02.03.2008 - 02.06.2008 50 °F
Back to last September in Costa Rica... One of the guys I met was an Aussie named Gavin who had been traveling for two years. I sat down and drilled him about details for an hour or so out of pure fascination. What was it like? Where did you go? How much did it cost? How can a normal person be expected to quit their job and drop everything to do such a thing? He told me one of the best lines I have heard at any time in my life:
Very simple: "It takes sacrifice."
Do you think it was easy to quit my job, pack my crap, sell my car, leave all my friends and girlfriend on a one-way flight to Cancun? Hell no. It was the hardest thing I have done since running a six-minute mile back in high school. I had to sacrifice a lot of what was dear to me to pull this thing off and I spent enough money to buy a nice car (all saved from the previous two years of working, NEVER ATTEMPT SUCH A TRIP WITH BORROWED MONEY.) I had to ignore the words of several nay-sayers who thought my travel plans were "not such a great idea" to say the least. (By the way, the most unsafe I ever felt on the trip was walking through downtown San Francisco.)
After a few beers and a bit of quick thinking, I proudly proclaimed to the Aussie guy, Dusty and Erin that I too would quit my job and travel around the world. I don't think anyone really believed me, including myself. (I wish I had Gavin's email address to send him my blog link now.)
- Here is supposed to be the section on which countries were the best, worst, best food, worst food, etc, but I simply don't feel like trying to categorize my travels like this anymore. I will say that my favorite country to travel in was Japan.
- Here is the part where I am supposed to talk about lessons learned: I will only say that I probably learned more this last year than any other year of my life. Talking to so many foreigners, and seeing so many other walks of life certainly gives you a perspective that cannot be achieved through any other means.
- I can never say that I wasted my youth.
- If the world map actually loads, you will notice that it is conspicuously blank around Europe, Africa, Middle East, and Indian subcontinent areas. I guess that is the next trip...
- I am certainly ready to be finished with the trip. My sense of wanderlust has been significantly attenuated... for now. I find that I have a new hunger for "normal life" and I am ready to hit a new job, or grad school, or whatever the hell I decide to do, with a vengeance.
Bye for now. I thank everyone who read the blogs, quickly browsed through the photos, or just opened the mass emails I sent along the way. I got a lot of positive feedback about the blog, and probably would have simply stopped out of laziness and frustration with unbelievably slow computers and internet access. (Seriously, you try to upload photos in Cambodia.)
I would like to give special thanks to all the wonderful new friends I met along the way that made the trip so special. From Megan, Lisa and Ben to Ofer and Rinse and everyone in between, you guys helped make this the best year of my life. Oh, and very special thanks to Erin for being there, by Skype or email, through more than a few lonely moments.
Back to the "real world" with my shiny new phone and laptop... and a custom tailored coat that I got back in 'Nam