The lowdown

One of my resolutions for the New Year was to blog more often, and write even more. I’ve been doing quick, usually daily Facebook posts but as you can see, nothing on this site yet this year. Until now. For me, I’ll take this as a big challenge to recount a bit of where I am, where I’m going, and where I’ve been; what I’ve felt and what’s lifted my spirits; the not-so-glamorous things about travel, especially solo travel, and especially long-term solo travel; and really most profoundly, why I continue to travel and my reasons and motivations behind it.

Many have asked me about this trip, so let me just lay down the essentials in this post:

Who: Me! And the friends and family I’m meeting up with. And the people with whom I’ve yet to interact that will leave a lasting impact on me, and some that I’ll come to call as friends.

What: A trip around the world! In paper at least, I’ve left North America for the Pacific Rim of Asia, and will be making my way to points in South and Southeast Asia before making my way to Europe and arriving back in North America.

Where: Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Nepal for sure. Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Hong Kong in semi-planning stages. In Europe, I’m supposed to land in Romania, but have also set my sights on Bulgaria, Greece, Albania, Kosovo, Moldova, Ukraine, the Netherlands, Ireland, Spain, and Italy. At this point, the European leg of this journey is quite undefined and will be content to focus on just a few of these countries.

When: From the second week of January currently until the first week of October, 2014! That’ll be almost 9 months of travelling! In reality, that’s just the dates on my airfare that I’m somewhat willing to change, really depending on money and future motivation.

How: Planes, trains, buses, walking, ???

Why: Before setting out last May for Europe, I’d gone through a tough time of challenges, internal debates, and difficult decisions that were tempered with occasional personal triumphs and achievements. At the time, I was working full-time without a high prospect of longer-term travel which was what I had increasingly aspired to in the years prior. Simply put, travel invigorates and inspires me like nothing else. It’s the unbeatable combination of being in a foreign land, not knowing exactly where you are or how to get where you’re going but with a resigned confidence that all will work out in the end, interacting with people in this world that you would otherwise not meet in your daily routine back home, arriving at spectacular landscapes, feeling serenity during a hike, going somewhere you’ve never heard of and being amidst indescribable beauty, and the unique realization that not everything in this world is generic and you don’t have to live your life within the perceived confines of societal norms if you don’t want to.

So there you have it. Or some of it, at least! I’m currently in Japan, on just the 8th day of my journey. Follow me, or better yet, join me somewhere!

Back to where the ball got rolling

It’s no secret to my friends and family that I basically live, breathe, and, and eat to travel. It’s become a defining characteristic of who I am, and though I may not consider myself so, it’s flattering to hear people say that I’m brave, adventurous, a risk-taker…

Almost 4 years ago, I spent a couple months in Peru where I forged a seemingly instant connection with other volunteers at the home stay where I was living in Cusco. Two of them, Andy and Julia, were continuing their South American journey and I and two others, Kushal and Hiyasmin, tagged along for the wild, unforgettable ride. Though I’d done a bit of travelling before then, the weeks I spent with this amazing group of friends is one that I constantly look back upon with fond memories that never fail to put a smile on my face.

These weeks challenged me, provoked me, made me see life from a different angle, and were responsible for making me feel capable of so much more than I thought. These weeks in Chile and Argentina, staying in hostels, taking long distance bus rides, trekking every other day, climbing volcanoes, sliding down glaciers, seeing the beauty of Iguazu Falls, the splendor of Santiago, and the sophistication of Buenos Aires…

It’ll be interesting to revisit the capital cities of Chile and Argentina and see how they’ve changed, and reflect back on my time there where so many doors of my life were opened. I imagine that I’ll feel that bittersweet nostalgia more than once along the way.

Those weeks in Chile and Argentina was when the ball got rolling. At this point, the ball is unstoppable.