa Rica, Romania, Vietnam, Guatemala and many others.
Mike was an Internet pioneer, helping create the concept of user-generated content before the World Wide Web existed. With two of his best friends, he co-founded AOL’s most successful online communities, including Hecklers Online (AOL’s #1 Humor Site), Antagonist Games Network (AOL’s #1 Video Games Community) and Zealot (AOL’s #1 Sci-Fi and Fantasy Community).
Mike once worked as a cashier in Yellowstone National Park, and has also served as Senior Vice President of a 400-employee healthcare technology company. He’s turned a simple idea on a piece of paper into a multi-million dollar company with 70 employees.
Mike’s ridden a horse-drawn carriage through Prague on a snowy Christmas night, on the back of a motorcycle through the narrow alleys of Marrakech, and he’s struggled to hold a rusty taxi door shut in Yangoon, for fear of his family being slung from it. He and Angela “canyoneered” down trenches, caves and waterfalls in the Philippines.
He’s stood with his kids in an ancient brothel in Pompeii, trying to ignore the uncomfortably accurate “how to” diagrams on the walls. He’s taken Hungarian cooking lessons in Budapest, and battled an Australian paintball team with his son in Bali. Mike’s spent the night on a tiny island in the South Pacific where walking, bicycles and ponies are the only means of transportation, by law. He ate a scorpion in Cambodia (not recommended).
Mike has toasted locals during Munich’s Oktoberfest, and he’s stood on Bosnia’s bullet-ridden Mostar Bridge. He’s ridden camels through India’s Khuri Desert, and attended Mass with the Vienna Boys Choir. He’s fired AK-47s, MP-9s, M-24s, MP-5s and other exotic weaponry with his son at a paramilitary camp near Mělník, Czech Republic… and was later detained by Indian authorities after accidentally leaving empty ammo cartridges in his son’s backpack.
Mike partied with Hugh Hefner at the Playboy Mansion on several occasions. He’s seen two different Popes at the Vatican, and enjoyed one of Frank Sinatra’s final performances in a Las Vegas nightclub. He interviewed Milton Berle and Henny Youngman shortly before their deaths, enjoyed lunch with Brandon Tartikoff before his untimely passing, and once had dinner with Christy Hefner (she survived).
Mike visited Auschwitz, swam with sea turtles in the Gili islands, and explored Karni Mata, also known as the Temple of the Rat (through which tens of thousands of rodents run freely).
He delivered a stand-up routine to an unimpressed audience at Los Angeles’ famous Comedy Store, and Business Week magazine once pondered if Mike was “The New Seinfeld?”
Mike’s traveled by boat through remote Costa Rican jungles, and celebrated a birthday on the banks of the Ayeyarwaddy River, deep in Burma’s mysterious interior. Mike’s been to Transnistria, a country that technically doesn’t exist. He drank water from a well at the Blessed Virgin Mary’s final residence, and he’s partied with drag queens in Bali.
Mike has written two full-length screenplays, and a graphic novel entitled Holier Than Thou. He once co-starred in a bizarre series of Hallmark Greeting cards. About 50 cards were sold in total; almost all to Mike’s mother. Mike once bought a restaurant, which he very successfully ran out of business. He later completely ran a fitness club out of business.
Mike created Digital Graffiti (video), the world’s first projection art festival, and served for three years as the “Town Evangelist” for Alys Beach, Florida. He’s slept in a cave in Cappadocia, Turkey (albeit a very nice one), and he and his wife celebrated Chinese New Year in Kuala Lumpur with a bunch of hookers (just drinks, mind you). Mike was doused with foam and other unspeakable fluids during Carnival celebrations in Ecuador.
Mike stood on a stage in Ephesus where St. John and St. Paul once delivered sermons, and engaged in aerial (kite) combat atop the Tordi Palace in India, as guests of the 17th generation of royalty to live there. He once narrowly dodged a shooting spree on top of the Empire State Building, and his family had to be evacuated from their home during a riot at Bali’s infamous Kerobokan Prison. He has sailed with friends to various remote islands in the Caribbean and kayaked through caves on Vietnam’s Halong Bay.
Mike’s walked along the Great Wall of China, bathed elephants in the jungles of northern Thailand and drank cat poop coffee in the mountains of Indonesia. (It was pretty tasty, as far as poop goes.) His family were the guests of honor at a wedding in a tiny village in Rajasthan.
Mike drives “Truman” – a 1986 British Ministry of Defense Land Rover that he restored and brought to the U.S.
Mike earned a Masters Degree from The University of Alabama in Advertising and Public Relations, and he’s hosted his own weekly radio show. He once made presentations to rooms full of Japanese investors in Osaka and Tokyo, none of which had any clue as what he was babbling on about. Mike and Angela quite literally licked their plates clean at Gaggan, recognized as the #1 restaurant in Asia and #7 in the world. He’s toasted with friends at the legendary Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Hong Kong.
Mike and Angela once took their children on a 9-month around-the-world adventure. He once spent a week on Necker Island with Sir Richard Branson and a handful of entrepreneurs and thought leaders determined to create a positive impact on our planet.
Mike is an Eagle Scout, and was honored with the Van Ness Butler Jr. Award, a distinction to recognize his contributions to his local community. In 2014, his family’s home was destroyed during a flood. They rebuilt a new home on the same property.
Mike is founder of 30A®, a lifestyle brand for everyone who loves the beach. The company shares environmentally friendly products and stories that celebrate small-town coastal values. With millions of fans, 30A has global appeal and distribution across 300 retail stores nationwide, as well as through 30A’s direct-to-consumer channels, including 30A stores and 30Agear.com.
30A’s line of apparel made from recycled plastic bottles has prevented over 3 million water bottles from going into our landfills and oceans. 30A has a beach radio station, a family of top-selling 30A craft beers by Grayton Beer Company, 30A Electric Bikes and paddle boards by YOLO, and a 30A Real Estate partnership with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.
30A achieved international recognition in 2015, being ranked the #1 Independent News Site in America by Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism. In 2018, 30A won Street Fight magazine’s Local Visionary Award for “Most Innovative Local Media Business Strategy.” In 2017, Mike was invited to speak about the 30A brand and “The Power of Good News” at the 3D Journalism conference in Moscow, Russia: