travel

Fresh Air

“Ladies and gentlemen, the Captain has turned on the fasten seatbelt sign…” The words are music to my ears, a greater poem than any other. Their meaning? Today, I travel.

A lot of people hate the act of traveling, the destination is amazing, but getting there… not so much. The road trip is a burden and air travel a hassle. But I’m not most people. I love it all. From the vulgar rest stops to the unreasonably small peanut bags (average 28 peanuts, yes, I counted and I demand more) I adore travel.

 I hate to be another wanderlusting twenty-something, but I suppose I’m guilty. The privilege that we have to see the world in this time period is an extravagant one. The doors to the world have been open for the price of a boarding pass. Personally, I run through those doors as often as possible. On the other side lies the opportunity to learn.

I’ve always been a hands on learner. The act of doing has always been so much more engaging than alternate forms of learning. While with age, I have grown to love books; the kid in me still has to get his hands dirty. There is nothing like realizing how much you have left to learn about history by walking in the footsteps of those who created it or grasping just how little knowledge you have when you can’t converse in your mother tongue.

Traveling, however, isn’t only about learning, it’s about rejuvenation. New places are saturated with fresh air, the kind that you are unable to be found at the comfort of home. This realization stuck me once again as I returned from Panama last week. I felt so good. Everything had been so revitalizing. And I don’t mean just the time at the beach or the nice hotel. That rejuvenation included the times I bleached my arms to avoid scabies and the old chicken I accidentally bought because of a conversation riddled with broken Spanish. They were all separate inhales of fresh air.

On the last night of my trip, I stood on the roof of my hotel and observed the streets below. From my vantage point, I breathed in the fresh air. I didn't know when my next trip would be. That always makes the return even more of a challenge. All the same, I know I will be back. Back in the embrace of an airline seat where I will eat my peanuts (29 if I'm lucky) and remember to breathe the fresh air. 

 

You can find more about my travels last week on my youtube channel

How's Your Thirst for Adventure?

“Unquenchable.”

I have come to the absolute and settled conclusion that I was born for adventure.

Boundary Waters, US/Canadian Border

Boundary Waters, US/Canadian Border

For most of my childhood, I lived in a house with 16 acres of woods. Dirt bikes, mud fights, and paintball were just part of life. The outdoors called, spurring on that intense desire to get outside. Because of this, it is hard to find a single picture of me as a kid where I don’t either have a bloody scratch, stitches, bruises, or dirt on my face. I was made to move and climb.

As a kid, quality time was almost always spent outside. Camping, fishing, hiking, and good old fashioned manual labor were our go-to activities. Family vacations were similar, skiing (water or snow), snorkeling, jeeping, and yet more camping. It wasn’t uncommon for us to come home from our vacations more exhausted than when we left.

Atlas Mountains, Morocco

Atlas Mountains, Morocco

Our movie choices reflected many of the same ideals. I remember watching the Bond movies, dreaming of visiting those places that seemed so unreal. The first time I watched Indiana Jones, it felt like a revelation. “If adventure has a name…” to me adventure was the name. It put a word to all my wants and desires for exploration, cars, girls, and an unhealthy portion of fisticuffs. My brother and I had the full Indiana Jones set on VHS and we watched each one until the tapes literally gave up and stopped working. Within a few days of their demise, we took a trip to buy the new DVD set, following up on those a few years later by preordering the new Blu-ray package as soon as it was announced. Even the few video games we played followed this idea of exploration and travel. We weren’t playing the zombie or war games; we wanted to explore castles and ruins.

Looking back I can think of the tipping point where it changed. The day did not feel significant, but most significant days never do. I was snowboarding in Colorado with my and my good friend’s family. While we were ascending the mountain on one of the ski lifts, my friend casually mentioned that he wanted to go to school in France for a year. He invited me along, I simply replied “Ok” and that was the decision that made everything else possible.

Not to be overly dramatic, but that brief conversation changed everything. I spent the next year at university as a freshman, changing my course of study from business to “international” business. The slight change in my major seemed a more appropriate change as well as a justification for a year abroad.

Mont Salève, France

Mont Salève, France

I clearly remember stepping off the plane and breathing in the fresh air of the Geneva valley. The true intoxication had begun. From that moment on, I became more and more ill. Wanderlust, people laugh, but it’s a chronic illness, only temporarily treatable with plane tickets and a heavy usage of your passport.

I haven’t ever felt the same since. Learning a new language and meeting new people became part of my personal definition, I needed it. Less than a year and a half after I came back from France I was making plans and moving to New Zealand. This time I went alone.

Hooker Valley, New Zealand

Hooker Valley, New Zealand

Stepping off that plane was a different experience. I was totally alone. I didn’t have any expectations. The first few weeks in New Zealand made me think that I may have romanticized life abroad. But it quickly came back to me. The challenges of meeting new people, the new cultures, it was all a part of my adventure.

So now what? How do I keep things going? I just finished my International Business degree which means I’m stepping out into the real world in every way. Now it’s time to make my passions my reality once more.

Zhangjiajie, China

Zhangjiajie, China

Vava'u, Tonga

Vava'u, Tonga

New South Wales, Australia

New South Wales, Australia

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga, Tennessee