One leg of the journey coming to an end, another leg beginning. I'm in the Rome airport at 7AM on 2 hours of sleep in route to London from Buenos Aires. The life of a world traveler. The purpose of this written piece is to somehow reflect on the past 4 months in our quest to travel around the world. It's been an amazing start. For perspective, I just reread my first journal entry. "What was it going to be like to be gone for a year.... we'll see. It all starts now." It seems like much longer than 4 months when I bid farewell to my parents and boarded a train for San Diego to meet my travel partner, the world ahead of me.
I was living a dream. The reactions of friends and family when I spoke of the upcoming trip all confirmed that. "Wow, what an experience. Better do it now while you can.... Wish I could do that..." Yes I was going to take the ultimate vacation, not your standard issue week long vacation from work but from the real world of long work weeks, traffic, and car loans. I was going to see more new places and experience more adventures than most people do in a lifetime. Did I deserve to do this? Sure, I worked pretty hard for 4 years but my parents have done that for a lifetime. On that train alone leaving all that was safe in a regular life, I started to realize that no matter what, despite all the doubts, I had started to live my biggest and most outrageous dream. That counts for something.
It didn't take long to realize the full weight of the sacrifices either. The hardest was leaving my family. Not a particulairly easy time for various reasons, I was striking out on a journey around the world, far away from the love and support that's always been there. After that was my friends, many of whom feel like family. I was going to be away from the people I hang out with, relax with, party with, vacation with ....... enjoy life with. Some have already come to visit, and I hope that continues but it's not enough. College buddies, the guys at 2029, work friends, old friends, you know who you are, I miss ya. Besides the people, it's the little things like waking up in your own bed on a Sunday morning, double doubles, playing hoops, going on a date, wearing more than 5 outfits. It will all be there when I get back but suddenly a year seems like a real long time.
So what has gone on in 4 months? Alot. From getting certified in SCUBA diving to mountain biking in the Andes, from hiking the Inca Trail to viewing the glaciers in Patagonia, we've been on some incredible adventures. Most not as harrowing as a Guatemalan bus ride or a Peruvian border crossing but it takes all sorts of experiences to make the journey complete. We've been to 14 countries, big cities, small cities, natural wonders, national monuments. We've seen people from all different walks of life and economic situations. I found myself questioning whether a poverty stricken family farming the land for its own subsistence with smiles on their faces was leading any emptier of a life than the people working mundane city jobs of the developed countries. Often times it was from the places I least expected that people approached us with curiosity and honest friendliness. While not running into too many tourists in Central and South America, we were able to focus more of our attention on meeting the native peoples which a place like Europe doesn't usually afford.
It's been an incredible learning experience as well. The first lesson: patience patience, patience. There were times when we were quite miserable. It's not all good stories and easy times. Riding in a sweltering old bus in Costa Rica with a constant flow of blowing dust covering your grimy clothes, you want nothing else than it to be over. Your only solace is that with time you'll soon be on a beautiful beach watching monkeys play in the trees from a most remarkable place. The good with the bad. I'm also learning what it takes and will take to make me a happy and fulfilled person. Everything seems a little clearer and more defined from this perspective. The really important things shine through. What are they? Come join us and I'll gladly go through what I've come up with so far in person.
We've been on the road for 4 months with many more to go and I still can't fully believe I've gone through with this. It's been the trip of a lifetime and there's still so much ahead of us. A good friend of mine asked recently, "What is it about traveling that makes it seem like the ultimate adventure." Carlos and I reflected later as an appropriate answer.... "When else can you remember what you did every single day for 4 months. No 2 days are ever alike." It's a love for life. It's getting up every day to see what this world and its people has to offer. This planet is an amazing place and we've just stratched the surface. We're going to keep wandering and discovering and we hope you keep watching.