The Beginning

After 5 years without an adventure more than a month long, I’ve been dreaming up a trip that would finally put an end to all my ceaseless fantasizing about a journey that is only vaguely defined, and therefore infinite with possibility. Too often am I tied to a schedule while I travel. Too often must I escape one reality simply because I have a looming return ticket to toss me back into the daily grind.

This time I decided to break from that narrative and give myself a year to travel the world without these stresses. Yes, a year. A whole one. Maybe longer. A year gives me the flexibility to meet new people with a certain openness and candidness. If time is not a factor in my dealings, then I can take the extra day to camp on an idyllic mountainside, have dinner with my new friends and their cousins, or just sleep the pain out of my legs after untold kilometers of riding my bicycle. I can ingrain myself in the lives of the people around me instead of just floating along the surface, taking things at face value.

To do this, I had to look critically at how I was spending my time and make a change. A real change, and reteach myself how to live from the ground up. Just because we all live a certain reality as Americans doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be critical of it. In fact just the opposite, we should be hyper critical and hyper aware of what this society deems important, and what it tends to neglect. Of course it’s quite difficult to see the forest through the tress. Immersed in our daily struggles, life is simply too confoundingly busy to give ourselves the chance to be critical. The torrential river of our daily lives forever flowing and crashing, a dull roar that only intensifies as we get older and take on more responsibilities.

The pious, supposed dignity that we assign ourselves for neglecting our most basic human instincts and instead putting our nose to the grindstone for a more “fulfilling” life is shortsighted at best. We take our best years and trade them for a paycheck, a little box to put our belongings in, and sense of pride for having made the right choices, the sensible ones. Indeed the most exciting thing most of us do week to week is go to a restaurant with our friends, toss a few back at the bar, see a show, dance to some music, then go to bed Sunday night, never having left your stresses for more than a few fleeting moments. Only to pile on more of them the next week, ad infinitum.

So am I suggesting that we all escape for a year and wander aimlessly? Most certainly not. Indeed this lifestyle is not for everyone, and it’s taken me years to develop my traveling prowess, my ability to find comfort in the unknown. No, I’m merely suggesting a shift in values. I think a lot of people haven’t had the chance to discover what it is they truly value. I think it takes time and honest effort to figure it out. I think our society is built on fear which inevitably leads to isolation. If we’re afraid of the outside world, we’re not asking questions about it. If we’re not asking questions, we become complacent with the reality we’ve been handed. A complacent citizen is a good citizen, by all metrics. They pay their rent, their taxes, their car payment, they swoon over the newest gadgets and trinkets, they invest in the idea that society is built to help them, not hurt them.

Take a step back and you’ll see that this is just a fraction of what life can truly be. Monthly payments are the lifeblood of this system. If we can free ourselves from the tyranny of these various debts, possibilities start to blossom as our bank accounts start to thicken. How many repeats of the same nights, at the same bars, with the same people, in the same town can we really stomach? The trade off is murky, but let me lay it out as I see it. For the same price, or cheaper, you could be sipping tea in an ancient Moroccan cafe, overlooking the hustle and bustle of a crowded marketplace. You could be hiking in the Andes, watching alpaca roam freely on a mountainside. You could be riding a Vespa on a coastal road in Italy, watching the sunset on the Mediterranean. You could literally be anywhere. But you’re innocuously choosing to stay right where you are.

You are powerful. Infinitely so. Your reality can change overnight if you want it to. Baby steps are great too. Some can’t handle overnight change, so don’t think of it as the only option. Just start scratching your itches, and I promise they’ll lead to more. This blog is my first true attempt to compile all my thoughts and experiences, into one cohesive product. I hope that my stories can be an inspiration to let go of some of these constructs that we’ve all been living with. I don’t have a real itinerary. I’m bad at itineraries. What I’m good at is making friends, riding my bike, and following my gut. So that’s the plan.

As I move from place to place, I’ll be doing my best to write about my experiences. I’ve been on a hiatus from social media, and I don’t intend to over use it on this trip. What I’m focusing on this time around is making something I’m really proud of. My goal isn’t to make money off this blog, nor is it to acquire as many friends and followers as possible. The goal is to share my experiences with the world, and hopefully inspire a few people along the way. Thanks for reading and stay tuned. My next post will be about Berlin, and I can’t wait to share it.

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