At the age of 27, I’ve decided to step away for a year, and travel around the world.
Five years into a successful career, a supportive employer, a wonderful friend group, a loving girlfriend. What gives? Why leave? Why now?
I don’t know. The world, it beckoned. It always beckoned, really. Now just felt right.
And so, in pursuit of knowledge, adventure, experience and understanding, I’m off.
I created a blog because there are many people in this world I care about and love. With this website I can try to continue to stay in touch with those people. I can explore the branches but remember my roots. I can share a glimpse into my silly wanderlust mind.
Ok, the decision has been made. I’m going to travel. What is the next step?
I knew I wanted to start by heading West. The South Pacific beckoned. From there, it made sense to continue west. New Zealand, and Australia. Eventually Southeast Asia. Asia. India. Africa. Europe. And so, the rough agenda sort of wrote itself.
The obvious first step was to look into flights. Of course, flights. But, something gave me pause. I had once read a book where a man spends a year traveling through Asia and India, but takes no flights. No aerial travel. The fact that he travels in this manner is totally tangential to the plot, but the concept stuck with me. He takes only trains and boats and ground transportation. The way he speaks of distance, and space, and the way he experiences the humbling size of the earth always stuck with me. I, too, harbored a desire to mentally map the immensity of our world.
Of course, any dolt could point out that the idea of traveling around the world with no flights is completely and totally impractical, from both a cost and basic logistical standpoint. A $100 per day budget and 12 short months are both rations far too meager. Still, the romantic heart cannot be easily dissuaded, and a mind once inspired by new horizons can never shrink back to its original size. Therefore, when my uncle mentioned crossing the Pacific by boat, and suggested I look into “repositioning cruises,” my ears perked up.
My research revealed that “Repositioning Cruises” occur when a ship completely changes its position in order to maximize its productivity. In the case of the Pacific Ocean, many cruise ships will spend half the year in Alaska and the other half the year in the South Pacific, crossing the Pacific every six months, thereby cruising in a state of perpetual summer. Although a cruise ship wasn’t my initial idea of adventure travel, I considered my desire feel every mile underneath me, and thought, what the hell.
As chance and good fortune would have it, I actually found a cruise that fit my budget. The ship left from Seattle, WA and, over a 25-day passage period, would stop in Hawaii, Fiji, two separate islands in Vanuatu, New Caledonia, and arrive in Sydney, Australia.
“You’ve just got to pick a date, and draw a line in the sand. Ya know, shit or get off the crapper,” a friend told me. I dragged my feet. The price of the cruise dropped, and then dropped again. I was totally new to the cruise industry, and the price seemed to fluctuate 10-20% weekly. What was this, the 2008 stock market? In a moment bravery, with a flash of fear, I booked the cruise. The line was drawn in the sand.
“Just one foot in front of the other, really” a wise person told me. Wrapping up my life in California was difficult, but not that difficult. Over the course of two or three months, I put my affairs into order.
I hugged, I kissed, I smiled and said more than a few “see ya”s (I tried to avoid “goodbye” wherever possible. I don’t really see it like that). People, in many different ways, understood.
The drizzly, wet Seattle day in October finally came, and I boarded the boat.
Time has a funny way of ticking. When you’re looking forward to a date, preparing for it in the future, holding it in your mind’s eye, it seems to glisten. It is larger than life. It’s like one of those moments you expect to define your life, like a graduation speech or a crowning achievement or the end of a five-year chapter. But once it passes, life has a way of pushing new gifts into your hands, of focusing your eyes on what’s in front of you. “Look at this and smell this and taste this and do this.” All of a sudden you think about that barrier you went through, and realize you need to squint into the rear-view mirror because it is already in the past, bobbing on a blue horizon.
The Plan for this Blog
I’m not positive how everything will shake out, but my plan will be to update this blog roughly every other week (twice per month). I believe that should give me enough time to run around, take photos, write, meet people and have experiences, and then consolidate them into a post.
I am happy to share, but certainly do not want to be pushy or to bug people. Therefore, if you would like to receive updates via email when I post, please go to the home page, scroll to the bottom, and click the “follow” box.
Other than that, stay in touch, and let me know what you think!
(Passport Mugshots – 2011 vs. 2016. I’ll have to do another comparison photo at the end of these travels!)