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Published: July 17th 2017
Well this one has been a long time coming. I've been trying to gather my thoughts and get a true grasp of what has transpired over my life the last sixteen months. A fruitless effort to say the least. It is impossible to put into words (especially when you lack the talent) how special this phase of my life has been. I sought out and chased after a lifelong dream and was able to find it in the incredible places I visited and the amazing people I met along the way. To all of my friends and the strangers that gave me a helping hand when I was down and out - a big thanks. The people I met along the way really enhanced my experience and I'll never be able to repay that and most I'll never see again. Perhaps I'll be lucky and years down the road a fellow traveler will look me up. All things told I was gone for 473 Days. The equivalent of 473 days is 67 weeks and 4 days. Equal to 11,352 hours or 681,120 minutes, or 40,867,200 seconds. Ya, I had a lot of time on my hands. So why does it seem
like I haven't been gone at all and that it was just yesterday I left? I visited a total of twenty countries all with their own form of uniqueness and magic. Some people ask me about money and costs, and I'm not going to go into it here. But trust me it does not cost as much as you would think. I spend way more money being home on a monthly basis than I ever did when I was traveling. At the end I came in way under the "budget" I set for myself. It takes a little hard work and hardship to travel on the cheap, but at the end of the day the experiences you are rewarded with cannot have a price or savings put on them. The big bad world is not so big and scary after all. I went - alone - and guess what; I was not murdered, maimed, or robbed. You could argue I never even got sick. Was I lucky, maybe. Was I smart and aware of my surroundings, mostly. I guess the point I am trying to make is that anyone can do what I have done. A little planning and a
burning desire is all you need and after you take that first step (which is the hardest part) and actually go, everything will fall into place. It always does and it always did for me and countless others before me. Now that I have returned home everything is like the first time again. Like when I went into the mountains and realized what a beautiful place I live in.
I've been home for just over a month now. It was an incredible feeling seeing my friends and family again for the first time in so long. Being back in my city, being back in my own house, seeing my cat, and oh how glorious it was to finally sleep in my own bed again have all been such a strange and exhilarating experience that only being gone for so long can provide. I'm still trying to process it all and take one slow step forward at a time. One thing I can say is that I don't regret coming home at all when I did. I always was going to and wanted to come back and I knew within myself that the time was right for me when I
made the decision to return. That decision has been validated these past few weeks. Something I feared the outcome of had I felt differently. I thought about how I've changed over the course of my travels and the things I've witnessed have certainly impacted me. I've seen the majesty of nature and also man's will to destroy it. I've rubbed shoulders with the uber-rich and slept in the streets with the poorest of poor. The disparity of wealth and lack of equality in this world is something no one should be proud of. The horrors of war and past conflicts have forever been imprinted on my mind and soul, but the welcoming and warmth shown to me from those most affected gives me hope.
The following two photos are of the day I left, and the day I returned. I don't know, maybe I haven't changed at all.
So once I did make it back home I didn’t do a whole lot. I just wanted to stay at my house which was actually a really nice thing to be able to do. After a little restlessness settled in I managed to go on a great camping trip amongst
friends. Spending time in the Rocky Mountains is always a favorite thing for me to do - either in the winter or the summer. This trip however proved to be such a vivid reminder of how lucky I am to live in the place I do. Hiking, dirt biking (where I was brought back to The Elqui Valley
) and the obligatory campfire were all on order and I was thrilled to have them all before me.
Eventually it was also time for me to return to work. Don't cry for me though as I have a very exciting venture ahead of me and am surrounded by great people. So as far as my future plans go, same old story. I do not have any. I'm going to live this life that has been given to me, do the best I can, be the best person I can, and see where the chips fall. I don't plan on writing about my life back here in the 5280 City (who would want to read that crap anyway?), but I do plan on keeping my website up and running. Perhaps someone will come across it and become inspired to pack their bag like I
did. Maybe someday I'll go back and read on some of the fantastic times I was so lucky to have. New memories are sure to be made back here Stateside and I'm excited to once again be a part of them.
Although I have been getting an itch lately to see what Africa is all about. To really go into the thick of things and get lost in the wilderness of one of the most exotic places on Earth. To share in the rituals and customs of a people that have been around for millennia. To go on the hunt with the Maasai. To drink the blood of a lioness. To exist on a different plane, to have another grand adventure. Nah, I couldn't do that. Or could I??????
See you on the road and I look forward to writing more in the future. Soon Mexico, Europe, and Annapurna writings and musings await.
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