When one chapter ends and another hopefully begins.
I wrote about this on the bus heading home from a 2-week job on a military base in Wainwright, Alberta. It was a totally unique experience. I had received an offer to act as a villager in a military role play exercise. This meant I got to pretend to be a spanish villager while watching ground troops and tanks cover the area and humungous helicopters hover overhead. I met over 100 amazing people from all walks of life. Some were musicians, some were actors, and some were just trying something new. Some were Canadian, some were Mexican, and some were Columbian. We became family for 15 days, living in dorm-room type conditions, working together, eating together, and partying together. Some of us became good friends that will continue well into the future.
And yet, despite how cool of an experience this was, the 2 weeks ended quickly, and I found myself on a bus headed back home. Everyone was still sitting around me on their way back home but I knew that for most of us, we would never see each other again. We had just woke up from an amazing farewell party complete with a talent show and a spectacular performance of the Northern Lights (otherwise known as Aurora Borealis).
It was a mixture of sadness and happiness. It was sad to close a chapter on such a wonderful experience, yet exciting to imagine what the next chapter was going to hold.
I’ve felt this so many times as I’m sure you have as well. High school, college, university, trips around the world, hobbies, sports, and new found friends. Each chapter must end at some point.
But the best way to fight the chapter blues is to begin a new one. One filled with new adventures, new experiences, and a new story.
I’m now in Mexico City, a new chapter to finish off the 2011 year. I know next year, I will turn the page to another chapter featuring Malaysia and the rest of SE Asia. I know the location but I don’t know the story.
So although it saddens me a little to finish one chapter, it’s exciting to begin the next.
As long as you keep your curiosity alive and the adventures rolling, you won’t get stuck in one chapter and life will keep churning out amazing stories of unique experiences and new friendships.
Have you started a new chapter lately?
Home sweet home.
Familiarity, family, friends, and my own bed. Yet home is suddenly new. It becomes part of the trip. A distant land. It’s funny how that works. It’s only been about 40 days since I left for the World Domination Road Trip but pulling into the driveway felt almost the same as pulling into a new city or a new adventure.
Let’s get back to the trip.
When describing the journey, epic would be an understatement. In those 40 days and 40 nights, we squished in so many places, new people, and adventures that we barely had any time to actually chill out and relax. Sleep had no priority.
We drove over 9000 miles, escaped the grasp of the famous Seattle troll, met countless inspiring people at WDS, jumped out of a plane in Oregon, jumped off a bridge in Washington, snuck into a castle in Napa Valley, rode the cable cars through San Francisco, got soaked under the world’s fifth largest waterfall in Yosemite National Park, met the famous Mickey Mouse in Disneyland, Sat 20 rows from Ryan Renolds during the Hollywood screening of the Green Lantern, had lunch in Tijuana, watched the amazing show called “O” by Cirque Du Soleil, Drove route 66 through the desert at night, watched the sun set and rise in Grand Canyon National Park, hiked 4 miles through a river in Zion National Park, watched the planet saturn, galaxies, star clusters, and the International Space Station through telescopes in Bryce Canyon National Park, almost got swept away in a windstorm while watching a rainbow form over the world famous delicate arch in Arches National Park, checked out the 4th of July fireworks in Salt Lake City, and watched Old Faithful blow before sleeping in the car in Yellowstone National Park. Of course, this doesn’t include couchsurfing with new friends the entire time.
It was truly a jam-packed adventure that I’ll never forget. That we’ll never forget. My girlfriend Karla experienced so many things for the first time like visiting the United States, jumping out of a plane, and leaping 200 feet off a bridge.
But now we are back home which, as always, brings mixed feelings. Happiness to see family, friends, and to have some rest. Sadness that the amazing road trip is over.
I learned a lot of things on the road trip including how I should have unlocked my phone (more on this later), and how difficult it is to maintain a blog while on a non-stop adventure road trip. It was pretty much impossible to take days off to write and find WiFi. This unfortunately kept me from writing on the blog for the whole trip. For those that follow, I’m sorry I couldn’t update as the trip went along. However, the good news is that I have plenty to write about now and look forward to writing about the many adventures over the next few months.
And although coming home is usually more sad because the adventure stops, I have arranged for that not to happen. Since it’s Karla’s first time in Alberta during the summer, were gonna keep the adventure going. I have booked us some white water rafting, a helicopter tour over the mountains, a day at the Calgary Stampede and evening show, and camping at my favorite spot near a beautiful emerald lake in the middle of the Canadian Rockies.
That’s another thing I’ve learned from travel. Adventure can be found close to home. You don’t need to travel to far distant lands to find excitement. You just might find it around the corner.
Have you found any adventures near home? If so, what?
Back in September 2010, I enrolled myself in Unique Genius, a course aimed at helping people find their passions, build them into a business, and make money doing what they love. Before I enrolled, I actually met the founder, Aaron Ross, while traveling to Los Angeles for a JCI (Junior Chamber International) conference. Aaron lives in Santa Monica and after learning about his business through Jonathan Mead, I sent him an email asking if he would be down for meeting up when I was there. Aaron agreed and after figuring out the mess that is L.A. transit, I wound up in Santa Monica sipping hot chocolate and Cappuccinos at a local cafe while talking to Aaron about my plans for online business.
A couple months into the program, I was also planning a trip to Japan to attend the JCI World Congress which featured more than 100 countries and 11,000+ inspiring people from all over the world. While planning my trip, I was scanning the forums in Unique Genius and came across a message from a guy in Japan. I immediately replied and told him that I was going to be visiting Japan and could potentially meet up. Wakato (the guy who had wrote the message) quickly replied back saying he would love to meet.
But it wasn’t just an email from Wakato I received. I also received another email from a guy in Tokyo who noticed our conversation in the forum. He wanted to meet up as well. Awesome! I now had 2 people I could meet while in Japan. Wakato was living near Okayama and Trond (the other person) was living right in Tokyo. I told them that I had 6 days to myself and would figure out a way to meet both of them.
I still remember leaving Hiroshima to Okayama and meeting Wakato and his wife Keiko. With such friendly enthusiasm, they brought me to the ancient city of Kyoto. I couldn’t believe how friendly, generous, and accommodating they were. Not only did they escort me around Kyoto and beautiful ancient temples, they also treated me to a huge traditional Japanese dinner and dessert. It was definitely the best and most unusual meal I had while in Japan. I remember one of the soups having a special mushroom that costs $80 per mushroom! This explains why my soup had just a tiny piece of one. We got to talk about the Unique Genius program and how Wakato spent 4 years at a New York University. No wonder his english was so good! After this, we walked around a fish market looking at all the odd creatures available to eat. I remember walking by one stand that had baby octopus lollipops. Boiled baby octopus stuck on a stick. I thought it looked gross (and funny) so I just walked by. But as I began walking around, the temptation to put myself out there and try this rare looking food made me go back. I had never seen anything that looked so odd. A baby octopus lollipop. Wakato brought me back and both of us ate one for the first time. It actually wasn’t to bad. A little rubbery but overall, not bad at all.
After bidding farewelll, I made my way to the north. But before going to Tokyo, I stopped near Mt.Fuji to spend 2 nights with Mochan, a guy I had met through couchsurfing.org (more on that in another post). After 2 amazing nights with people from all over the planet, I finally made it to Tokyo for one short night. I was greeted by a tall businessman just outside the train station who happened to be Trond. Trond was actually from Norway but had been living and working in Tokyo for 15 years. He was also the president of a recycling company trying to break into Japan. Impressive.
Just getting off work, Trond treated me to a really fancy Japanese dinner at a local place where the likes of past-president Kennedy would eat when he came to Tokyo. As if this wasn’t enough already, Trond also pulled out a couple gifts he had bought for me. One was a book on the crazy new-age Tokyo culture, and the other was a book on the more traditional zen culture of Japan. He then brought me to an Indian restaurant owned by one of his friends. We ended up having a second dinner while Trond explained his new online business plan to me. Other then trying to stop by stomach from exploding, I was super inspired by the business model Trond unfolded before me and also impressed with the amazing naan bread and curry I had just gobbled down.
It was now getting late and Trond had to get back to his family. Before heading back, he quickly brought me to Tokyo’s famous human intersection and to the train station that would take me to the capsule hotel I was so excited about. Trond then offered to pay for a hotel (he thought I would be more comfortable) which I had to kindly decline. Not only was I stuck on the experience of a capsule hotel but I felt almost bad for receiving such a gift. I just couldn’t believe the kindness and generosity Trond showed me. And just moments after, when I thought Trond couldn’t be any more generous then he already had, I mentioned to him that I only had credit cards on me. Uh oh, this is a problem in Japan. Trond told me credit cards are very rarely accepted in Japan and I could only get cash from machines at 7/11. Rather than send me searching at midnight, Trond gave me $100 to get me through a couple of days until I found an international bank machine. I was so thankful and told him I would send it back to him via paypal as soon as I could.
I then said bye, sat down on the train, and thought about the amazing person that I just met. I was truly astonished by the kindness I was shown, both from Trond and Wakato (and Keiko). I was just a stranger who said “hello” via email. Next thing you know, I’m eating a fancy dinner in Tokyo with the president of a company and eating a traditional Japanese meal next to an ancient temple with a Japanese local.
After 30 minutes, I arrived at my capsule hotel, excited to see one for my first time and also excited to sleep. I awkwardly stumbled my way through the check-in process and found my “coffin-in-a-wall” that would be my bed. It actually wasn’t bad at all. It had its own T.V. (which I didn’t watch), a built-in alarm clock and radio, and a little curtain at your feet for extra privacy. I pulled out my trusty earplugs, nestled into the blankets, thought about the inspiring people I met over the last 6 days, and went to sleep.
Japan was such a great trip. I met these wonderful people above, some awesome people via couchsurfing, and partied with 11,000 people from over 100 countries during the JCI World Congress. Japan became yet another addition to my memories of a lifetime and continued to remind me why I love travel, love meeting people, and why I will continue chasing adventure for the rest of my life.
Okay, his name is not Wandering Earl, it’s Earl Baron, and he has a sweet blog titled wanderingearl.com. Earl has also been traveling the world for over 10 years, hence the name of his site. He has no plans of ending his journey and is currently living in Mexico. I started talking to Earl during the early days of my blog and immediately felt how cool of a guy he is. Not only has he been very supportive in my own online journey, but he has also helped tremendously with my girlfriend and I applying for a job on a cruise ship. That’s right, Earl spent a large part of his travels working on cruise ships having a blast, traveling the world, and saving up lots of money. Since my girlfriend is from Mexico, he recommended that both of us go work on a cruise ship so we can be together, save money, and have the time of our lives. So pretty soon, I’ll be writing this blog from sea. Earl has been such an inspiration over the last few months that I thought I’d interview him so his inspiration can pass on to you. At the bottom of the interview will be a link to Earl’s awesome “cruise ship” ebook that is a MUST for those wanting to give this adventure a try.
How long have you been traveling and blogging for?
For the most part, I’ve been traveling, working or volunteering overseas ever since I left for my first backpacking trip back in 1999 but I only started blogging in January of 2010.
What inspired you to start blogging about your journey?
Over the years I received a great deal of phone calls and emails from friends, friends of friends and even strangers that heard about my travels, asking me for advice about the countries I’d visit as well as how to live a nomadic lifestyle of their own. I always offered whatever assistance I could but it wasn’t until I began reading blogs that I realized I could reach a much larger audience. And I figured that if there was even a remote possibility that I could use my own travels to inspire others to achieve their own travel goals, I wanted to be a part of that mission. So I started the blog a few months later and have been motivated to keep it growing ever since!
How have you been funding yourself for all your “traveling years?” [Read more…] about How to Make Money while Traveling the World – An Interview with Wandering Earl
Hello, Bonjour, Hola, G’Day, Hallo, kia Ora, Privet, Moin Moin, Shalom, Aloha…
A simple Hello begins the greeting. It starts the connection. It leads to all possibilities.
It’s this word that has created so many adventures for me during my travels. It’s the word that breaks the silence and acknowledges someone else. It forms the possibility for the next word or the next sentence. It begins the path to endless possibilities.
Below is a story of an adventure that started with a simple “hello”.
I was in Bali, Indonesia. I had just arrived in a cozy place called Ubud. Ubud is quite popular as it’s known to be an artsy community, somewhat quiet and laid-back, and it also had something I really wanted to see; the monkey forest. After being dropped off by the bus, I immediately walked around the streets looking for a cheap place to lay my head and most importantly, lay my bag. As I walked down the main strip, a young Indonesian guy told me he had a room to show me. I followed him down a tight little alley (not as scary as it sounds) which brought me to a little bed and breakfast. He showed me the room which ended up being quite nice, included breakfast, and was just $9/night. I took it. [Read more…] about The Most Important Word in the World