It is finally happening…

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 keep 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 live from Los Angeles; tomorrow… from somewhere in the world”.

Photos: saying goodbye to my good friends and co-workers

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13 thoughts on “It is finally happening…

  1. I haven’t seen you since our APL days, but I always loved how free spirited and adventurous you are. I dream of one day when we retire, I’d love to do some traveling around the world. I can’t wait to read all about your adventures!

    1. Hi, it’s nice to hear from you! thanks for being the first one to comment on my new blog. I checked out your blog, nicely done! Great job becoming a business owner! I admire you very much. I hope you get to travel the world as well. 🙂

  2. My Dear Cata!
    It has been a long time since I have seen you but know that I hold you very dearly in my heart as you are a wonderful and kind soul. I’m extremely excited for your adventure because I know that it will be enlightening and mind blowing. I have already linked your blog to my desktop to follow you around the world so THANKS for sharing 🙂 Wish many more blessings every day.
    XOXO -Jexsy

  3. I’m so proud of you Sisi! And while I’m happy for you, I will be a worried mess and selfishly hope that you come back to us safe and sound sooner rather than later. Not so selfishly, I hope you find what you’re looking for. We love you!!!

  4. Cata!! Sorry we couldn’t connect before you left but I will be keeping tabs on you via your blog and hopefully I can pay you a visit somewhere in the world during your awesome journey! I’m so proud of you! Doing something like this takes guts and passion and I’m so glad you are able to make this dream a reality! Will be sending you love and light during your adventure! Stay safe and stay curious! 🙂

  5. Catalina….you go girl! Have a fabulous time and make wonderful memories. Be safe out there. Oh my gosh, talk about roughing it with one bag………..Happy Trails to you! Cannot wait to see all the amazing sites, people and things you will see! Kelly Peters

  6. Cata, you are an inspiration for many of us. Reaching your life long dreams is not easy, it needs courage and mine set. I am very proud of you!!! I love you.

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