I grew up with a full wall mural map of the world in my bedroom along with a shelf of encyclopedias and National Geographic magazines. I would read about all these places around the world, stare at my map and just imagine going to these places. I would spend a lot of time outdoors hiking, exploring, looking for adventure. It became clear to me that I had an explorer’s heart.
My Dad would take me and my Mom on road trips. I was always excited to hear whenever my Dad suggested a road trip somewhere. We traveled throughout much of the eastern U.S., some places in Canada and one day clear across the U.S. to the West Coast. All of it was amazing, the changing landscapes, flora and fauna, the mainstream tourist spots, odd side stops, caverns, forests, mountains, deserts, and mesas. I used to watch James Bond movies to boot. All those exotic overseas locales! I was enthralled. This further fueled my desire to travel.
As an young adult living in California, visits to Mexico abounded, that was my favorite nearby adventure spot. Clear blue water beaches, ancient ruins, jungles and cenotes. It was a marked change in culture, surroundings, flora, fauna and food.
I needed to venture further and started exploring the rest of the world, reaching the remotest of locations and all 7 continents. As I explored these places I couldn’t help but remember all the images from National Geographic and my Art History classes in college, we studied so much art and architecture. All of that became a reality, I’m telling myself that I’m here in the exact places I read about and studied.
My career in the Semiconductor industry was exciting and it became my first passion. I engaged in many local activities such as scuba diving, piloting a Cessna, skydiving (about 125 skydives) along with skydiving photography, snowboarding, and hiking. I would still travel somewhere once a year, having accumulated more vacation with seniority I started taking month long trips. The job that I loved funded my adventures. I even did some work travel overseas. But after many years the once a year vacation didn’t suffice any more. I still had so many places to visit on my bucket list, I realized at the rate of 1 trip per year I wasn’t going to get to all of them. Time was just marching onward and I was starting to notice that. We used to talk to each other about what we would do if we won the lottery, my answer was always the same, do about two years of non-stop world travel, and of course donate some to charity.
I wasn’t quite at retirement age but with sudden inspiration and a leap of faith I decided to pursue this dream. I sold my home and most of my stuff, quit my job and planned about 6 months of uninterrupted world travel.
I started with a road trip from California to Texas leaving a lot of friends behind. With Social Media today you can still keep contact and interact with your friends so that helped me ease the transition. I still miss my friends and colleagues.
My first jump overseas was the long awaited Greece, for two months, followed by Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Turkey, Romania, U.K., Morocco, Spain, Italy. I used up all the Schengen Visa (90 days out of 180 days rolling visa free travel) time in Europe, dispersed with non-Schengen countries. After 6 months in the European continent, I left Venice on the 89th Schengen day with a stopover in Lisbon. I returned to the U.S. landing in Miami. Upon re-entry the customs guys thought it was quite unusual that I did all that solo travel. I informed him that it was not that unusual and it’s a new trend. I had met many other people doing the same thing overseas.
After 3 weeks in Miami, I rented a car and did a road trip up the East coast to Montreal. That brought back many childhood memories for me. It was like time traveling when I arrived back to my childhood haunts.
My whole adventure went well, some minor glitches occurred (i.e. cancelled flight, speeding ticket, rental car mileage fraud) were circumvented and glitches are an inherent part of travel, but they were all handled.
I met up with friends in Chicago and Jamaica returning to Texas after nearly a year of travel, making Texas my new residence. I wasn’t ready to settle yet. It wasn’t long before I completed planning a trip to Iceland. I invited some friends to join me to Iceland and they accepted. This changed my travel logistics and dynamics but it was nice to have some old friends join me. Iceland was an amazing place but time to return home and start looking for a job? I was again thinking about the success I had with my first world trip and the longing to travel still lingered. That job plan was already thwarted, I wasn’t ready to stop traveling and outlined a new world travel plan. Planning a framework of cheap one way airplane travel dates along with hitting places I want to visit at the right season is a logistical full time job.
My current travel style is long-term nomadic with low – mid budget accommodations (i.e. Hostels, Airbnb, an occasional hotel). I find with hostels you meet like-minded people while focusing less on materialism and spending more of your money on experiences.
During my travels I met so many people, plus my friends back home that kept telling me I should start writing a travel blog. While back in Texas staying in an AirBnb, the host of the AirBnb said I should be writing about my travels. During that month in an Austin AirBnb I decide to go ahead an delve into a blog. It’s not easy to write about your travels while you’re planning and enjoying your travels. I hope my readers can bear with me on my postings. It’s more like journaling but I hope to enlighten and inspire anyone else who loves to travel but is not sure that they can accomplish this on their own and within their budget.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
– Robert Frost (The Road Not Taken)