Why we should travel while we’re still young

The other night, I had a conversation with this woman at the bar who had a number of decisions ahead of her, which included whether she should further her education or travel the world.

I told her to travel. Hands down. No excuses. Just go. The results are worth the costs. And she sighed.

“Yeah, but…”

Never were more fatal words spoken:

  • Yeah, but… what about money?
  • Yeah, but… what about my job?
  • Yeah, but… what about my boyfriend or dog or car or whatever?

“Yeah, but…” is pernicious. Because it makes it sound like we have the best of intentions when really we are just too scared to do what we should. It allows us to be cowards, while sounding noble.

Most people I know who waited to travel the world never did. Conversely, plenty of people who waited for grad school or a steady job and traveled still did those things — eventually.

Be careful of the yeah-but. The yeah-but will kill your dreams.

The life you’ve always wanted

When you get older, life seems to just sort of happen to you. Your youth is a time of total empowerment. You get to do what you want.

But as you mature and gain new responsibilities, you have to be very intentional about making sure you don’t lose sight of what’s important.

So if you still have a reasonable amount of control over your circumstances, you should do what really matters. Because life won’t always be just about you.

During early adulthood, your worldview is still being formed. It’s important to steward this time — to give yourself opportunities to grow. A good way to do that is to travel.

So, young person, travel. Travel wide and far. Travel boldly. Travel with full abandon!

You will regret few risks you take when it comes to this. I promise you that. There are three reasons to travel while you’re young:

1. Traveling teaches you to live an adventure

When you look back on your life, you will have moments of which you are proud and maybe a few you regret. It’s likely that the following won’t be on the latter list:

  • Skydive over the Palm in Dubai.
  • Backpacked Vietnam on one leg.
  • Shotgun a beer with a monkey.
  • Learned to surf in Portugal.
  • Toured Sri Lanka by public transportation.

They’re not on mine (fun fact: I’ve done all of the above). So what, then, will be? What choices will you regret making? Holding back. Being afraid. Making excuses. Not taking more risks. Waiting.

While you’re young, you should travel. You should take the time to see the world and taste the fullness of life. It’s worth whatever investment or money or sacrifice of time that may be required on your part.

This is not about being a tourist. It’s about experiencing true risk and adventure so you don’t have to live in fear for the rest of your life. And it’s about remembering and sharing your adventure, and inspiring others to step out of that fear, too.

2. Traveling helps you encounter compassion

In our youth, we will make choices that will define you. The disciplines you begin now will be with you for the rest of your life.

Traveling will change you. It will put you in places that will force you to care for issues that are bigger than you.

If you go to southeast Asia, you may encounter the slave trade. If Africa, you may see how far someone needs to travel just for a bucket of water a day. If Haiti, you’ll witness the the ugly side Western paternalism.

Your heart will break.

You will begin to understand that the world is both a big and small place. You will have a new-found respect for the pain and suffering that over half of the world takes for granted on a daily basis. And you will feel more connected to your fellow human beings in a deep and lasting way. You will learn to care, and you might even find a way to speak up for the people you encounter who need a voice. You will start to see pass race, sex, age, religion, etc.. It will strive you to be better and to go out and make a difference!

3. Traveling allows you to get some culture

While you’re still young, you should get cultured. Get to know the world and the magnificent people that fill it. There’s nothing quite like wondering the streets of Marrakech or seeing Gaudí’s la Sagrada Familia in person.

The world is a stunning place, full of outstanding works of art. See it.

Do this while you’re still young. Do not waste the time. You may never have it again.

You have a crucial opportunity to invest in the next season of your life now. Whatever you sow, you will eventually reap. Please. For your sake, do this. Because you won’t always be young. And life won’t always be just about you.

So travel. Experience the world for all it’s worth. Become a person of culture, adventure, and compassion. I’ve learned more in the past year traveling than I have in highschool and college.

“What if I’m not young?”

Travel, anyway. It may not be easy to do, but find a way to get out of your comfort zone. It’s really never too late. I met a 37 yr old female solo backpacker in Sri Lanka who was just out exploring the world and seeking to find herself again. I traveled from Portugal to Spain with a couple that was 42 and 45. You are only as old as you make yourself to be. Just remember to be open-minded!

But if you haven’t gotten sucked into the routine of life yet, I implore you — travel. It will never be easier than it is right now for you to do that which really matters.

So what are you waiting for? Stop making excuses and Take that leap! The world is yours.. get out there and live it!

What this superbowl actually means to Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Eagles are Superbowl LII champions! But this championship is more than just a franchise winning it’s first ring. It’s 57 years without a championship, it’s generations and generations of family being left broken hearted year after year, it’s four straight NFC championships and no rings, but most importantly it’s a city becoming one..

Eagles fan are one of the most loyal and craziest fan base in the NFL.. scratch that.. the world! As the rest of the world seen us “rioting” and “burning our city down”.. What I seen was completely different. I seen a city rejoicing, strangers hugging each other and flooding the streets with tears of joy, a city coming together for the first time in awhile.. It didn’t matter what color, race, age, gender, a cop, or what ever else society likes to separate us as.. Sunday night February 4th, 2018 we were one big family..

A city known as “Killadelphia” and for it’s tough brotherly love, it was completely opposite of that on sunday. As a city we united. Yes we tend to get carried away.. We’re Philadelphians, the craziest assholes you’ll ever meet, but don’t let that take away the fact of how devoted we are and how loving we can be once we let you in as “our brother”.

The fight, heart, faith, and family-ish feel of this team is what Philly is all about. From being underdogs and no one believing in us, to the tough “brotherly love” feel in the locker room. I myself could not be any happier of this team win or lose. They reminded me of why I love my city. For the longest time i hated Philly and avoided coming back home. After being reunited with friends and family during a time like this.. It hit me like a brick wall. I do miss Philly and will forever always love it because there is no other place in the world like it! Thursday will be filled with hundreds of thousands fans screaming and yelling in pure bliss on broad street! The city will be blasting “dreams and nightmares” and dancing as one. The motherfucking Vince Lombardi trophy is PHinally here in Philly! World champs!

This city has been waiting a long time for this moment and the world is against us and calling us amimals.. Well for you my friend.. We would just like to say Fuck You! No one likes us, and we don’t care! E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!!

The reality behind Traveling no one talks about..

You travel the world, try new things, meet new people, fall in love, visit all these amazing places, learn about other cultures.. then its all over.  People always talk about leaving, but what about coming home?
We talk about the hard parts while were away.  Finding real jobs, settling down, moving out of your parents, making real friends, making good life choices, learning social norms.. But these are all parts you get through.  All of these lows are erased by the highs you experienced.  The goodbyes are difficult but we know they are coming, especially when you purchase that plane ticket back home.  All these sad goodbyes are bolstered by the reunion with your family and friends you have pictured in your head since the first day you left.IMG_20180104_135619_960.jpg

You finally return home, have your reunions, the next couple weeks you spend just catching up with friends and family, telling stories, and talking about the good old days.  You’re on top of the world for the first couple weeks.  You’re a star.  Everyone wants to hangout with you and hear all about your travels and then it just all goes away..  Soon enough you being home is old news. Everyone goes back to living their lives just like they were while you were gone.  Soon enough the questions start coming.. When are you gonna settle down? Do you have a job? What’s your plan?  When are you going to move out of your parents?

Reality starts to hit you.  You’re sitting in your childhood bedroom and realize nothing has changed. You’re glad to see everyone happy and healthy and yes, people have gotten new jobs, engagements, homes, etc., but part of you is screaming don’t you understand how much I have changed!? And I don’t mean appearance, I mean whats going on inside your head.  The way your dreams have changed, the way you look at life, the way you perceive people differently, the habits you’re happy you lost, the new things that are important to you.  You want everyone to recognize this and you want to share and discuss it, but theres no way to describe the way your spirit evolves when you leave everything you know behind and force yourself to step out of your comfort zone.  You know you’re thinking differently because you experience it every second of every day inside your head, but how do you communicate that to others who just don’t understand what you seen and did while traveling?IMG_20171222_023239_152.jpg

You feel angry.  You feel lost.  You have moments where you feel like it wasn’t worth it because nothing has changed but then you feel like its the only thing you’ve done that is important because it changed everything.  You made so many strange foreign places your home, that once you’ve actually returned home, you feel like a stranger..  Its like learning a foreign language that no one around you speaks so there is no way to communicate to them how you really feel.
This is why once you’ve traveled for the first time all you want to do is leave again.  They call it the “travel bug”, but really its the effort to return to a place where you are surrounded by people who speak the same language as you.  Not English, Arabic, Spanish, or French, but the language where others know what its like to leave, change, grow, experience, learn, then go home again and feel more lost in your hometown then you did in the most foreign place you visited.
This is the hardest part about traveling, and its the very reason why we all run away again, time after time.. IMG_20171225_144233_226.jpgreceived_10159786684905156.jpeg

 

 

Is solo traveling for me? 

There are a number of reasons why people chose to travel solo. It could be as simple as none of your friends want to go, or you just want to travel. It could be something more meaningful, like you want to go on a self discovery journey and find yourself, or prove to yourself you can do it. You might even be running away from something, or just want a change, something new or want the freedom. The reason you want to travel solo is yours. However you will undoubtedly grow as a person, learn so much about yourself and what your truly capable of. Traveling will open your eyes and can be one of the best life lessons you will ever receive.

My favorite part of solo traveling is the ultimate feeling of freedom, there is nobody to answer to but yourself. (that can be hard enough at times.) Every decision you make is yours, right or wrong everything is your choice. You chose when to move onto the next destination, when to go on an excursion, you decide if you want to lounge around on a beach or trek up a mountain. You chose when you want to be sociable or not. If you travel in a group, sometimes you need to compromise and even sacrifice what you want to do in favor of what the group wants. In groups trips are organised to accommodate you all, when your solo traveling you pick and chose when and what you want to do. Everybody in a group has an opinion and wants to do different things but when you’re a solo traveler it’s all on you.

A common misconception is traveling solo means being on your own all the time; it doesn’t. Even though you are solo and will be alone sometimes, you will come across people every single day. From the airport flying out to your destination, to the hostel or accommodation you’ve chose, to activities you do. You will meet a mixture of travelers and locals it’s just up to you who you want to make friends with; there is no obligation. Ask any solo traveler and they will tell you how easy it is to make friends traveling.

When going solo try staying at hostels instead of hotels and AirBnBs. Hostels are an unknown entity if you’v never stayed in one, you just don’t know what to expect or what goes on in them. You might think of a hostel as just a cheap place to sleep but they can become much more. Hostels are not hotels, so don’t expect hotel quality. Hostels are more communal, good to meet new people which is great for solo travelers, the best of friendships have been formed in hostels. What you can expect is shared spaces, social hubs, shared enmities and like minded people, there will undoubtedly be other solo travelers there too.

Hostels can become the cornerstone of your traveling experience; I know people who had a better time in a hostel and the people they shared it with rather than the place they were in (myself included). Sometimes the hostel can become the closest thing you have to a home and give you some much needed comfort. When arriving in a hostel be open minded, be receptive to what’ going on; anything and everything can go on in a hostel.

Solo traveling can be one of the best experiences of your life. It all depends on your attitude though.  It’s what you make of it. People will feed off your positive energy and vibe. Just be yourself because deep down who cares what people there think of you cause most likely you’ll never see them again. So get out there and make a fool out of yourself! Dance like there’s nobody watching! Most importantly be yourself, and remember that normal is boring! 

Here’s a couple tips for solo traveling:

  • Travel smart, act like you know what you’re doing even if you don’t.
  • Enjoy your travels, take your time and don’t get stressed over little things.
  • Pack light but practical (You’re carrying that backpack everywhere you go.)
  • Be open minded, adaptable, receptive to change and be willing to grow.
  • If things go wrong, look at it as part of an adventure not the end of the world.
  • Be prepared for anything to happen.
  • Put yourself out there to make friends. You don’t need to spill your life story just be open enough to make friends.
  • Don’t be a travel snob.
  • Keep important items like passports on you when traveling from one place to another.
  • When you’re feeling lonely, try to not let it take over you.
  • It’s your trip, you do what you want with it and how you want.

My night in Marrakech, Morocco 

So as promised.. I said I would start posting my drunken adventures while traveling the world. Please keep you negative comments to yourself cause quite frankly I don’t give a damn. Its my life and I’m living it how I want to. Sooo here we go… 

It’s my first night in Marrakech and Im out doing what I love most, roaming the streets without a plan or a clue where I’m going. I stumbled upon this rooftop bar overlooking the city and the atlas mountains.  It was beautiful, everything you could ask for but I wasn’t really in the mood to drink much since I was at a club till 4am the night before in Casablanca with some local I met on tinder. But anyway so I decide to wonder more and get some dinner and head home to rest considering I had a big day climbing mountains and swimming under waterfalls the next day. 

I find this nice French restaurant and enjoy an awesome dinner by myself along with a few drinks. So I pay my bill and start to walk to my apartment.. So I thought.. On my way out I was approached by a cook(Ralph) who’s shift just ended and we started talking. He found it insane that I was traveling alone. He then insisted to take me out and show me how the locals actually party.  Hungover/hurting/tired but I simply cannot say no when it comes to partying. So without hesitation I said yes! 
We immediately become bestfriends. He took me to some little local bar owned by his cousin for some cheap drinks.  Next he took me to like a local Moroccan bar like if you weren’t from there you wouldn’t know it existed. Their was some weird music playing and just shit you see in the movies, older Moroccans banging on their bangos or whatever there called n singing and theres belly dancers all around me and just some weird shit going on but it was awesome! 

Soo were drinking having a blast getting dumb drunk. Then he says hey I’m gonna call my friend(Vale) to see what she’s doing and if she wants to drink with us. Then we go to another local spot ran by his friend. We order a bottle wine (red which i hate) and a bottle of champagne and double whiskeys. At this point I’m shitfaced were ripping shots of espresso just to be alive. All of sudden she comes in and she is straight gorgeous! I’m like thinking in my head yea your definetly sitting on my face tonight! We immediately connect and now were all getting tanked at this bar and I thought OK were just going to chill here and have a not so crazy night…  Boy was I wrong.. 

So they take me to a local club like some underground shit! We get 2 bottles of Johnnie walker for 3 of us. This club is nuts its like Arabic music blasting, people dancing on bars, everyone just having a blast i even think the King himself made an appearance(probably not I was just really drunk at this point). I make some more friends with locals I’m running around pouring whiskey down peoples throats and then out of no where this guy jumps on stage and starts singing a song about me with my name in it. Kinda weird but it was cool.  Next thing I know Ralph the guy who brought me there is passed out on the DJ booth. He gets thrown out so its just Vale and me now. I didn’t wanna leave with him cause we were vibing, and I made alot of friends there. So we stayed and danced the night away, at one point I was on stage shirtless.. So its like 4 am and we decided to go home so we ordered a 3rd bottle and took it back to my place… But… I’m so drunk i don’t know where my apartment it. We had our taxi driver drive us all around Marrakech looking for it as I’m sitting there with my head out the sunroof slamming a bottle of Johnny walker. 

Finally we find it.  We go to the roof and stay up all night finishing the bottle and what not as the sunrises. Soo i have a tour at 830 and she wouldn’t leave cause she wanted money for a taxi because she left her purse in the club but refused to go with me to the ATM to get money.. So now were yelling and stuff cause she thinks I’m just kicking her out.  Meanwhile it 845 and I have the Brady bunch(my tour group) outside waiting to pick me up for this tour.. I’m already late. They’re getting all pissy on me and im just stuck arguing with her. So finally I order her an uber and got her out.. Meanwhile I’ve been up all night I’m piss drunk at 9 am and i smell like stale beer and bad decisions. I have Cindy Lou and the fucking hoeville over here just eyeing me up while I’m forcing myself to puke so I could sober up a little.

So now were climbing up mountains and hiking to get to places and it was just terrible i threw up in the river and all the locals looked at me all pissed off like i just pissed in there Cheerios like my bad Steve calm down.. But once we got to Ouzo waterfall and got to play with monkeys it was well worth the hike! The hangover was instantly cured and I got to enjoy what was one of the best experiences of my life in the Atlas mountains.. With a tour group that completely hated me.. 

Moral of the story “Say yes to new adventures, and you’d be surprised to what the world has to offer”

Embrace your weirdness, be yourself!

Throughout life we all do some outrageous things just to fit in. Like wearing tight jeans to fit in with your skater friends or baggy clothes so the people who thought they were “gangsters” liked you or even acted a certain way around specific people. We change ourselves to be cool, popular, and known. You pretend to be something that isn’t really you. And for what? To have others accept you for who you truly aren’t…

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Don’t be scared to be yourself. Never change who you are so that other people will like you. In the end the only thing that matters is your happiness and inner peace. Who cares what people think about you. If they don’t accept you for who you are, then they truly aren’t your friend and don’t deserve you. You are unique! You were made the way you are for a reason.

Majority of my life I pretended to be something I’m not. Until one day I took a long hard look in the mirror and realized I’m not happy, this isn’t the real me. From that day on I started living my life how I wanted to. I didn’t give a damn what people had to say about me or who liked me or who didn’t… and honestly this is the happiest I’ve been my entire life. I love that I’m weird because being normal is just boring. Embracing it is what made me into the fun, wild, friendly, caring, and passionate human I am today.

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Be yourself and the right people will love you. The world is full of friends just dying to meet you. Embrace your weirdness, for it is what defines us. Its your life. Make the most of it. Dress however you want. Be as weird as possible. Do what makes you happy. Be crazy, be weird, don’t be afraid of what anybody thinks!

Why you should volunteer more

Many of us were blessed with such a beautiful life. A roof over our head, food on the table everyday, and an education to better our lives.  And we take it for granted! Not everyone can be that lucky.  Some have none of those things at all.  Now I don’t know about everyone else but god certainly did not put me on this planet to just stand by and watch others struggle, while I live a rich and healthy life.

When I was in Barcelona and Madrid I noticed that there were many homeless men and women.  So every morning I went and got 20 – 1 Euro coins and as I would walk around touring the cities I would hand a Euro or two out to those in need on the street begging for help.  One day one of the older woman I was touring with asked me “why do I do that?” I was shocked.  I didn’t know what to say.  Not because I wasn’t sure why or lost for words but because this woman was questioning why I was helping others..  It blew my mind that there are people out there that think like that. That they are above everyone else.

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The reason to volunteer isn’t to get rewarded or a pat on the back.  For me I want to bring Faith, Hope, and Love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need.  If I can change someone’s day and make them smile, that is my reward!  You never know how much something so small can mean the world to someone. Who knows you might be the reason they survive another day.  Whether its bathing dogs at the shelter, sitting down and talking with the homeless, feeding the poor, or building homes for families in Haiti. Knowing you made a positive impact on someone is the greatest feeling ever!

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. You’re not paid in money or recognition, you’re paid in love.  People may forget what you said or what you did but they will never forget how you made them feel. Get out there and be that difference! Whether its volunteering at soup kitchen, abroad in a foreign country, or just a random act of kindness it goes a long way!

“Individually, we are one drop. Together we are an ocean”

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