Many people have been writing to ask how I have managed to travel for months now in several different countries, so I thought I’d provide a little insight. My 20s were all about working, becoming an expert at my craft, and earning a good living. So far, my 30s have been all about exploring the meaning of life, determining what’s most important to me and what I want to leave behind in this world. My priorities have shifted entirely. It didn’t happen overnight, but after a progression of what I like to call small awakenings… knee surgery, a lay-off, a bad relationship, another knee surgery, witnessing friend’s struggles and triumphs, and a number of other similar occurrences. As I list these events, I realize that they may sound negative, but it’s not my intent to portray them that way. After all, my recovery after each knee surgery taught me how to better care for the body that gets me through each day, the lay-off led me to start consulting and eventually establish a business, my dear friends have taught me that the human spirit is stronger than any obstacle, and my family, my biggest supporters, have become more treasured than ever. The events themselves are what they are. It’s the lessons I’ve taken from them that have enriched my life.
As I’ve weaved my way through the twists and turns of life, I’ve thought often about my priorities and my passions and I’ve taken small steps to ensure that my priorities are in the right order for me and that I am making decisions based on what my heart desires to ensure those decisions align with my passions. Most importantly, I was determined to ensure that I pursued those passions NOW. No one can predict the future and the last thing I want to do is die thinking about all of the things I wish I’d done.
It was July of 2012 when I made the firm decision in my heart to travel the world. I think that is when I actually said it out loud as well and asked friends to bare witness. Since that time, I have calculated a rough budget and savings plan, started downsizing my life, and determining how I wanted to travel. After working for 15 years to have some of the conveniences and luxuries in life, I knew that I didn’t want to be constantly on the road and whizzing through continents just for the sake of seeing as much as I could see. I enjoy meeting new people, learning about cultures, gaining perspective and I felt that the only way to embody those things would be to choose 12 countries and live in each one for at least a month. As many of my friends and family know, I’m also not a fan of winter, so it only made sense both from a comfort and packing perspective to follow the summer. And so hatched the plan.
Month 1: drive across the country & visit family – 2 weeks; Peru – 2 weeks.
Months 2 – 12: Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Japan, Philippines, Indonesia, Morocco, and Spain – approximately one month each.
The decision, my friends, I think, was the hardest part. Once I made the decision to do it, the rest was, and still is, all logistics. There are a ton of online resources and plenty of people who have done it before me, so there is no need to re-invent the wheel. If you want to know the specifics of my planning, just ask me, but the mental shift was what I had to lock into place.
The biggest reward so far has been a tremendous feeling of liberation. Liberation from property, physical things, the rat race, stagnation… and my eyes are opened to a diverse world filled with amazing peoples and places. Now, it’s all about revelling in gratitude.