A Travellerspoint blog

Unemployed in the USA

overcast 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.)

Miscellaneous Thoughts:

- 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.

The End

Tom

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Back to the "real world" with my shiny new phone and laptop... and a custom tailored coat that I got back in 'Nam

Posted by tommydavis 07:40 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Full Circle in the Land of Pura Vida

sunny 90 °F
View The Big Trip on tommydavis's travel map.

To view full size photos and captions click here:
http://www.travellerspoint.com/photos/gallery/users/tommydavis/

Last September I took a one-week trip to Costa Rica with a couple of engineering friends. I was one of an unfortunate class of people that I now call "two-weekers." These poor bastards who only get two weeks a year off of work and try to make the most of it by squeezing as many activities as possible into a sorely limited window of time. (What developed country would only give its citizens two weeks of vacation a year?)

As an even more unfortunate "one-weeker", I met several people who were pulling off trips of several months or more, and I was absolutely in awe. After all, who's subconscious does not harbor the slightest desire to wander to an unknown place with only what they can fit on their back? Well, I listened with fascination to tales of exotic lands and unadulterated fun and, after weighing the pros and cons of doing such a trip myself, making the decision to "piss-off" for a year was not very difficult. (More detail about this particular ramble in the next update.) What more appropriate place to finish off my year abroad than to return to Costa Rica, the "Land of Pura Vida?"

So what did I do this time around? Absolutely nothing new. I basically went to the same places and did the same things. It was nice to know what buses to catch, where to stay, etc, for a change. As you can see from the pictures, there was some surfing, Frisbee on the beach, zip lining and a disproportionate amount of partying. (Hey, I am finally able to celebrate the end of this massive trip!)

This time around, I was the guru traveler who knew all the ins, outs, and what-have-yous of skipping around the world. The "two-weekers" were in awe of my countless stories (perhaps by now, some of those stories are a bit exaggerated.) In fact, most of my sentences seemed to start with "When I was in Guatemala...", "A few months ago in Japan...", or my personal favorite: "Back when I was in 'Nam..." Either way, hanging out in "Gringolandia" ended up being a very pleasant way to spend my last few days abroad.

My faithful watch finally broke and border agents now give me a dirty look because they cannot find room for another stamp on my passport. Well, 376 days and 17 countries later, I suppose someone is telling me that it is time to go home.

Tom

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Hmm... where should I go?

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Strawberries in the clouds

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The intent is nice, the English: not so much

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Alajuela church

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Bottle cap checkers in the park

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Los hombres del carne

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Fruit market

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The road to the beach at Malpais

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Log's view of the beach

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Tough life at "Tranquilo Backpackers" in Malpais

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Low tide rock view

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Clear tide pools

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I could spend a few days here

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Majestic dog

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Night on the town in Malpais

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I caught some gnarly waves out here

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Parrot on the beach

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Sunset Frisbee

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Swells rolling in

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Jordan doing a back flip

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Fun in the sun(set)

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Footsteps

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Pretty big party hostel

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Beach bonfire

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Montezuma bridge view

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Walk to the waterfall

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Nice for swimming

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The "thing to do" in Montezuma is drink rum and coke on the sidewalk (with English Sam, Israeli Ofer, and Dutch Rinse)

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Gleefully holding a six-pack ring at the beach, hmm...

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Starry sky view

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One last beach shot

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Israeli food sounds a bit ambiguous...

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Picked up some bad habits in Costa Rica

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Three second expose of a Lucky Strike

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Ofer found what he claims to be "Costa Rican Lembas Bread"

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Wake view of the Nicoya Peninsula

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Makeshift mango cart

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Jungle zucchini in Monteverde

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Zip lining in the cloud forest

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After over a year of travel, do I look older?

Posted by tommydavis 07:26 Archived in Costa Rica Comments (1)

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