My name is Ryan and I am honored you have graced my little travel-themed slice of the internet with your presence. This blog on the basic level is a collection of my travels and misadventures; an odyssey of oddities if you will indulge me — not to find myself but to create myself.
It is also, more importantly, to show others the beautiful cultures around the world, to encourage others to travel as much as possible, and to stoke the fire to become more eco-friendly humans and to make our world a better place for all living things.
To travel is to seek out true knowledge first hand. Discover cultures around the world with an open mind and naked eyes. Nothing else naked, don’t worry. Okay, there was that one time but that’s a story for another blog post. And sometimes I recount the tales when I land in hilariously awkward situations.
Will you get lost with me?
Ryan is a… wait, why am I writing in 3rd person? Forget that.
Rewind. My name is Ryan, and I’m a self-proclaimed corporate escape artist with a severe disdain for the mundane, a hammock addict, an adrenaline junky, and a dreamer. My story is yet to be finished, so I can’t write a true “about me” since I am a continual work in progress. I will tell you my story thus far, and I hope you will share yours in return.
A travel blogger by passion, photographer and videographer by trade, and a graphic designer. Sometimes I dress up like a warrior in foreign countries, or drive rickshaws for fun across India.
Dreams are a funny thing. They seem vaporous — something that appears and you try to grasp it and it drifts through your finger tips. At least that is what society wants us to think. But once you stop listening to what people say you can’t do, things come to fruition.
In 2011 I was the first person in my family to get a passport. It was as if I had opened up a chocolate bar and discovered a Willy Wonka golden ticket, albeit one issued by the government of ‘Murica with “sensitive tracking devices” inside. Either way, I was one super stoked guy who felt that the world had opened up for him. There may have been heel clicks involved and a happy dance. You will never see it.
Up until New Zealand stole my travel virginity (what a vixen she was…but she was gentle) I did what most people assume Americans do. I worked long hours to make money for some rich chump just to get by. I drank my weight in booze because days were miserable. I spent all of my money on big screen TVs and shiny junk to amuse myself. I bought into the ideals that were force fed to us through media. And I didn’t have any interest in what the rest of the world was like. I slurped in the idea of the “American Dream” as it was spoon fed to me while I lived to work and let my real dreams fall to the wayside.
“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
A Turbulent Past
Life and the world itself up until I was 20 was encased in the quarter-acre plot; home was where the heart lived, lied, broke, and died. Nothing outside a labor lifestyle encouraged. In my boyhood, my father was a drunk and my mother was a druggy. Yelling and beatings were the lullabies and police lights were my night-lights. For a very long time, up until my first trip abroad, I believed life existed the yellow asbestos-shingled house with brown shudders and a red door that I grew up in. A small town with a small town mentality.
That’s what I imagined all families were like.
Growing up, I was scolded daily by my father for my head being too much in the clouds. That I lived through my imagination too much. That my passionate pursuits like film or art or anything outside of blue-collar work was plain “stupid“.
That broken home was the only thing I knew, and it came crumbling down in the summer of 2007. The world as I knew it was left in a metaphorical pile of rubble. When I was 20 years old, I found my father’s lifeless body on the back deck of our house — a sight I wish nobody else to experience. Ever. He was there one second and gone the next. And so was the last anchor of reality as it had existed for me. My mother, years before, had taken her own life when I was in high-school. As a “momma’s boy” it was a heart-shattering period of my life, but at least I had the support of my father and brother to keep my mind from completely melting down. At least just having their presence, since we weren’t an emotion sharing family.
After my father’s death, I spent my early twenties floating from one city to the next stumbling through life in a fog of depression in which I drowned myself in alcohol. I glorified the sloppy blur that was life like a wannabe Gatsby. I spent all of my money on drinks and clubs and partying. I wanted to be someone better than what I was. I thought I had to be someone else to accomplish this.
And then one day, something bitch-slapped me across the face.
I was perpetually unhappy and using failed relationship after failed relationship, drunk night after drunk night, random hook-up after the next to temporarily fill the void inside me. There was always a feeling that I had — some unexplainable pull on my heart and soul that I thought would never be solved. And though I tried hard to solve this mystery with meaningless instant pleasures, it never was.
The change, and how it happened
How did this change happen? When I first saw the definition of the word “fernweh” and its meaning, I felt that I had discovered the root of my unhappiness. The mystery was solved. Fernweh is German for “Farsickness“, or a longing for somewhere you have never been. It was something I had always felt — a yearning for distant places that I was in love with and hadn’t even seen yet.
Something more than the sick cycle I was trapped in. A life bigger than just getting by. I had lived my life to work, and the deaths of my parents should have taught me to cherish the precious time I had each day. Instead, I was in the carousel of the American dream; get a job, forget about my dreams, save money to buy shining things, have my 2.5 kids, regret in old age the things I didn’t do, and die.
Life isn’t short unless you aren’t living it, and I had finally found my purpose. That is what drove me to become a traveler.
Instantly I began planning a trip and saving money. Life became clearer than it had ever been. After receiving my passport I quit my job, sold all (erm, most) of my worldly possessions, and took off to New Zealand without any knowledge of a nomadic lifestyle. And I did it with a one-way ticket, a year work visa, and a dive-in-head-first attitude.
Yes, it wasn’t as easy as I made it seem right there.
Yes, I was scared as hell.
No, it isn’t as hard as you might imagine.
My flight to New Zealand was the scariest moment of my life. I was alone, I was clueless, and I feared failure. But nothing easy is worth chasing. If I wasn’t experiencing these crazy emotions it wouldn’t be worth it.
The 8 months spent swinging life away in a hammock on white sand beaches, bungy jumping into sapphire blue lakes, kayaking to Narnia, and the unburdened life on the road taught me more about myself than ever. You could even say I became enlightened to an extent. Actually, I was just truly happy for once. Because I was living. I was self-aware for once.
Now it is clear. There is no other life for me than one of travel.
What’s Lost Boy Memoirs About?
Lost Boy Memoirs is a collection of 6 years of travel and adventures, of agonies and ecstasies of life on the road, and learning how to be a semi-permanent nomad. A collection of memoirs from personal experiences on the road, honest insight as I try to become a full-time nomad, stories of a past that haunted me and how travel helped me face that and my fight my depression, and a truthful resource for those looking to begin a life of travel.
Bottom line: I want to inspire you to chase your dreams and show you that anything trying to hold you down in life can be overcome if you are willing to fight for it. Only you can hold you back. I want you to embrace the fear of the unknown, upstart an internal revolution to escape the corporate cages, stop chasing the money pie-in-the-sky, and start chasing your dreams.
From time to time I share personal memoirs or an emotional story, but my overall writing style is a bit goofy, a bit odd with the lingo (nifty and gnarly among others), and very un-influenced by social and travel blog norms. I have a passion for poetics on occasion and a penchant for the slap-in-the-face inspirational articles.
Why Am I Lost?
For the first year of travel, I was still searching for myself. I thought that somewhere out in the world I would just find that better version of Ryan, and that I would prove my brother and my father and my mother that I could be someone. It had detrimental effects, and when I returned home early from New Zealand never having found that “better” me abroad even after traveling, the depression got worse. I felt like a failure.
That is when I decided I finally needed to live for me.
Not to prove my self-worth to others. It didn’t happen quickly — it took hitting rock-bottom for me to change that aspect of my life as well. Since then, travel has given me something to strive for, and something to work on myself so I could continue traveling.
What Travel Means to Me
Travel is the best source of knowledge I’ve ever had.
Education was never given much thought or nurturing when I was growing up. In high school, I was told I would end up working at the job my father worked at no matter what I did. So, I never tried very hard. I didn’t care to learn anything. Now travel has given me an insatiable thirst for knowledge and learning, and the countries I’ve been to have taught me more about myself and about the world outside of what we are taught to view it as in school and society. Travel, to me, is the best form of education.
I don’t travel to find myself, but to create myself.
I try to do so with a childlike spirit at all times. I’m not wee little Ryan anymore, but I believe that young kids truly have the ability to see the world without the restraints or influences that age and society set upon us. Children have the innate ability to see people as people; not race or sex or religion or job title or monetary value. Just as a new friend to explore the reaches of imagination — where anyone can be an adventurer or mountain climber or archeologist or singer.
Except, you don’t want to hear my karaoke. Trust me.
With this mentality of seeing the world with a childlike spirit, I hope to embody the pure form of humanity; the wonder and endless excitement of knowledge and new experiences, and to see people and cultures around the world through the naked eyes that don’t see borders, but see friends.
Of course, unless you try to mug me, then we’ve got issues.
“Let me tell you something kid; Everybody gets a chance to do something great. Most people never take that chance, either because they’re too scared, or they don’t recognize when it spits on they’re shoes”
The Babe, Sandlot
Now doesn’t that quote get the inspirational juices flowing! He’s correct, you know? Maybe you’ve never seen Sandlot — a movie about youth in America where the spirit of a famous baseball player, Babe Ruth, comes to a kid and tells him to grab destiny by the metaphorical (base) balls.
Well, in the real world, spirits don’t often come to us in the night to slap us in the face with inspirational enlightenment. In the real world, you and I have to make a choice — To live a life of our own making, or to live by the rules of others.
I know what I choose, what about you?
Let’s be honest, it ain’t that easy, is it? It’s not just a snap of a finger and lickety-split you’re frolicking free through fields of flowers with unicorns pooping rainbows in the distance. For one, I know I wouldn’t be, I’m terribly allergic to pollen and unicorn poo.
Dark? Yes. True? Very. Easy? Not at all. But life is life, and it’s what you decide to do with yours that matters!
So how do we live this storied dream of travel and adventure that is slapped all over BuzzCrud websites and “Top 10 Places You’ll Probably Never Go To Actually” articles?
That’s where this travel blog comes in.
Lost Boy Memoirs was started to help those like myself who never felt there was much for them in life beyond “the norm”. For those of us who were raised to think what we have is all that we get in life. For those who know deep down that there is so much more to be had in life and dreams to be chased.
Maybe you’re tired of waking up and mumbling a big ole’ F-bomb.
Maybe you don’t know how to get started with this crazy idea of traveling.
Maybe you want to join a tribe of people like yourself taking on the unthinkable?
Good. Because dammit, I want you to chase your dreams!
Will share in this crazy adventure with me? Will you join this tribe of Lost Ones not trying to find ourselves, but to create ourselves, and live this crazy dream of world travel?
Not all who are lost need to be found. Are you ready to take the leap?