As a way to celebrate the new look of this blog, I wanted to share a few things you might not know about me. I try not to make the habit of talking about myself often, but every once in a while, I guess it couldn’t hurt:
I prefer to travel by ferry more than any other form of transportation. I am sure part of it is that I feel safer. I always make sure to know where the life vests are in case of an emergency, and although the food is overpriced, I can’t help myself but buy a snack or two. This should be surprising given… Read more →
No matter where you go in the world, chances are, there will be someone there ready to sell you their country’s edition of the Lonely Planet. Make no mistake, in today’s world where information can be shared quickly, efficiently, and effortlessly, knowledge is power. It has never been easier for even the most casual of travelers to take a trip abroad without many horror stories to follow. However, the method of gaining knowledge, probably shouldn’t have a big LP logo on it.
I have never done one of these ‘seasonal posts’ so bare with me. I have been thinking about which holiday to focus on and I settled that Christmas and I have a rocky enough history to be worth talking about.
When I was little, I loved Christmas, but as I grew older, the atheist in me wanted nothing to do with it. Many of us non-believers still celebrate it for the presents and not for any cultural tradition or anything noble like that. When I turned 21, I decided to boycott it altogether and although I got crap for it, I was able to hold off for 2 years.
Christmas at an Airport, 2009
Then I moved abroad, and celebrating it with the family was less of a choice. My buddy Vicente talked me into visiting China on Christmas vacation of 2009 and while he was totally right that it would be an amazing trip seeing all those Terracottas, I celebrated Christmas that year in Incheon Airport. In fact, I didn’t arrive in Chengdu until 3am on Dec 26th.
“You will totally love New Zealand. It has a great backpacker culture!”
And immediately, I cringed. It was just a reaction that I didn’t intend to offend with, but nonetheless it confirmed something I suspected long before I even arrived in New Zealand. I may be a guy who travels with a backpack, but I definitely did not fit the profile of a ‘backpacker.’*
I Wanted To Be A ‘Backpacker’ SO BAD!
My final year in Korea, I knew this was it. I regretted not doing it earlier, but I was set on traveling across South East Asia with nothing but a backpack and seeing where the wind would take me. There was something about ‘going without a plan’ and ‘meeting other travelers’ that sounded so cool and appealing. That is until I got started and realized, what a lot of people call ‘backpacking’ is not at all what I thought it was.
What is your greatest personal fear? I am not talking about spiders, heights, or drowning. I am talking about the big… huge picture kinds of things. My biggest fear in life is not doing the things I could have done when I was physically and mentally capable of doing them. While, of course, you can accomplish great things even at an advanced age, it is not a risk I want to take. I already feel sleepy when I am out too late, get winded in hikes that have steep slopes, and find that I no longer had the photographic memory I used to possess in my high school and college years. The clock is ticking and the time is now.
Upon paying off my debt of 42K in under three years, and surprisingly still having a big surplus, I had a difficult decision to make. There were huge job opportunities in both America and Korea. I could have also gone back to school to do a masters, or taken that money and invested it. There is one thing that none of those options would have given me though. The biggest perk, which is also probably the most expensive one to afford, is time.
For these reasons, I am taking 6 months off from working. While some people have called it excessive, unnecessary, and flat out lazy, I feel that personal growth is not something you should ignore. Working on yourself is what makes a person tick, what makes a life worth living. While in the past, I’ve definitely had vacation time, I always felt like I should use it to travel, since time was so limited. I never stopped to explore some of the other stuff that makes me happy.
What To Do With All of This ‘Time?’
While I definitely have used my free time effectively over the years (more on this later), there are a few things I want to accomplish: