I’m coming into my 6th year of extended world travel. 6 years of feeling like a stranger in a strange land. I’ve been on the road, mostly on my own, since I was 21. Have I been traveling to find myself or lose myself? This story is my attempt at making sense of the last 6 years. What I’ve learned, what it’s meant to me, and where I hope the story goes from here.
I’m sharing them with you now, not to dictate or to preach, but to learn more about them for myself. I’ve spent months writing this, 100s of hours, and I’m still insecure about posting it. I want your feedback. I want you to prove me wrong where I’m wrong. I want you to bring better ideas to the table. I basically want you to edit it for me for free, so that I can then turn it into a book, self publish, and sell 100,000,000 copies.
In the fall of 2008, I was 18 and starting my first and last “real job.” A third shift gig at a factory that would hopefully allow me to live comfortably enough while I started college and figured out what I wanted to do with my life. Day 1 and Day 2 was supervised training. Day 3 I was on my own. The job was as complicated as taking every fourth print from this machine and throwing it away, because the machine misprinted every 4 times. I was very good at this.
"See dreamers in their true light. The dreamers are those who misread the actual state of affairs and act upon their emotions. The realists are the real inventors and innovators. Men and women of imagination. But their imagination is in close contact with the environment, with reality. They are strong enough to see the world as it is, including their own personal inadequacies. "
Being in a perpetual state of stress and anxiety is lame. I tried it for years. An ongoing cycle of run run run, followed by a crash and depression. No structure. Just stress. I'd go until I couldn't handle it anymore, and then I'd breakdown. I'd go days and weeks without checking any of my accounts or my phone. I'd just vanish and be depressed. This would make me more stressed out. I'd procrastinate. Blow off commitments. Avoid everyone. I would simply hide. Then I learned how to breathe. Then all that stuff magically went away.
This scene has played out 100s of times in my life. And I've watched it play out for a lot of other people. It's a difficult cycle break. Once you start to believe that "fun" is something other people have, while you watch by yourself, you get conditioned to force that to happen.
Why am I writing about illicit activities in Laos? If you've traveled around SE Asia then you already know the reputation of the countries. Thailand is the best: anything you want to experience can be had in Thailand. Malaysia kind of sucks but Kuala Lumpur is awesome. Singapore is very nice and high end, also quite expensive. Cambodia is on the rise. Vietnam has a lot of great stuff to explore, good mix of activity, great food.
I wouldn't be exaggerating if i said that some of my fondest memories so far in life have taken place in Vang Vieng. It was the second country I spent anytime in when I left the states. And I'd never heard of it before.
I can't say where I learned this, as I honestly don't remember. I was reading a lot of self help blogs/books/pamphlets at the time to try and get out of a serious case of depression. This is what worked. I share it for what it's worth and hope that you can gain as much from using it as I have.
I cannot say enough good things about Medellin, Colombia! I am head over heels in love. I had been hearing some buzz about Medellin ever since I started traveling and that buzz is very well deserved. I can absolutely see this become a top travel destination in South America over the next decade and it's definitely a place I'll be coming back to over and over again. It's only a 3 hour flight from Miami and it's serviced by Spirit Air now, meaning cheap flights are easy to get.