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This is why we travel!

We travel for the experiences you can’t capture through pictures. Moments that are indescribable unless you were there in that very moment, basking in the pure bliss you’re feeling.

We travel for the moments you’ll never be able to capture in words, no matter how descriptive you can be there will be things, and experiences, and feelings you just can’t put into words. It’s things like stepping into the ocean, feeling the southern hemisphere sun warm your skin, seeing landmarks you’ve only dreamed about and remembering in those moments this is why you were born to travel.

We travel for the iconic landmarks and the hole in the wall restaurants. We travel to appreciate the earth and be in awe by it’s magnificence and beauty.

WE TRAVEL TO EXPERIENCE EVERYTHING WE CAN OUT OF LIFE BECAUSE LIFE ISN’T MEANT TO BE LIVED IN ONE PLACE, IT’S MEANT TO BE EXPLORED AND APPRECIATED.

It’s the way you feel when you walk out of the airport or off the bus, it’s the fresh air of an unfamiliar place hitting your skin. It’s trying to capture the perfect photo but realizing that no matter how hard you try you can never do it justice.

It’s watching the sunset on a beach in Bali lighting up the skyline like a burning orange wildfire.

It’s watching farm animals graze, it’s watching the waves crash against the shore eroding away at the land, it’s watching locals take pride in their homes and it’s the connections you make not only with yourself and others, but with the earth itself.

It’s the endless connections that you make with strangers in hostels that last a lifetime. It’s shotgunning beers on top of a mountain in Vietnam. It’s learning how to surf in Portugal. It’s getting lost in the streets of Morocco and being completely fine with it.

It’s every memory, face and picture you take away from a place. It’s seeing the millions of years of the earth shaping itself and forming to all it is in the very moment you lay eyes on it.

IT’S ALL THE PLACES YOU’VE SEEN PICTURES OF AND THEN ACTUALLY STEPPING IN THE FRAME.

It’s more than words can describe.

We don’t travel because we want to, we travel because we have too because without travel, life wouldn’t feel complete to us.

It’s all the moments that make us feel alive that make the stress, the money, the missing home worth it. It’s the moments of almost missing our plane or bus because we had no idea which direction to go in, and putting our trust in strangers to get us there. It’s those moments that make it worth it.

It’s the moment you stand there and look at something monumental that captures your breath and you think to yourself, “this, this is it, this is why I travel.” It’s the moments you can’t explain and the moments you’re absolutely in love with.

We travel because it’s a way of life. We travel because no matter how much we’ve seen and experienced we always crave more because there is nothing that can compare to earths natural beauty. We travel because we need to, because we love to.

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!

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.
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The beauty behind Solo Traveling

I don’t know what I was waiting for. My heart ran the ends of the earth but my feet were still.. I was waiting, but the world wasn’t waiting for me. So, I went alone! And I learned that friends come easy on the road. Hearts are open, smiles are wide. Love grows quickly in strange cities and strangers become family when home is far away.

There are festivals raging, mountains to conquer, and markets to explore. This feeling of fear and surprise, is our heroine. Its what we live for! I realized that travel breeds compassion, dispels ignorance, and makes the world a smaller place..

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I don’t know what I was waiting for, but I’m no longer waiting alone.. At first I was scared. I still get nervous before every trip until I arrive at the airport and I feel this sudden change in my mind, body, and attitude. There is something about it that just sets me free and allows me to be my true self. My first solo trip was just such a relieve meeting so many like-minded people of all different age ranges and cultures just looking to have fun, and go on adventures in a different place.

Stepping out of your comfort zone not only forces you to meet all these wonderful people from all over, it allows you to find out who you truly are deep down. I learned more about myself in the past year solo traveling then I could ever imagine!

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Some journeys can only be traveled alone and sometimes you might never go if you end up waiting for someone to go with you. You never know what could be waiting for you on the other side of the world. So what are you waiting for.. What is stopping you? Don’t be afraid to walk alone, you’d be surprised just how capable you are!

“All you’ve got to do is decide to go and the hardest part is over.”-Tony Wheeler

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Are we “traveling to escape reality?”

As I continue my journey of traveling around the world I come across a question I am often asked by friends, family, and even strangers.  “What are you running from?”  Many think I travel to escape reality which is true.. But not the way you think.  You probably think of all the comments us frequent travelers have to hear all the time.  People who travel a lot are restless souls, never happy with what they have, not ready to settle down, afraid to make real life decisions and all that.  They think we are a bunch of unsatisfied, escapist runaways who put off living life until well, as long as possible.greece1

I do agree we travel to escape reality but why does that have to be bad thing?  I believe that nearly all of us are running but for many different reason.

Some are restless souls trying to find happiness in external things like adventure and experiences.  In other words, they’re trying to escape from who they are right now hoping to change.  Some are dreamers running away from society hoping to find an escape somewhere else or to find an answer telling them that life doesn’t have to be the way people force it to be.

Traveling is one thing you can do to free your mind from stress and other negative emotions.  But more than that, it gives you an opportunity to learn more about yourself and things around you.  You may want to travel with your family, closest friends, or even alone. abu

For me I am traveling to escape the reality of being normal.  But what does that mean?  It means that I refuse to live the same routine day in and day out.  Society today wants us to work the same old 9 to 5 job, get married, buy a house, start a family, grow old and die…  For me I want to “do more than just exist.” When I’m old I want to look back at life and say man, what a ride that was.  I want people to look at my life and say “what an inspiration he was, he definitely lived a good life.”

My goal is to inspire as many people as possible and make an impact no matter how big or small.  For the longest time I wasn’t happy with myself.  Life was kicking my ass until one day I up and left.  I found through traveling it was easy to start over.  And that I did..  I made a life for myself worth waking up for every morning.  So in a sense you can say I “ranaway” or I was a “coward for not facing my problems” but I did it because I was tired of life beating me down and doing nothing about it.  I decided to make something of it.

So I guess you can say us travelers are “running away from reality” but in the end its not a bad thing.  If you are happy then who cares what you are doing.  The bottom-line is to live your life the way you want to because in the end all you have is yourself!!  Don’t be afraid to go against the waves, you might be surprised to what you find on the other side of it. Screenshot_20170703-204822.png

Belgium waffles, chocolate, and blackouts.. 

There are many things Belgium is known for like their mouthwatering waffles, delicious chocolate, and you can’t forget about the Belgium beers.  If theirs one thing they do right, it’s beer.  I’ve tried over 60+ different beers when I was there for 8 days and not a single one was bad! But you have to be careful because not only are they ridiculously delicious, they’re extremely strong which may lead blacking out, making bad decisions, and a massive hangover…

I was in Belgium on business for 8 days a couple months ago.  Which if you ever get the chance to go, do it!  Brussels, a city bursting with energy and is full of life! Bruges, a fairy-tale medieval town with jaw-dropping beautiful architecture and filled with so many canals that it’s referred to as the Venice of the north.  And then there is Ghent, a university town and cultural hub that is just filled with bars everywhere you look! What more could you ask for!? Right?! 

So as mentioned I was there on business and one of the locals I was working with recommended going to this street in Ghent that is just a mile long of bars.. A dream come true in my world.  I decided to check it out with a couple of co-workers while we were in Brussels.  After a 30 minute train ride and 15 minutes of walking we finally made it. It was everything I expected to be.. People just walking around drinking, bar after bar after bar, beautiful women, and half-priced drinks.  I was so overwhelmed I didn’t know where to start.. 

Untill I noticed a sign that said 1€ you call it till midnight. We walked in and immediately started double fisting with shots of tequila between.  Before you know it my one friend was on the DJ booth taking shots with a bunch of randoms, the other was on a barstool just Dabbing like no other, and I’m doing flaming shots and taking advantage of every minute of the happy hour. So once it hit midnight we proceeded to the next bar and the next and the next.  Next thing you know I’m at my sixth bar by myself dancing on bars and chanting whatever they were chanting, the other one was lost wondering around in the street, and the other got kicked out for face planting trying to open a door that wasn’t there… 

Eventually we all found eachother. All of trashed out of our minds wanting to just go home and sleep but the trains didn’t start running again till 4am and it was only 2am.  So we were in a pickle.  Pay 100+ euros for a taxi or stay and keep partying and catch the train.  So we did what we thought made sense.. Drink more and catch the train!  After that I couldn’t tell you much.  I don’t even know how I got on the train but we made it! 

Were on the train being drunk idiots, having a good time and before you know it all 3 of us were passed out cold.. Only a 30 minute train ride.. Not one of us woke up for 2 hours.  So it’s Friday morning people are trying to get to work and then there’s me.. Passed out taking up 3 seats, snoring, and drooling on some guy thats just to get to work.  Finally one of them wakes up and realizes it’s daylight and were passing stops that don’t seem familiar…

Were now in fucking Germany!!🇩🇪 15 stops pass where we were supposed to go. We all woke up confused as hell, still drunk, and we have everyone starring at us like were assholes..  Now there’s been times where I blacked out and woke up in a different city or state.. But never another country. Not sure if I should be proud or ashamed but it was one hell of a night! Just a little side note if you go to Belgium or Germany don’t try to keep up with the locals.. They’re fucking crazy and can drink like there’s no tomorrow! Oh and if you’re taking a train have a designated soberish drunk friend to stay up so you make it home! Just remember drink responsible and by responsible I mean don’t spill it! Cheers!