Posts in Lifestyle

Your New Year Resolutions are Rubbish – How to Succeed in 2015.

Ooh, those are some fighting words aren’t they? Did that hurt?

It is a touchy subject when somebody takes your New Year resolutions and categorize them as trash.

Except I am right — and by the end of this post I guarantee you and I will be in agreement. Then you’ll be ready t take on 2015 punch for punch.

It’s a sick cycle that happens every year like a skipping record.

Another 365 days are scratched off that paradise calendar; and after drudging through another year of living on this planet in misery, people are in dire need of some something more.

Well, usually the bright light of inspiration that promises a better year than the last is just a gigantic disco ball distracting you with shiny lights.

Oooh Ahhh.

Then just like a broken record your goals may be going smooth, and sooner than later you skip a beat.

Each year goals are set, and each year goals are not accomplished.

The promises made to yourself, the glorious feats you are determined to beat, the changes you decide that need to happen to live a better life; 90% of people will fail. And then it’s brushed aside until the next New Year, and next failed attempt.

Trust me, I’m not saying this to get you down. I just want to slap you in the face a little, because I have done the same thing I’m writing about, and I am damn sick of failure.

Are you sick of failed resolutions?

Pay attention. This is how we are going to get shit done this year.

The issue begins by putting your faith into thinking that promising something on the first day of the year is going to suddenly change your life.

Somehow, the 1st of the year is going to pump you up full of life mojo like Neil Armstrong on steroids, and you are going to blow away every obstacle leaving problems in the dust.

Wrong.

Only YOU can start to change things.

Only YOU can continue the change.

Only YOU can do the work it takes to live your dream.

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
-Maria Robinson

So how the hell do you take on your 2015 goals?

The bottom line is that New Years Resolutions are just a big fat excuse to procrastinate more. I am always hearing, “Oh well, maybe I’ll give it another shot next year…

What kind of crap is that?

Just because you set a personal and you missed a beat, that means you need to wait for another couple hundred days to give it another shot?!

Just stop waisting time.

Quit waiting for that magical date each year, because it’ll come and go each year and you are going to still be sitting around doing the same thing.

A New Day Resolution.

One of the biggest attributing factors in the failures of resolutions is that you bunch up goals into a giant clusterfuck and think about it the terms of the whole year.

If I thought of all the things I need to accomplish before I travel again, I’d lose my freakin’ mind! Pay off debt, buy my Mother’s gravestone, save money for the actual trip, get in shape to bicycle across the United States. The list goes on.

Yeah, it’s a mess; and there is nothing that saps your motivation more than being overwhelmed with tasks. Even typing that gave me a pang of stress.

So go in small steps and work toward a goal each day. Wake up and start realizing each sunrise is a new day, each day you have a breath in your body is a fresh start, and each day is a chance to meet that next goal on the journey to your dream.

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Make Daily Resolutions Matter

Nothing is going to put a stop to you momentum more than doing something that isn’t fun and most importantly isn’t something you give a damn about.
Some people want to lose weight, or quit smoking, or buy a new car, or stop eating meat, or get a raise. And they are all bad resolutions.

How will you quit smoking when you are still stressed? How will you get in shape if you aren’t happy? How are you going to be happy if you are still working a shit job you hope to get a raise in to buy that shiny car to fill a void that will temporarily make you happy?

How about you start connecting the dots with the end goal at your life dream?

Example:

-I want to Travel
-Believe in working to Live not Living to Work, I know everything I do contributes to my dream.
-Knowing this, I can focus on staying positive
-I work more because I am now not working for nothing or miserable
-I make more money because I work more
-I spend less because I don’t need shiny things anymore
-I pay off my bills because I have more money
-I save up plenty of money because I worked hard and knew it was worth it
-I can now travel!

It’s as easy as that.

And many other travel bloggers can attest to this. How did all of these people break free of their corporate confines? They did it step by step.

Once you map out the steps it will take to accomplish your goals, and as long as your end goal is something you truly want that will make you happy, you don’t need to wait for a New Year.

So this is what I want you to do: Write on a piece of paper “New Years Resolution” and then cross it out. Hell, scribble it out if you are pumped up. Then write down “New Day Resolution” and begin your first step today.

Each day see it as a new chance to create a better ending. Then repeat. 

Here is an inspirational video to watch. You have 84,600 seconds in a day. What if that was money, and it disappeared at midnight? Wouldn’t you try to use every last penny?

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Hospitalized During Thailand’s Songkran Festival in Chiang Mai

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The fiery red protrusion on the back of my hand pulsated and throbbed like an angry volcano on the verge of erupting through the two dark holes in its peak — I had been bitten by a bulbous and shiny and demented creepy crawly something that could only have been birthed from the darkest corner of Hell.

No, it was a sickness. A sickness that began with a hoarse cough, like a raspy old hound barking his last warning, the shaking cold sweats consumed me more than the dry Thailand heat caused; eyes yellowed and gums bright red and bloody. I felt faint, nearly hallucinogenic, and as I stood to grab a bottle of water that the dryness of my mouth craved to consume, I collapsed.

No. No, no, no. That is all wrong.

Those scenarios above are exactly that — scenarios. Creepy crawlies and things that go bump in the night and exotic deadly illnesses were the kinds of thoughts that coursed through my brain whenever I imagined something that might land me in the hospital abroad for the first time.

I did end up in the hospital though.

It wasn’t some kind of exciting and strange insect, or disease, or motorbike accident. Fear sometimes grips us and takes over our mind. Our imagination comes up with the most irrationally movie-moment-esque mishaps, illnesses, dismemberments, and deaths. This is especially true when traveling abroad. A mysterious place never explored by your feet and eyes and mind — and everything can be amped up ten fold, whether it be the good, the bad, or the ugly side.

What landed me in the hospital? Well, if you read my post covering the recent Songkran New Year celebrations in Chiang Mai, you may already have a clue. If not, it surely isn’t as elaborate as the horror movie scenarios above, but I got horribly sick during Songkran either way.

Sick and left ill and in pain and unable to eat.

Let’s get one thing clear though…obviously I am still alive since I’m writing this. No need to fret.

So what put me in the hospital? More importantly, how was a hospital experience in Thailand?

The best way to describe my feelings toward hospitals in general is with two words; fear and loathing. I hate the smell of the hospitals, the look of them, and how people are treated most of the time, I also can’t stand going because they frighten me.

Every time I’ve been sick with something and had to go to a hospital, I’m always afraid they will drop something on me with their calm monotone doctor speech like, “Mr. Brown, you do have a respiratory infection…oh yea, and the black plague. You are going to die in five minutes.

Hospitals tend to be just like the DMV, or as I call it — purgatory. You sit there in a chair with a fountain of blood spurting out of you and all the nurse does is walk by and say, “sir, please try not to make a mess“.

Like Beetlejuice, your number never gets called.

There’s also the stress. A small version of Mr. T inside your brain punches it over and over shouting, “they gonna’ take all yo money foo!” causing you to rock back and forth holding your head and yelling “SHUT UP!”

Next thing ya know you’re in the looney bin.

Okay, some of that is a little over-exaggerated, like the nurse calling you “sir” but I digress.

So what happened to me in the Songkran Festival?

Before coming to Thailand, I’d say I had a tad bit of bad luck with injuries or illnesses. At one point, my work was calling me bubble boy because so many illnesses or injuries had hit me in a row, and majority of the time I didn’t have health care.

For me to go six months without a doctor visit (though I have picked up some antibiotics for a cold from a pharmacist) was a pretty good streak.I guess it couldn’t last forever.

The pains began after the first day of Songkran, but worsened. By the third day it was a slicing and burning sensation in my stomach. I hadn’t eaten anything in two days at that point — I had tried to but it hurt too much.

I decided to cave. I put off going to the hospital for a few days because I’m stubborn, but once the festival subsided I knew I had to.

I guess caving is better than dying!

The dreaded hospital visit

The hospital I ended up at was Chiang Mai Ram hospital, located near the north-west corner of Old Town outside of the moat. To many, It’s known as the “expensive” hospital, but at this point I knew the location and I just needed to go.

I half expected the place to be a little dirty and outdated and swarming with ill foreigners.

The inside was like all hospitals; buzzing florescent lights, neutral white walls, and the occasional gaudy floral wallpaper slapped on them so your eyes don’t drown in negative space. But, to my delight, it was surprisingly empty. Normally when you go to a hospital in the United States, it’s like you are fighting through a battle to just get noticed. Not here, I was the only person to step up to the counter.

Hello sir, what’s wrong?

I informed the delightful woman behind the counter of my symptoms; severe stomach pains, headache, achy joints, and weak muscles — and then she asked me to go to registration.

Once there, I had to fill out a tiny registration form, have my photo taken, and I was already on my way to the waiting area with a cue number in hand. Done in 5 minutes. All the while she was calling me “Mr. Brown” and “sir“.

In the waiting area, one with just a handful of Thai people, I sat expecting it would now be a much longer wait. Soon after I sat down, a nurse walked around passing out juice to everyone, giving me an iced juice and a hot tea…just to give us a refreshment while we wait. Hell, I wasn’t even done with my juice and the next thing I know I’m being called into the office!

The doctor, an older Thai woman who didn’t speak English well, was still able to speak clearly enough when conversing with me. She had me lay on my back on a couch and squeezed my lower abdomen. She moves fast I guess! I never knew the tickle maneuver was a way to diagnose an illness, squeezing different parts of my stomach and abdomen asking me to inform her of where it hurt. I just hoped she would stop before I either began to giggle.

After a couple of minutes, she diagnosed me.

You have bad intestine infection. Did you go to Songkran?

I told her I had been to the festival water fighting and I felt sick the next day.

Oh. Songkran water bad. Very bad. Make you sick.

That brown, murky moat water that I had been sprayed with in the eyes and mouth in during Songkran, inadvertently gulping down a gallon of it, is what caused the infection most likely.

After she prescribed me medicine, I went to the pharmacy counter inside the hospital and waited for my number.

My bill? $2,000 baht or around $60.

Okay, I’ll admit it…I don’t have travel health insurance. Why? Just as in the States, I don’t have heaps of money to drop on it. Though once I begin my English teaching job I will definitely be making that investment!

2,000 baht is my budget for 3 days, and the was four times cheaper than what I would have paid at home. It’s wild, I always hated and feared hospitals, but my experience at the hospital in Chiang Mai was fine. In and out in nearly an hour and along the way calling me “sir” and being incredibly kind.

The after effects

A few days after going to the hospital while on 3 different types of pills, an antibiotic, and an electrolyte powder to drink, I was feeling a little better. For that few days after I still couldn’t eat most solid foods. The intestine infection, which has symptoms like something I’ve had in the past in my stomach, makes it painful to eat things like breads, cheese, meats, or vegetables. Oh, and anything acidic. So basically I had to stick to eating rice soup — what I now call “gloppity gloop” after having it 7 times that week after.

And to think all of that came from a little fun during the Songkran festivities in Chiang Mai. Next time I’ll make sure to get some goggles at least.

Hospital Info for Chiang Mai

Note: Make sure to bring your Passport, they will need this to process you.

Chiang Mai Ram – 8 Bunrueang Rit RdMueang, Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai, Thailand (north west corner of the moat)

Have you ever been sick or hospitalized abroad?

And so a Lost Boy Leaves for Thailand.

The day has finally arrived! After watching for months the countdown on my phone ticking ever so slowly down to this day, I am at the airport waiting for my flight.

It’s real.

I am leaving.

I am flying to a foreign country.

I am flying to a place I know barely anything about.

I am putting aside the tremendous amount of fear that I am riddled with.

I am doing something that scares the hell out of me.

That is how I know I am on the right path.

Anything that isn’t worthwhile doing won’t scare you.

Chasing your dream isn’t done sitting idle.

It is done with a leap of faith.

Or, in my case, a flight to Thailand.

And I am SO STOKED!

Or am I…?

In a strange way I am not as excited as I thought I’d be. I figured I would be cartwheeling about the airport. But for the last few days I’ve been pretty…calm.

I know I am excited and that I’ve been waiting for this moment for months. I don’t think that excitement has dissipated at all either. I think a collected calm has come over me. I know I am on an adventure. I’ve been working for this. I feel suddenly at peace.

Since I left on the 6 day train adventure it has been non-stop traveling for the past couple weeks and even with all of that distraction, I’ve had butterflies about the trip to Thailand. And now that I’m in California waiting for my flight, I was questioning why wasn’t going crazy about it.

I believe the excitement isn’t bursting out of every seam in me because I’m focused on the upcoming adventure. I am living my crazy and gnarly dream and in my heart and my soul I know  because I know I am on the right path.

They kind flight attendant just came by and stamped my ticket with a nifty Facebook-esque thumbs up.

Boarding has begun as I rush to type this on my phone. Thank you everyone for all of your amazing support and comments. You helped make this a reality as well.

And with that, this Lost Boy leaves for Thailand!

 

Does this happen to you? The day before your trip, do you feel less excited but more focused?

Am I not Prepping Enough? 60 Days until my trip to Thailand!

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I saw your Instagram photo about your savings. You’re almost at the goal, are you excited?” a co-worker said to me tonight at the restaurant.

Suddenly butterflies filled my stomach, and I laughed out loud.

What? What’s funny?” She asked.

I’m sorry, I just suddenly got goosebumps all over my body and butterflies in my stomach when you asked that. I couldn’t help it.

And then I proceeded to put two fists in the air and announce, “Hell yes, SO excited!

The next adventure is coming, and it won’t be long now.

The days are falling away fast on the calendar, and I am counting down every second until I take off from California to Thailand where I would be landing on my birthday. Great present huh?

I can’t tell you how freakin’ excited I get with each passing day. I think über excited is fitting.

After my last update around 116 days out, I admitted I had done little to no preparation yet for the upcoming trip. But at that point I was just beginning to ramp up the savings effort in an attempt to put away around $10,000 by November. Being that I had only 4 months to do this at that moment, it was all about working my ass off — the fun facts and little details will be taken care of down the road.

It’s a bit further down that road, so have I taken care of all the pre-preparations, knowledge, and planning? And more importantly, have I reached that $10,000 savings goal?

Well, I’ll be honest…I have barely anything done for the trip to Thailand.

Okay, my position isn’t as bad as I make it out to be. I’ve said in the past that I would rather discover a place when I arrive, as opposed to knowing everything when I land, but I have made some progress!

The Savings:smarty-pig-savings

Though I am at the midway point of my time for saving for Thailand, and though I haven’t even reached 50% yet, I am pretty confident I will hit the goal.

The past two months at the restaurant have been horribly slow because everyone has been on vacation, or there has been consecutive Holidays holding me back.

But, even with the setbacks, this weekend I will hit $5,000 in savings and 50% to the big goal. I am waiting for a few rounds of funds to transfer in, but technically I am already there!

Also, I’ve nearly cut out all excess spending when it comes to guilty pleasures like Starbucks, dining out, and going out for drinks. Things like these add up. Eliminating these and more from my everyday life will help me to save even more.

Though sometimes those damn pumpkin spice lattes call to me…

The Breakdown:

To reach another 5k, I have 50 days of work left. Though $100 a day average seems somewhat daunting, making $650-$700 a week at the restaurant is pretty easy. From Friday-Sunday, I average $500-$650m, so hopefully I can use weekdays to pad my budget even more.

Pre-Preparation:

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TEFL/Visas

In this area, in my own mind, I have very little to pre-prep for. Sure, I am going away for hopefully a year or more with the goal of teaching English and exploring Southeast Asia, but I’ve decided to take the let’s see what happens after I arrive approach.

After searching all over the web, and picking tons of traveler’s brains about Visas for Thailand, teaching English, and what to expect, I’ve decided to go ahead and wing it.

I was going to get the 60 day tourist visa and use that time to feel out Bangkok (not literally pervs), but if need be I can always leave and come back into Thailand within the 30 days to extend my time. I also want to research local schools hands on and find a great fit for me instead of accepting a TEFL job preemptively.

The consensus has been that stressing over extended Visas is nothing to worry about, and that finding an English teaching job should be relatively easy as long as I try, and that Thailand is an easy country to land and figure out from there.

Shots/Health

For shots, which many are recommended by the U.S. before going to Southeast Asia, I’ve decided to forgo most. The main ones have always been required as a United States citizen growing up, but for the more exotic shots and pills that can be upwards of $500-$1,00, I am skipping these.

Why am I skipping shots? Most travelers I’ve chatted with never touched their expensive supply of malaria pills, and a few people I know who have been in various Southeastern countries for a couple of years never had their shots and have been fine.

It is typical for the United States, the most drugged country ever, to use scare tactics to pressure would be travelers to either not travel, or cough up hundreds of dollars for these things.

I am definitely going to watch out for what I eat and drink, and my health in general like I did in Haiti though.

Travel Health Insurance

For this category, I had a specific goal through SmartyPig set at $1,000 for travel health insurance. I’ve researched plenty of options and most are around $500-$1000 depending on the time you are traveling for.

But I’ve decided to hold off on acquiring this as well. Most TEFL schools I’ve been researching actually provide you with the Visas and also healthcare by completing their certification. If they’ll give it to me included, I think I’ll wait and see how that plays out.

Possessions

Since I returned from New Zealand, I haven’t amassed much in terms of possessions. I can pretty much still fit my whole life into my backpack, but the work clothes, bed, and a few other items will still need to be taken care of. Shouldn’t be hard.

Homeland Tidbits

I’ve already begun taking care of things that are specific to the United States, like notifying my cell provider about my line suspension, and letting my bank know the tentative dates I will be abroad for.

Family

Here is the hardest one. I have yet to tell my brother whom disowned me for moving to New Zealand the first time I traveled. The biggest feat for me upcoming will be revealing to my brother again that I am leaving, and to be honest, I am really nervous about it.

I have to tell him though, and I have to hope for the best.

I’ll be counting down the days until Thailand, and if you have ANY tips, tricks, or advice please share!

Memoirs of a Lost Boy

[dropcap]L[/dropcap]ife is short. Time is precious. I know this all too well. Before I became self-aware of the things that haunted me, the things I allowed myself to be consumed by, and the destructive nature I had embodied, I was depressed and on the verge of taking my own life. I thought the world was against me and that I was a failure for not living up to someone else’s standards. I was a high school dropout, I had been to jail, and I had a history of drowning myself in alcohol saturated pity-parties.

Why do I tell you this?

Because I’ve been to the darkness. And I know nothing good lies there, or in standing idle. Let me tell you something — everybody goes through pain and heartache and struggle at some point in life. Whether or not our cases are similar or different, there is no measuring the amount of hardship and pain against another persons. The only thing worth measuring, to you and only you, is what you choose to do in the face of struggle.

Only you can hold you back. And the world isn’t against you, because the world has bigger things to worry about like revolving around the Sun. So if you have been through, or are going through, a moment where the faith in yourself has faltered, know that you can turn it around. You are great, so do not fear your own greatness.

This page, Memoirs of a Lost Boy, are my personal stories of the trials, tribulations, tragedies, and endeavors I have faced or may face in the future. The events that try to knock me off of the path to my dream. I reveal these extremely personal moments in my life to show you that you can live your dream and crawl out of the abyss if you find yourself in one.

Travel gave me a reason to live, sharing my stories gave me strength, and I want it to give you even the smallest oomph if you do need it.

The Day I was Disowned for wanting to Travel (with Video)

I had expectations of what that moment would be like. The moment where I reveal to my brother I would be leaving the United States for a year. I would be selling off all of my possessions, quitting my job, and leaving.

I thought it would go something like this:

Hey Derrick, I have something to tell you. I decided to move to New Zealand for a year, and I’ve already got my ticket.

What the fuck?! That is so stupid. That is possibly the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard

My brother would probably laugh at me. He would probably think it was some joke. He would probably be angry with me when he realized I was serious about the trip.

But I never thought he would disown me.20130814-150814.jpg

In one of my recent posts when I revealed that I had lost both of my parents at a young age, I noted that my brother since then had been a pillar of strength for me. A stubborn, conservative, and sometimes linear minded pillar, but a support for me nonetheless.

Just like my father, my brother tends to learn towards the “normal” expected lifestyle; get a stable career job that provides health care, job security, and a retirement. And all he would talk about when he would get on my case for being irresponsible is the fact that he could retire comfortable in 25 years.

Hell, I can’t even plan months in advance. I tend to enjoy the very moment I am in. But the moment that I revealed to him I was moving to New Zealand was not at all enjoyable.

It was two weeks before I was to take the California Zephyr from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles, and then off to a place I knew nothing about. I just knew it was far away, and was the first country I would ever travel to, and it was all I wanted in my life at that moment.

My brother happened to be having a BBQ with a bunch of friends over that night, and I figured that by revealing it there, the environment and friends would help defuse any situation that followed.

So what I did was call everyone into the kitchen of his sparkling new house, set up my phone on a table to record the confrontation (I figured his reaction would be kind of funny) and made my reveal.20130814-150933.jpg

In a month, I am moving to New Zealand. I already have my ticket.

Good luck. But if you move to New Zealand, I will probably have no more communication with you.

Why?” I asked, confused.

For what?

You’re my brother” I said, not understanding where he was taking this.

No, sorry. If you move to New Zealand you are not.

And then the conversation took a turn for the worse. He became slightly more aggressive, but overall he kept repeating one harsh line.

You are not my brother anymore.

My brother, my only direct blood left on this planet, had officially disowned me because I wanted to travel.

And had officially torn my heart out. Like that scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and he discarded my heart into the fire.

20130814-151328.jpgMy throat felt as though I had swallowed a whole apple. Tears welled up in my eyes. My chest felt as if there was an anvil atop it. My stomach was tied in an uncountable amount of knots.

I cried.

I hadn’t cried for nearly 3 years since I had found my father dead on our back porch.

For a person that felt as though he had no more tears to cry in his life anymore, I cried fiercely. I couldn’t understand how my brother could do such a thing to his little brother, especially since we were all each other had.

Apparently not. And apparently he was content not having a brother anymore because I wanted to chase my dream.

I left that day, and I wouldn’t speak to him for nearly 6 months. Well, in reality he wouldn’t speak with me.

His wife drove me home that night and I was balling the whole way. She tried to lighten up Derrick’s reaction but making the standard efforts at consoling, but it didn’t help.

I was so angry, so pissed off, that I couldn’t wait to leave. And I hoped I would be gone longer than that year, maybe forever.20130814-151110.jpg

And off I went. I said goodbye to my parents in the cemetery, I was on the train, and then taking my first steps onto foreign soil.

I emailed my brother and his wife updates just to assure them I was okay, but I was really doing it to show them I actually did it.

When my brother and I started talking again, it was over the Voxer walkie-talkie app. He almost acted as though he had never said anything, and he even accused me of not trying to talk to him. A friend of his, Nikki, had voice messaged me on Voxer asking how I had been doing, and also asked about my brother. I guess after telling her of our fallout she had a nice chat with him.

I still loved my brother, but deep inside I was still angry. How could he do such a thing to me? But I wanted to repair the relationship still. So, instead of staying in New Zealand for the full year, I chose to fly home 3 months early and surprise him on his birthday.

And surprised he was, but that was about it.

That day, and since that day, we have never really spoken about my trip. He has never shown interest in hearing about it. And even when I’ve gone on other trips like Haiti and we go to dinner to a pub after I return, he looks away watching TV when I talk about it to his wife, then comes back into the conversation with an, “Oh, yeah, cool.”20130814-151433.jpg

The rift between us has grown, and every time I am with him I now feel like it is out of obligation. Oh, how I would GIVE for some sort of small curiosity and support about my dream. But instead of having my father, mother, and brother telling me they are proud of something I am doing — I have nothing. No, I do have something, I have my dream and I am proud of myself for not letting it falter.

Dreamers will always face fierce opposition, even from family, but you still have to stand strong.

I have now accepted the fact that my brother will never understand the life I have chosen. I know he means the best for me, and just wants his little brother to be safe, but his lifestyle choice isn’t my lifestyle choice. I will still go on traveling and doing what I love.

I have yet to tell him that I am leaving for Thailand in November. I know how he will react, but I hope he won’t rip out my heart again.

 

How did you reveal your travel plans, and how did your family react?

 

 

Gnarliest Travel Articles: August 4th-10th

People-youre-not-shopping-for-but-should-be-paper-boy

Welcome to your weekly travel digest. Just like a young chap in the early 1900’s, I will be playing the role of town cryer telling you all of the best travel articles hot of the (word)press.

Each week I will be posting up my favorite blog reads that catch my terribly low attention span. No, I will not be in overalls and a golf cap like this dapper young lad on the left.

When I’m not wandering around the world, I’m reading about it, so I want to collect some entertainment to light that travel spirit under your ass!

There will be no “Top 10” posts here, no “Best Beaches” bullshit, just straight up travel adventures and motivation.

Motivation

I want to know your Secret.
by Caz and Craig of YTravel Blog

Exceprt: Today I’m going to share with you how we went bankrupt, how I nearly lost my marriage several times, how our health stood in our way, and how we turned it around with this blog and the determination to create my dream.

Caz and Craig are always in some new exotic locale with the lil’ ones, always smiling, and always seemingly happy. But never revealed before was an extremely catastrophic series of events before they found travel that have haunted them for years. Now that they have finally found their footing and are living their dream, Craig shares a raw and heartfelt confession of the struggles leading up to this point.

READ ARTICLE

 

A Letter to my Homeless Father
by Toni of Reclaiming my Future

Excerpt: “What do I tell people in the future when I meet them and they ask about you?  Am I supposed to say that we no longer talk?  That you’ve died? Or that I walked away from you to allow you to be the homeless alcoholic you seemed so eager to be?”

Toni is the epitome of inspiration and is constantly using her blog and her time to get people pumped about life. But what about her own life? What about her? Well, in a heartbreaking letter to her father she reveals just how much pain she has been through dealing with him, and that it is time to do something for her. In a selfless and empowering post, she takes a hold of happiness for herself.

READ ARTICLE

 

How to Travel the world when you have Lost Everything.
by Ryan of Just Chuckin’ it!

Excerpt: It is much easier to give up all hope than it is to stage an internal coup d’tat to overthrow Depression, the bastard that attempts to rule you in these times. When all is crumbling around you, it is still possible to climb your way out of the abyss.

Yes. This is my own article. But revealing my past in this post was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Travel truly saved me, and under this inspirational category this week I wanted to JAM pack it full of mojo. If you have lost in your life, if you are a dreamer, if you are desperate to travel, this is for you.

READ ARTICLE

Adventure!

The Road to Dahab | Jeruselum to Egypt.
by On a Junket

This is hands down one of the most provocative and well written articles I have come across in a LONG time. I literally felt sucked into her experience as she waited for a bus, and described the sights, sounds, and encounters while making her way to Egypt. A must read.

READ ARTICLE

Travel Photography

Orange you glad: A colorful Photo Series.
by Matt of Landlopers

#Frifotos is always a fun series each week that travelers take part in. This week’s theme was Orange, and Matt went all out! From neon glowing buildings, to bright orange foxes close-up, all of the photos are awesome.

READ ARTICLE

 

Temples of Angkor Wat
by Time-Crunched Travelers

Excerpt: “When most people think of Angkor Wat, they usually picture crumbling stone temples with tree roots snaking their way around ornate doorways.”

Many times you see photos of Angkor Wat, and it is the same freakin’ angle. These to delve deeper into the Angkor complex with a series of photos that reveal the true beauty of this landmark in Cambodia.

READ ARTICLE

Travel Videos

The Contents of my Backpack Two Years On.
by Lauren of Never Ending Footsteps

Excerpt: A year in and I had never worn a money belt, never found a use for duct tape. I’d yet to take a single anti-malarial tablet, never used a padlock and obviously the umbrella had to go.

Lauren is going on her third year of travel. In this video, she reveals what makes sense for her to pack after two years traveling, and the silly things she thought she HAD to pack the first time.

READ ARTICLE

 

Inspirational Videos

Holstee Manifesto

Thirty Seconds to Mars – “Do or Die”

Does that have ya pumped up?! Find other awesome reads this week or want to be featured next week? Comment below!

 

How to Travel the World When You Have Lost Everything.

 

Attack Life, it's going to kill you anyways

I know death well.

Like some damned Divine Comedy, I’ve been through Hell. That dark, fiery, sulfur stinking, lifeless place. And for a long time it seemed like the fate of myself would be that of my parents; self-induced, or by the powers that be who deemed me unworthy to truly live.

I’ve met despair, who caressed my face in a shadowy comfort, enticing me to a darkness of a black hole like existence in which no light would be allowed.

It is much easier to give up all hope than it is to stage an internal coup d’tat to overthrow Depression, the bastard that attempts to rule you in these times.

When all is crumbling around you, it is still possible to climb your way out of the abyss.

Absailing in Waitomo Caves New Zealand
I want to share something extremely personal, but incredibly important, so I can hopefully help you, or anyone else that have been through similar circumstances, or any hardships that make you feel like there is no hope in life.

This is not a realm I like to venture into, memories so far repressed that they seem like a movie reel missing pieces, but it is time to face these things and to give you ammo for courage.

Very recently was the anniversary of the death of my father, and as always, it has been on my mind quite a bit while leading up to my trip to Thailand.

Nothing I say will be able to solve the problems or obstacles you may face, but maybe in the least it will help you stay strong and keep believing that you can do whatever it is you want to in life.

To live your dream, be it traveling the world or not.

So I will begin with something that most people, even people very close to me, do not know. It is a shame, but the course my life has taken until the past few years has made my feelings impermeable to others. Though sometimes I am able to share it to you all through writing.

The only reason I feel the need to include these details is for you to know that I mean what I say when I tell you that it can get better, and that you can live your dream and travel the world if you want.

You gotta’ want it bad though. So bad that you will claw your way through it all. But it is possible.

Better things are coming
 I buried both of my parents before I was 20.

In the early years of high school my mother committed suicide. It was completely unexpected and rocked my entire world, and I still repress it somewhat.

I remember one of those hot summer days playing football in my yard as a young boy when a bearded man in a pick-up truck drove by my house and yelled out his window, “Your mother is dead!

He laughed after yelling this, and then drove off.

You see, at the time I didn’t know he was being literal, I just thought he meant my mother was in trouble with the law.

I’ve re-constructed the scenario over and over in my head, and even wrote a movie script to try to explain it to myself better. I even wrote in a note to me and my brother where she explains her reasoning, and says signs, “I love you.

But there was no death note and no explanation. Just nothingness like the way I felt.

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To this day it is hard for me to remember the exact year this happened and how old I was because I think I tried to forget about it.

I remember crying my eyes out for a week straight. My mother doesn’t have a gravestone yet so I have no reference, and I cannot help but feeling terrible for forgetting.

I was considered the “Mommas Boy” because I would still want to see her after my parents split up since my brother denied all accounts of my father beating her and sided with him. I was the brainwashed child. But I stopped visiting her for a few months because my father was getting on my case more and more.

For a long time I blamed myself for my mother’s death, thinking I was the reason she hung herself because I stopped coming to visit her.

The years before my mother’s death, my family had been the perfect portrayal of a broken home. My father and mother split up because he abused her, and she would bounce from place to place trying to find somewhere to live. She would fall from job to job, and there were mumblings that she was using drugs again.

There were always mumblings she was doing drugs again.

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That is how my parents met, my father was a drug dealer and my mother was buying drugs. Yet, my father would always deny that part of his life, and would try to convince me to ignore my mother.

My minister always described my mother as the strongest and weakest woman in the world, but she always told me she would never leave us because she could never hurt us that way.

And I’ve felt a fiery something…be it frustration…or hate…or hurt…because she left when she said she wouldn’t. Because of that mother fucker who drove by and yelled. Because I wasn’t there for her.

But I was young then, and still had a stable ground under me and a home. Even if part of me was ripped away.

Fast forward to summer of 2008.

The bright July sun beamed through my shades. It must have been hot, because the summer cicadas hissed loud outside. My dry eyes peeled open as I licked my chapped lips. The stale taste of beer was still apparent, and the ringing in my head spelled out a horrible hangover.

I had been out all night at my brother’s friends bonfire kicking back brewskies and playing beer-pong until the wee hours of the morning when we all got home and passed out.

My best friend was rapping on the door for me to open up. We were going to shoot some film that day, so I rolled out of bed and got dressed. I let him in, grabbed our scripts and gear to go shooting, and headed for the front door. Then, I stopped before walking out the front door and told my friend I was going to grab a couple sodas from the deck.

And that is when my life changed forever. Again.

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I flung open the flimsy metal screen door in a hurry and reached down to grab some sodas. Out of the corner of my eye I saw my father laying on the ground.

At first glance I thought he was just adding some more flare to his beloved deck, a place where he would sit everyday, and sometimes sleep at night.

Hey dad, I’m going to go film some stuff!

But when he didn’t respond, I turned back around and noticed his lifeless body, belly down, slumped face first into the railing.

My own scream still haunts me to that day. I ran to my father and yelled for my friend Tony.

I struggled trying to pull my father’s 275lb body upright as I screamed and mewed, wishing I had super-human strength to lift him. When my friend emerged from the screen door, his face said it all.

Call 911!” I screamed out to him, finally rolling my father onto his back.

I know what death looks like and smells like. It has been seared into my brain. And when I see colors that match those from this day, I’ve always had flashbacks.

Some people might see yellows and purples and think flowers. Or blue and think a beautiful sky. But not me, not for a long time.

Not until I started living again.

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The sight of death is something I would never wish upon anyone else. His face was swollen and bruised, dotted purple and yellow. He was biting his tongue which had turned a deep blue. He felt clammy, smelled like an ashtray, and was stiff like a block of hard rubber.

I sat him up and ran into the kitchen to grab a spoon, with some fools hope he was still able to be saved. I could hear the sirens at this point as I ran back to him and began trying to pry open his mouth. At last I was able to get the spoon in and open his mouth.

And there was a breath!

My heart sang as a rancid breath escaped him, like stale margarita, and for a second I thought he would start coughing and gasping for air. And then a wasp crawled out of his mouth and flew away. He was in my arms and I was balling with tears and telling him to breathe when the EMT’s arrived.

I remember the first on the scene was a beautiful brown-haired EMT with bright blue eyes, and I remember her looking at my father, then me, and shaking her head.

She just shook her head, like an angel giving a death sentence, and I screamed like an animal and didn’t want to let go as they pulled me away.

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In the early hours of the morning he had a heart attack, the day after he visited the doctor and she said he desperately needed to stop smoking and change his diet. That night he ate a salad for dinner, and we used to joke that the salad was what killed him.

I was the only one who saw him when he died.

My brother had arrived later on and they wouldn’t let him see him. We were forced to have a closed casket funeral as well because the summer sun was harsh that day, and it was too intense for people to see.

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The days passed and I went through a period of falling asleep drunk, waking up drunk, and drinking again. I remember waking up one day on the deck, hungover in the hot sun, just as I had found my father.

I knew what I was doing was not helping, but it made me forget and helped me cope with the constant fog I felt like I was in. I could see the road ahead for a few feet, but everything was dark.

That sweet serenity of hopelessness. Ever since that day I’ve struggled with emotional highs and lows. I’ve struggled with a monster inside, alcoholism, that is programmed into me to drink myself into to oblivion. I’ve struggled with the fact that I can’t seem to make real connections with people, can’t “feel” anything sometimes, and it affects the way I treat even the family I still have.

But travel has been my savior.

Not fully, not wholeheartedly, not the cure-all for what ails me. But it has given me a hope, something I can feel in my heart and gut.

I can now see red roses, and blue skies, and purple flowers, and golden fields for what they are.

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When you feel hopeless, and you trap yourself with “cures” like alcohol, drugs, sex, possessions, and the like to make things go away, or excuses about why the world is against you, you attract negative energy that feeds on your state of mind. It is that creature in the dark waiting for a chance to rule you.

It may numb you to what is actually going on, but it will never help you. It will push you further away from your dream. Further away into nothingness.

“There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
And it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy
And God I know I’m one”

– The Animals

Right now I am sitting in an apartment choking up while writing this. Tears are fogging my eyes because it’s hard for me to open up and remember these things.

I have been sleeping on a friends couch for the last month, and I will be for the next 3 months. Why do I not feel like a failure anymore? Because I am sleeping on a couch to help save money for my trip to Southeast Asia this November.

Why am I not unhappy working a job serving tables at a restaurant just like before? Because it is for something amazing on the horizon.

That is what travel has changed. For a long time I didn’t feel worthy enough for anything better. I was to grow old, broke, and drowning in bills, working at a job I hated until I could never retire, and die.

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Now I have a hope in my life. A purpose without a purpose — just to live.

I had always dreamed about travel, but it always seemed unrealistic only because I chose to believe it was. A lot of my friends who don’t even know about some of the struggles of my past even say, “I wish I could travel the world” like it is some crazy thought.

Except I am yet again on the cusp of an adventure, and just the thought of it makes me smile.

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This is what I want; to travel the world, to see lands I could never believe existed, to have my soul exposed and naked in a foreign culture, to let strangers into my life, to taste the flavors unknown, to learn to feel again, to hike tall mountains, traverse vast plains, and wander into the unknown.

But this unknown travel provides isn’t into the nothingness, but my path to happiness.

And I fought to get here.

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When I first took my maiden journey abroad in 2011 to New Zealand, it had been after a period in my life where I was unhappy, hated my job, and always made excuses for my mis-steps.

But the day I received my passport, the first ever in my family, and took off for my trip, I felt alive.

I had traveled before across the USA, and even worked on a cruise ship in Hawaii. But up until New Zealand I had just been running.

Everyone can live their dream and travel the world no matter what struggles you have faced. The only way to change your life and situation is to believe in your dream and act on it.

ACT ON IT!

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If you have lost like I have, and feel like your life has been crippled, you can go on.

The only way to actually do it is to keep moving forward, not standing still in time lost in a fog. My parents were great people, but there lives were broken ones early on. And I chose not to live a broken life anymore.

If you look for stability in the form of a “normal” job than that is all you will find. From my own personal experience, and after my father passed, I felt a sudden urge to start a career. Everything that I had known and relied on had gone, and I felt I needed to replace it with something. Careers are fine, but make sure it is something you are passionate and dedicated about.

 

Some ways I found to help me past those tough times

-Surround yourself with positive and energetic people.

Hang out with friends that will encourage your passion. Become dedicated to your goal. If you want to travel the world, make damn sure you save every penny and don’t go blowing it in local bars every night after work.

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-Start living your dream!

After I decided I would leave my old life behind for the one I wanted, I began researching about travel and backpacking. I would wander around to places I had never been locally and meet new people. It got me excited and much more serious about what I was doing.

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-Stay positive.

It’ll be really hard sometimes to think that there is escape from this sick cycle, but you will be the only one that can change it. I had a broken childhood, but I never got into drugs. My parents were chain smokers but I never picked up a cigarette.

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Point is, don’t just take the cards that have been dealt to you. Pick up the cards and reshuffle them and become the dealer. I don’t believe in fate, and if I did, my fate will be what I make. Yes, that was a Terminator reference as well.

Stand your ground traveler, nothing shall weaken your lion heart.

In memory on my Father and Mother.

To my father, I wrote this after his death:
Father, Father
Headstrong Father
Though my last words to you, I could not utter
I know that our bond will never be severed
Now in heaven making drinks for the “Big Guy”
The lessons you taught me help me to survive
Now I’m off to take on the world
Your wind is at my back, my sails unfurled.

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NOTE: If you have read this far, just know that my parents were amazing people, they just lived broken lives early on.

  • My father was one of the hardest working men I have ever known. He broke his back everyday to provide for us, and he gave me my rock hard resolve and work ethic.
  • My mother was amazing, and she would challenge me to live my dream no matter what. She was tender and kind, and worried too often about other people instead of herself.
  • My brother, though we have a distanced relationship now, is still a pillar of strength for me.

Share your own story. What did you fight through to chase your dream? And if you haven’t, are you ready and willing to do what it takes?

 

How I am Preparing For Thailand. And Failing.

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After revealing that I took the plunge and bought my ticket to Thailand, and proceeded to show you my über happy dance, you might think I am spending every waking moment scouring the interwebs about Thailand.

And that hasn’t happened.

Has the excitement of leaving again died? Hell no. 

I look at this countdown every day.

Then why haven’t I memorized the city layout of Bangkok by heart, made Thailand the background of my iPhone, iPad, and Macbook Pro. Why don’t I know Thai phrases yet, which shots to get, where to take my TEFL course, and where I am staying?

 

Because it turns out that I am terrible at planning ahead…

I did find this Thai airline wallpaper though which has me quite excited.

Nok Airline Calendar

(photo credit Huffington Post and Nok Airline)

If you hadn’t followed my blog previously before GoDaddy took a shyte on it and lost my server files, then you may have watched the hilariously desperate video confession when I ran out of money in New Zealand. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

You would think I’d do everything to prevent that from happening this time by planning every aspect right?

Well, I am planning for Thailand. Sort of.

Bangkok at Sunset

(photo credit Roni Weiss)

Even though I haven’t been oozing every second about Thailand on the blog and doing research, I have been working my freakin’ tail off for this trip!

Last month I set a goal to save up $1,000 a week at my job. How the hell can I do that?!

 

Well, the perks of working at a restaurant in the United States is that we make tips, and my restaurant we can make heaps of money. If you work hard.

It’s been tough running the blog and working at the restaurant, but it’s definitely worth it. Even though some nights I only make $100, other nights I’ve been able to pull in $470 in one day! I credit my impeccable smile and charming personality for that one =)

But do I really need to plan every detail for Thailand?

There has been a consensus from tons of people that have traveled to Thailand and Southeast Asia that I don’t need to plan a thing, that traveled through the country is extremely cheap and easy, and that getting a teaching job will be no sweat.

I sure hope so! Nonetheless I’m sure as the days go by leading up to this trip I will start preparing for Thailand more and more, doing tons research on Southeast Asia, and undeniably gushing about how excited I am on the blog.

Until then, the clock is ticking and I’m working hardcore to meet this goal set.

In the meantime, enjoy some of these stellar photo as I am from other bloggers 😉

Photo Credit Ronnie Charrier

(Photo credit Ronnie Charrier)

Photo Credit Lauren Juliff

(Photo credit Lauren Juliff)

Have you been to Thailand? Got any tips?

 

Help My #Adventure4Life Challenge to Support Cancer Fighters!

Adventure4LifeFacebook

Life is a precious, but always fleeting thing. And for some, fleeting much faster. Though I have never experienced the hardships of being diagnosed, and fighting, a terminal disease, I know just how precious this time we are given is.

There was a time when I was in the darkest dark. A never-ending fog where I couldn’t see ahead, and felt I could never escape.

As you may know from my blog posts, at a very young age I lost both of my parents to the side-effects of a drug and alcohol induced life-style. A disease in its own. I was seemingly bound for this as well, had I not discovered the immense joy of travel and adventure which probably saved my life.

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Because of this, Death is my travel inspiration and every moment counts. I want to help as much as I can with my body, mind, and soul to support Life in itself.

So I have joined up with 24 other travelers and adventurers to support EpicExperience and #Adventure4Life camp. It is an adventure camp bringing together cancer fighters and survivors to support each other against this dastardly disease, challenging them in the outdoors with activities that will build bonds and show them they “can do it” in the fight for life.

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The mission of #Adventure4Life struck a chord because too often people take their time on this planet for granted, while others such as cancer patients fight for every lasting second and a hope of stopping the sand in the hourglass from running out.

And one day something can come clawing at me as well, and I want to embark on a physical endeavor supporting this cause so that if my time comes, I will have this to look back on for strength as well.

 

And hopefully the other 24 Travelers and I will provide strength and motivations for those in a fight for their life right now.

This adventure camp which will bring together cancer fighters and survivors is something I had never heard of, but instantly wanted to support. To feel alive, to feel the beat of the heart pounding on your chest as adrenaline fills you, and a smile forms that is unbreakable in that happy moment – this is what I want to give to these fighters. For it is what gave me life.

I will be hiking from the beginning of the C&O Canal in Georgetown DC 50+ miles to Harpers Ferry West Virginia. I have never hiked more than 10 miles in a day, but if others can fight for their life, I can fight blisters and fatigue to raise money for this.

How to Support/Donate

Any amount of support and donation will be immensely appreciated and will be going to an amazing cause. If you would like to donate towards my 1K goal to give these cancer fighters an amazing experience you can do so at My #Adventure4Life Profile Page. Also, make sure to use the #Adventure4Life hashtag on Twitter to show your support!

The Route – From Bottom to Top

Video Message From The Dead: Start Living.

In Photos: Inspirational Smiles from Haiti

A smile. It is simple, yet so profound. Filled with a thousand words, meanings, and emotions. So I’ve compiled smiles from Haiti for you, and some inspirational quotes, to inspire a cheesy grin to form on your face.

Because I freakin’ love to smile!

Smiling…that subtle reaction that happens when the electric neuronal signals tickle the oldest part of your cortex, making your brain giggle with joy, which stimulates your smile muscles causing that cheesy grin to form. The fact that we HAVE smile muscles should make you smile.

However complicated that scientific mumbo-jumbo may sound, a smile is the most basic, yet most powerful sign of communication. There is no other form of expression that elicits a more powerful emotion, because happiness will always trounce hatred.

Recently I described my eye-opening experience in the first few hours being in the country, where I realized first impressions mean nothing. But one impression, and a lasting one I got, was that there were smiles abound.

Sure, some tried to hide the smiles, some only smiled after they discovered we weren’t there to document Haiti’s hardships to make an award-winning documentary from their pain. But one thing was for sure, Haitian’s love to smile.

Smiling is the most universal language. Those times I couldn’t pronounce something, or couldn’t convey what I wanted in the language, a smile could tell them either way I was grateful.

So I compiled some photos together of all the smiles from the trip. Smiles from high up heads of Ministry’s, smiles from the mountain tops, smiles from the small villages, and smiles from my friends and I as we discovered Haiti.

As I was writing this, the photos and memories made me smile.

I hope some of these will in turn make you smile, because they say smiling is more powerful than those endorphin-injecting chocolates.

So Smile.

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Huge smiles before embarking on the gnarly journey.

“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” – Tim Cahill

 

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Happiness in Belly Beach, Nord, Haiti while soaking up the rays and swimming in crystal clear waters.

 

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Cute kiddo flashing a smile and a peace sign while at a rally for Waste Management change.

 

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Children flocked to the camera on the mountain roads rom Port Au Prince to Cap-Haitian.

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home.” – James Michener

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Happy to flex his muscles and give a smile for the camera.

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This guy is pointing at you to smile. Are you yet?

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At first skeptical that we were a crew trying to find gold mines in the region, these gents eventually let their defenses down and let out a few smiles.

“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” – Aldous Huxley

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This young model to be stepped in front of the camera to give her, “Yeah, I’m awesome” smirk and pose.

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The Wesley Snipes of Haiti. While recording some footage on the beach, he wanted me to shoot an impromptu action sequence.

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A supporter at the Waste Management rally smiles after hearing the mission of our documentary: to bring electricity to the country.

“What you’ve done becomes the judge of what you’re going to do – especially in other people’s minds. When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.” – William Least Heat Moon

 

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Suddenly feeling free and at peace along the cliffs while driving to Labadee, Scenery like this always makes me smile.

“Let my soul smile through my heart and my heart smile through my eyes, that I may scatter rich smiles in sad hearts.”
-Paramahansa Yogananda

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Cruising on a boat in the Caribbean in Northern Haiti.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

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Cap-Haitian kids crowded our cameras posing for all sorts of photos and flashing some smiles.

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Jagged mountains creating green valleys make me smile.

“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.”
-Cesare Pavise

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The barber in Port Au Prince, loving what he does every day.

“He who does not travel does not know the value of men.” – Moorish proverb

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Viky getting a haircut by the guy he always go a trim from when he lived in Haiti.

 

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This lady was all smiles as we discussed Haiti’s Tourism with the Ministry of Tourism and the potential growth upcoming.

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The Mayor of Cap-Haitian, known for not smiling much, flashed a smile after we signed paperwork for the energy prototype!

“A smile is the universal welcome.” -Max Eastman

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Viky, in the blue, had his first time seeing the coastline of Haiti up close even after being born there. Totally made him smile in disbelief of the scenery.

“The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

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Prestige on the beach. Good times.

“I was so embarrassed about mispronouncing words. I just knew how to smile.” -Adriana Lima

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Underwater smiles as we swam in the beautiful warm waters on the coast.

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“Haiti is open for business” Conference, where everyone was happy to discuss getting companies involved in Haiti’s economic growth.

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Before leaving, we posed we Viky’s lovely mother and the crew. I was sad to leave, but I smiled because it happened.

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” -Dr. Seuss

Which country have you been to with the most smiles?

Read More Posts from Haiti

Eye Opening: My First Real Impressions Of Haiti
To Haiti, With Love, to Film a Documentary
Home From Haiti – This Contrast May Kill Me.
Haiti Travel Advice: Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover.
Haiti in Photos – Don’t Look! You Might Fall In Love.
Video: 10 Beautiful Days Around Haiti.

Featured in Travel Longer Magazine – My Wild New Zealand Adventure!

 

I am super freakin’ excited to announce the April Issue of Travel Longer Magazine featuring yours truly, and a way YOU can get a subscription for free!

Badass, I know. Free things make us all want to do a little happy jig.

Articles have been few and far between for the past month on this blog, and as much as it bums me out, it was for good reason.

A 2,500 word good reason.

 

Excerpt: “It seems like just yesterday I was sitting by a fire playing my harmonica with a pot smoking Canadian, a hippie German, and his peace-and-love skeptic girlfriend.  Our world at that moment was made up of lazy days under a warm sun napping in hammocks.”

When Travel Longer, an up-and-coming Travel Magazine (iPad only, sorry!) asked me to write about my experience in New Zealand, I was super stoked. There are so many articles and adventures that were lost when my files on my host server were lost, and so many adventures that I have yet to tell.

This article on Travel Longer is a Whirlwind Exposé of my entire journey through The Land Of The Long White Cloud. Featuring the unbelievable feelings as the trip came to fruition, facing my fear of the unknown and getting in a car with random backpackers for a trip to the Northland, how a naked ninja lead me to a sponsored trip across the country to write as a plastic camel (that right there should be enough to get you to read it!), and all the eye-gasmic imagery of New Zealand you can handle.

Oh, and I reveal just what make New Zealand so special. And it isn’t the natural beauty or the extreme sports.

This month’s issue also features some of the most gnarly travel writers and photographers around the globe including:

Featured Photographer Extraordinaire: Ken Kaminesky (@KenKaminesky)

Travel Expert: Just Travelous (@JustTravelous)

Adventures in a Pink Car by Mariella Carimini & Silvia Gattardi (@donnealvolante)

Stunning Travel Time-lapse video by Kien Lan (@kiendlam)

Jump For Joy Photo Project by Eyoälha Baker (@jumpforjoyphoto)

AND How to Capture the Northern Lights by Karl Johnston (Facebook.com/KarlJohnstonPhoto)

 

How To Get Your FREE 3 Month Subscription

(and check out my article!)

Step 1: Search in the App store of Newsstand for “Travel Longer” and download.

Step 2: Open app and tap “Subscriptions”

Step 3: Tap “Current Subscribers” and enter in the code – culture.

If you need more help or info, head over to Travel Longer Magazine here: http://travellonger.com/code

Again, this is only available on the iPad at the moment, so if you have one, read it and check out these other gnarly travelers! =)

 

 

To Haiti, With Love…to Film a Documentary.

Haiti Map

You’ve seen Haiti all over news networks and website for years as the face of disaster, suffering, and government corruption. I’m going to be straight forward with you — I’m sick of seeing this. The Haitian people I know are sick of seeing this. It’s journalism exploitation at it’s finest and we are going to flip this trend right on it’s damn face.

Yes, The country has faced numerous natural disasters and political corruption that has crippled the economy and repressed it’s people. But the citizens of Haiti are still a an amazing people, still strong, still kind, and the country still holds immense beauty. We plan to show you just exactly that.

This is going to be a short and sweet run-down of the project we’ll be heading the next two days.

The story will be one of hope, not of sadness. Viky, the Haitian heading the project, has made quite something out of himself in the US, and it’s time for him to return home and start giving back to his country. He wants the Haitian youngsters to know you can do big things with your life. And he wants the world to know Haiti is still a gem to be cherished. All the while developing this sustainable energy project.

My best friend, Sebastien Germaine, is Haitian. We have always planned to go to Haiti at some point just to give back, but things have always fallen through. This October we were going to travel there for a few weeks but work and other obligations stopped both of us.

Then, just a couple weeks ago, my friend David and I (who I do videography projects with) was approached by one of his aquaintences about filming a documentary on a sustainable energy project they are starting in Haiti. Here’s the kicker — We had to leave in 3 weeks with short notice. Instantly we agreed to take on the project, knowing this is simply an opportunity to use our skills for an amazing cause that we couldn’t miss. And luckily both my jobs were more than happy to give me last minute time off.

Here’s the thing…all you see about Haiti these days are images of crying mothers and children, poverty, and destruction.

All visual misery ever does with the majority of people is depresses them, and actually makes them want to be less involved because people don’t want to feel that way. Maybe they Tweet or Facebook something, maybe they mention how sad it is, and MAYBE they donate a few dollars. Then they push it out of their memory.

That doesn’t solve a damn thing.

We are going to be flying to Haiti for 10 days to show you exactly the opposite. We will be exploring the country, the culture, and meeting the people and showing you that there is so much more good still going on in Haiti. So much rich culture. So much beauty.

The project (and I’m no engineer so I’ll go more in depth later) is aiming to knock out a few of Haiti’s problems. On a basic level Haiti has poor waste management, very low access to reliable electricity, and a growing problem of de-forestation. Using the enormous amounts of waste, they are developing a prototype to turn this into clean burning coal which can be translated into electricity for cities. By doing this, they hope it will entice Haitians to dispose of their waste properly and stop chopping down forest to use the wood energy.

It will start small. We will be heading for 10 days to interview government officials, education officials, and others while signing the documents for the prototype. During this time, David and I will be filming EVERYTHING we do. We will be traveling all over the western half of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola and capturing the beaches, history, and people for you to see.

I’m really excited for this opportunity, and I feel this project will have some amazing potential to change the view the world has about Haiti.

Video Message from the Dead: Start Living Today.

Here is a very VERY personal video message that I recorder while visiting my Father’s gravestone this December on his birthday.

I recorded this video after writing a letter to him of things I never got to say to him before he passed. While writing this, I was struck with a sudden sense of understanding about my own life, what I want to get out of it, and how precious ever second of every day is.

I’m sharing this with you today because I feel it may offer you some encouragement, strength, and inspiration if you have been in similar life situations.

If you haven’t yet, read the post I had written about this previously to give you a little more insight into why Death Inspires me to Travel.

Video Message From The Dead: Start Living Today.