Did the planets align? did my overall fortune change? did I win the lottery (as some have asked)? No! I just made a decision and followed a plan. As simple as that! I am finally embarking on the journey of my lifetime. I am traveling around the world for one year and a half, that is… as long as I manage my budget well. It is time to pay full attention to the explorer in me and let the office worker take a breather. For me, this is part of living a well-balanced life. It cannot be one-sided, or I will miss out on other learnings.
Back in 2005 I decided to quit my job, sell my place and put everything into storage to travel to Kenya and Tanzania, with very high hopes of traveling around the continent for about six months. As much as I wanted to travel long-term back then, I just wasn’t ready to do it, mentally or emotionally. The truth is that I wasn’t fully committed to the idea of being in Africa at the time. Sad to say but my heart was not in it enough to stay beyond the six weeks that I ended up spending there. It was definitely time well spent and enjoyed but it simply wasn’t long enough. I came back early because I had some unfinished personal business to come home to.
The idea of long-term travel stayed with me and I knew that I had to make it a reality someday. That someday stayed as a “someday” for a long, long time. Ten years to be exact. I put off doing it for a while because other things took priority. I am sure this sounds familiar to some of you. Something always gets in the way. Life gets in the way! and that someday never fully materializes… that’s how our dreams end up escaping us and one day we look back with regret and wish we would have done more. Well now I am ready to stand for this dream and be true to my word of making it happen! I said I would do this someday and that someday is here! this is my time to realize a dream and fully enjoy it, with no regrets and lots of courage!
So what really made me take the plunge? I recently got sick and stayed in bed for 17 days in a lot of pain; which allowed me the opportunity for some much-needed soul searching and a lot of self-reflection. It was the slap in the face that I needed. Funny how that works! Sometimes we need something to feel really bad so that we dare to seek something that feels really good. Our time on this earth is too precious to waste. We have to live exactly the way we want to live. Live the life that we have imagined for ourselves, as no one else is going to live it for us. If we don’t take chances in this life, then when exactly? in the next life? hmmm…
I must admit that it is not easy to leave the comforts of the life that I have created in Los Angeles. I will miss my loving family and my wonderful friends very much. I am also certain that I will miss my job. Although it was intense and stressful at times, I liked what I did very much. On the other hand, my material belongings are easy to leave. It helps that I have never been very attached to things so it was fairly easy to put all of my stuff into storage and sell my car. It has actually been a fun experience temporarily living in furnished places and taking the bus to work. It only prepared me for what is to come once I hit the road.
So why do this? it’s very simple. I LOVE LOVE LOVE traveling! Nothing makes me happier. And not just any type of travel but the kind where you immerse yourself in another culture and assimilate to those around you as much as possible. The kind of travel where you mix a little bit of city life with a lot of outdoor activities. I plan to climb as many mountains, navigate as many rivers, trek as many jungles, meet as many locals, try as many foods, and see as many natural wonders as I can. I am not planning to move in one direction, but rather do a little bit of zig-zagging around the world in order to enjoy good weather. This is specially important around the Himalayas and Asia where I want to avoid the monsoon season. I plan to start in Southeast Asia, then move to Northern Africa eptbd (exact places to be determined), followed by the Middle East (eptbd), then India, Nepal, then back to SE Asia, up through China, Japan, Mongolia, Russia, then Europe (eptbd) and last but not least, South America. I am very eager to end in Colombia and finally see the country where I was born and raised. I also plan to do a bit of volunteer work in different places. I find this to be a good way to get a small taste of any culture.
I will maintain this blog and share my experiences through my writing and most importantly, my pictures. I do hope you will enjoy my stories about various places and people that I meet along the way. I also hope some of you will actually plan to physically join me in different parts of the world.
My departure date is Saturday May 9th, 2015 and my adventures will begin in Bali, Indonesia.
And as a well known TV entertainer in Colombia used to say (translated here of course): “Today, from Los Angeles; tomorrow… from anywhere in the world”. 🙂
Photos: saying goodbye to my good friends and co-workers