It is now just over two months since I decided to quit the best job I ever had at Apple, sell most of my possessions, strap on a bright new pair of red Chucks, and start traveling the world. It is the best decision I have ever made in my life.
Trust me, I am a complete noob at travel. It’s funny to me when I realize how little I know about the lifestyle of travel, and this planet in general. All that does is help amplify my hunger, and let lose my inhibitions. I do still have a lingering fear about running out of money, not finding work, and all of the other stuff that may freak you out about travel. But I realized it comes with this kind of life, so I’m just going to roll with it.
Over the past 60+ days I have experienced more than I have in the past two years living in the United States. I have had an enormous period of personal growth and learning, and it made me realize just how damn ignorant I was about the rest of the world. I was pretty closed off to everything else outside of my life really.
Meeting new people? Forget that.
I would just pop in my headphones, throw on some shades, and hope nobody bothers me. Since I have been in New Zealand, I have gotten to know more people legitimately than I can remember, and made some amazing new friends.
Learning about other cultures? Nah.
Before now, I wouldn’t be interested the slightest bit in becoming more familiar with other cultures or ways of life. It wasn’t because I didn’t give a damn, it was just the way I was raised. My family was all about the work. If it didn’t apply to the punch in/out everyday, or add to the paycheck, then it didn’t fit. Now, I have traveled with plenty of different people from all over the world and I have a tremendous hunger for knowledge.
Growing up, I was always taught to embrace the cycle, that cycle of getting a 9-5 and accepting that all I can do is break my back for the next twenty years and enjoy a few vacation days off a year. Now that I have been outside the safety bubble for a couple of months, I am so glad I metaphorically dropped my pants and mooned the corporate world on my way out of the country.
Being abroad has shown me that I am a puzzle piece that would have never fit into the picture.
There were some things in my life that I could never figure out until now. Though I may have come off as a happy person, I was absolutely miserable. No matter how good the job, I would always end up despising some part of it.
Some might say I was pretty optimistic, but it was a front to sugar coat how I really felt. I was a horribly negative person secretly, and I complained so damn much. This was all directly connected to the simple fact that I wasn’t living life the way I wanted, I was living it the was I was expected to. I was living to work, not working to live, nor was I listening to my inner calling (unless my stomach growled).
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs
So, what has travel taught me thus far? Besides how disgusting Vegemite is, how much it hurts to land on your face from a rope swing, and how many times I can wear a shirt over and over before it becomes a biohazard? Travel has taught me to be open. Open to opportunity, because when you are closed of, you will ignore it, and kick yourself in the ass later. Open to meeting new people, because there are awesome new friends all over this planet that you just haven’t met yet. Most of all, finally be open to the idea that you can live the life you want.
Below is a list of the first time experiences since I began traveling two months ago. I tried to recall everything, but I’m sure I left some out. Some first time experiences may seem a bit crazy or shocking, but I didn’t have much exposure to the rest of the world before this! Give me a break people.
- First long distance train ride (Amktrak Washington, DC – Los Angeles, CA)
- First time flying to another country (New Zealand, obviously)
- First birthday abroad, and I drank way too much Jäger…(Auckland)
- First time taking a road trip with people I met an hour before (Up to Cape Rainga)
- First time Couch Surfing, and I can’t wait to do it more (Whangarei)
- First Thanksgiving abroad, which was by a fire roasting wieners, and not knowing it was Thanksgiving (Cooper’s Beach)
- First Christmas abroad where I chillaxed on a black sand beach (Raglan)
- First time celebrating New Years Eve abroad, but didn’t land my first kiss on New Years Eve. Damn. (Wellington)
- First time WWOOFing, and it resembled a Stephen King novel (Lower Hutt)
- First visit to Narnia, or Cathedral Cove. Same difference. (Hahei)
- First time white water rafting, and first time they had a camel in the raft (Rotorua)
- First time absailing, or spelunking. Spelunking is much more fun to say (Waitomo)
- First time Bungy Jumping, and longest curse word I ever said (Taupo)
- First Canyon Swing, where I nearly pissed my pants for the first time since a baby (Taupo)
- First real Chicago deep dish pizza, and I wanted to make love to it (Gino’s East)
- First time trying a Pavlova, oh sugary goodness! (Waterloo)
- First Hāngi feast, where I tried red snapper and mussels for the first time (Maungaturoto)
- First time trying Israeli coffee, and damn is it strong! (Paihia)
- First time eating a meat pie, which led to the current addiction, omnomnom (Auckland)
- First time I had Naan bread, I know, how couldn’t I have. But it’s true, and it is delicious! (Wellington)
- First time even having a travel blog!
- First paid article – Auckland, Round 2 (For NetFlights)
- First sponsored trip I scored from Nomads Hostels, in exchange for writing as though I was a camel (Clarence the Camel Goes Rafting)
- First time I wrote consistently everyday, and I am loving it
My brain hurts from thinking about all the epicness that has occurred in the past couple months, it can even be considered a mind fuck. But that is the bulk of it. If you haven’t started traveling yet, you’re missing out severely.
I wouldn’t say that I am spiritual now per se, but I can see exactly why backpackers feel like they are. Living in the mystique of the unknown, and traveling to distant places you have never been, there is a great sense of freedom and belief that anything is possible. And it is.
Stop living someone else’s life, and start chasing your dream fool!
What was your first couple months traveling like? Did you have similar experiences of awesomeness or personal growth?