For the past year, 25-year-old Ben Schlappig has been flying around the world full time
Schlappig is a member of a community known as Hobbyists, who outsmart the airline frequent flyer system to travel for practically free. Pictured above in a presidential suite he got upgraded to recently
'I'm very fortunate in that I do what I love, ' Schlappig told Rolling Stone . 'An airplane is my bedroom. It's my office, and it's my playroom.' Pictured above sipping champagne in a first class cabin
Schlappig is part of a community known as 'Hobbyists, ' who have been outsmarting the airlines on their own rewards programs for decades, using their frequent flyer statuses, credit card incentives and mistakes in airline ticketing algorithms to get them free tickets around the world.
It's a community New York born Schlappig has been a part of since he was 13, when he discovered the Hobby website Flyer Talk and started learning the tricks of the trade on the site's online discussion boards.
Never having really fit in at school, Schlappig spent a lot of time online mastering the art of the Hobby and within a year started spending his weekend flying across the country on back to back flights, never even leaving the airport, to stack up thousands of frequent flyer miles.
'It was an interesting hobby, ' his dad Arno said. 'I said, "Hey! Keep it up. It's better than smoking pot."'
Schlappig attributes his parents surprisingly acceptance of his jet-setting hobby to the tragic death of his older brother Marc, who was killed in a jet-skiing accident at the age of 14.
Schlappig took a picture of his delicious-looking breakfast on a British Airlines flight from London to Beijing recently
The University of Florida graduate writes about his enviable lifestyle on his blog One Mile at a Time. Pictured above working on the blog during a recent stop in the Maldives
Schlappig says the beds on Cathay Pacific are one the best he has experienced in his many years of flying
Schlappig takes advantage of discounted tickets and credit card rewards programs to rack up a massive amount of credit card miles
'My past 48 hours in a picture, ' Schlappig wrote about this picture posted to his Instagram last year
Last month, Schlappig visited Germany and Austria and posted this view from one of his hotels
Earlier this year, Schlappig stopped over in Dubai and took this picture of the Palm Jumeirah shortly after taking off
A view of Dubai at sunset, posted to Schlappig's Instagram account nearly six months ago
Travelling the world as often as Schlappig does offers him the opportunities to visit such places as the Great Wall of China. He's a regular in Hong Kong, which he describes as his favorite city
'View of Mount Etna after takeoff from Catania, ' Schlappig wrote of this picture
Schlappig was still in preschool when his older brother was hit by a drunk boater and died.
'You know, in retrospect, they were crazy for letting me fly, ' Schlappig. 'By the time it came around to me, the approach my mom had was, "Life is too short not to take up what you love."'
With his parent's support, Schlappig became the first known member of the Hobby to fly across the Pacific Ocean six times in one trip at the age of 16 (Chicago to Osaka to San Francisco to Seoul and back again), and by the following year he had racked up a whopping half a million miles.
When it was time to go to college, Schlappig enrolled at the University of Florida without ever visiting the campus.
Schlappig was treated to a glass of champagne and endless sweets in the first cabin of this flight from Dallas to Dubai
Above, a view of one of the Salvatore Ferragamo amenity kit Schlappig received on a recent flight with Asiana Airlines
Generally bored with the college experience, and his studies in marketing, Schlappig spent most of his downtime flying.
At one such event in 2009, Schlappig met a fellow Hobbiest named Alex Pourazari, who he went on to date.
The two also started a consulting business together called PointsPros, which helps customers build travel itineraries based on their frequent flyer miles.
Schlappig stayed in Tampa for about a year after graduation, but eventually moved to live with his boyfriend in Bellevue Washington.
However, their relationship broke down after about a year and that's when Schlappig decided to make his flying hobby a full-time job.
When Schlappig's lease in Bellevue, Washington ended last year, he packed up all his belongings into a few suitcases and started travelling the world full time
He estimates that he spends about six hours a day in the sky, and when he's not flying, he lives in five-star hotels wherever he chooses.