Saturday, September 26, 2015

That's not traveling...... only a vacation

     I want to dedicate this post to explaining how I grew a love for maps, geography, exploring and how that lead to my first adventures. In my last few years of seeing as much of this planet as possible I have yet to only go to a handful of countries for a reason. In my mind I want to put into words what a world traveler or what traveling really means to me. And most importantly the difference between what I consider traveling and a vacation.

     Since I can remember my favorite subject in school was Geography. It fascinated my mind to look at a map of so many places and try to imagine what it would be like to see it in person. As I got older my family and I were always into outdoor activities, one of my favorites being riding my dirt bike out in the desert. This also stimulated my mind in unimaginable ways, being able to go anywhere you wanted to and explore so much terrain! Whenever we would go on a group ride I would get separated from the group because I found a new trail nobody else was going on and took off, but always ended up at the same meeting point in the end, everyone wondering how the hell I got there. Through high school I was able to take some trips with friends out of the state camping, snowboarding, surfing, and everything in between.
     A big turning point for really finding out what I love to do with my life came when my mother and I decided to ride our BICYCLES across the USA when I was 19 years old. My mom had always talked about people doing it since she was a cyclist herself, and to a cyclist riding across the country is what finding an island with perfect waves is to a surfer. After an instance where I got into some trouble with the law, my parents had helped me through it so much more than I would have ever thought! It made me realize wow If I want to accomplish some of my own dreams maybe I should help my mom accomplish one of hers first. After touching our tires in the Pacific Ocean surrounded by friends and family we took off on June 3, 2010 on just two bikes that weighed about 60lbs each with all our gear. After the second day we were so done, we had made it from Huntington Beach to the Salton Sea (170 miles), our skin sun burnt, bodies dehydrated, and couldn't sleep from the spasms in our legs all night long. After taking a day off and reevaluating how to go about this goal, we pushed through 36 flat tires, dozens of hotels, running out of water, eating gas station food, in the sun 8-12 hrs a day. Finally after pedaling through 8 states in 36 days we touched our bicycle tires in the Atlantic Ocean and honestly just cried for awhile. That moment right there changed the way I looked at life and what most think is impossible to accomplish, this ultimately lead to the mindset on how I wanted to live my life, by experiences not able to be taught by any university, job, coach, nor teacher.

      No maybe I haven't been around the world yet, but through all those days away from home and the normal lifestyle you learn how to adapt and live in different conditions. Most of the nights were not in a comfy mattress nor in anything considered a home/house. I can tell you because I'm weird like this, that in the last 900+ days I have been out of the country 380 days, slept in 65 different beds, and been on 38 flights. In Hawaii I slept on my cousins couch in his 150sq ft backyard shed with no water and hardly electricity. In Indonesia I've slept on floors, hammocks, dirty ferries, on top of a surfboard bag, inside mosquito nets, all in the humid sticky weather of the tropics. In Australia I slept in my van most of the 80 days I was there. For 3 straight weeks living in the van I used beach showers or a random industrial buildings water spicket to shower while the excess soapy water splashed on my clothes for that days laundry.  In Sweden I slept on a single size bed with my girlfriend for two months, inside a 700 sq ft cabin with 5 people and a small bathroom. All in all was it all worth it, fuck yes it was! Living thousands of miles from home in another country doing anything you want, learning a new language, figuring how to convert everything into metric, learning a new currency, and much much more.
Van Life, NSW, February 2014
     To me traveling Isn't about all inclusive resorts, first class flying, private transportation, fancy night clubs, and everything going right. Why would you want to go to another country to get all the comforts you have at home? The best trips and stories happen when everything goes wrong, you get on the wrong bus, miss your flight, get a flat on your scooter in the middle of the jungle, or lose your atm card. Traveling is about getting lost and asking a local for directions which turns in them inviting you into there home or business for a meal or a cup of coffee. Interaction with the culture, people, and land are everything when it comes to exploring a new country. Take public transport, eat local foods, do tasks the way locals would, visit temples, go to the none touristy areas and you will be treated like a king. Some of my favorite moments when traveling were when I felt completely out of my element and not able to understand the language or communicate with others. That is why I try to spend a decent amount of time in every country I go to, feel the vibes, make a few local friends that start remembering you. When just passing through a country you don't get the whole experience if say you stayed there for a month and worked a bit or lived at a hostel.
Bali, Indo 2014

     I have met many people from around the world in the last few years, whether its a few minute conversation or a few weeks of camping together. Luckily now a days its much easier to keep in contact with friends from around the world. I love meeting new people from interesting places and asking what it's like in there homeland and where they have traveled to. You can get tips, info, great food places, its like traveling without physically traveling when you meet some new who has been somewhere you haven't. I have friends that I can contact at any moment and go visit in places like Scotland, Spain, France, South Africa, Chile, Australia, and many more. It makes the world seem smaller and more friendly, looking through Facebook and seeing a friend in Israel posting about news going on there, or maybe meeting up with a mate you haven't seen in years when your in Canada and they show you the local spots.

     All in all I've found that this is what I want to do for as long as possible. I feel like some of the smartest people I've met in the world were people who have traveled and been in unexplained situations normal people would never experience. These situations you might end up in make you smarter, think outside the box, more resourceful, and have another out look on the outcome. Seeing how other people go about there daily lives, how business is done, or how materials and goods are transported. There is so much to learn just by stepping away from your homeland and having an open mind to what the world is like outside your lil bubble....

New South Wales, Aus, Feb 2014

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