Adventure: “An unusual, exciting, occasionally hazardous, rewarding experience”.
How many of us long for some sort of an adventure to whisk us away from our desks and the day to day grind of life into a brave new world of novelty and experience? I know I certainly did before I made the decision to quit my job, sell almost everything I own and travel the world long term.
On the 1st of December I leave on a journey that will take me all the way around the globe. From hot springs in New Zealand to an icy trek into the arctic circle and everywhere in between; and I’m going to take you with me each step of the way.. We’re going to run a half-marathon through the Death Valley, drink liters of German beer, sip fine wines from Napa to Bordeaux, explore the boroughs of New York, the lane ways of Paris and the cobbled streets of Geneva. Together we’re going to road trip through California, stay at the best hotels in Las Vegas, snowboard in Canada, restore an old castle in France and yodel through Switzerland.
Things will probably go wrong too, I’m sure I’ll get robbed, lose my camera, fall off a cliff, get kidnapped or maybe even have to wrestle a mountain lion.. But no matter what happens it’s going to be an unforgettable experience.
The thing about adventures are they tend to turn into the best stories when you’re sitting around a fire. The reward is having an experience worth the telling, and while often these stories are fun to tell, they can at the time be quite unpleasant.. I have very fond memories of Kyoto, Japan. Beautiful city and the cultural heart of an amazing country, but having to walk for several hours across the sleeping city late one freezing night because my bike got stolen sucked a fat one! Especially since it was so cold l that by the time I got back to the hostel my hands had turned an unhealthy shade blue. Then the next day to cap it off I had to buy the owner a new bike! Funny now, sucked at the time.
Long term travel can be draining as it’s an experience that has both it’s trials and rewards. It takes time, money (but less than you might think) and a general attitude leaning towards the intrepid to entice a person to go exploring the world long term. Sometimes it’s dirty, chaotic, exhausting and uncomfortable; in fact there are some distinct similarities between a guy who’s been travelling for a long time and that crazy homeless man yelling at the pigeons. It’s not just in their disheveled appearance but neither have a fixed address or steady income and there’s a good chance they smell worse than an organic farm!
Two months ago I had a conversation with a guy who asked me quite earnestly “..but why do you want to travel?’ It’s a question with an answer to me that was so obvious, it was actually difficult to put into words… After some thought I answered “because there’s so much of the world that I haven’t explored yet. I want to see and experience as many different things as I can in my life, and travel is the best way I know of to do that.” Another way to put it was something I once read: “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page” (in this guys case I think one page would have been an amazing achievement). He just didn’t get it and after 15 minutes of verbally trying to ‘push shit uphill’, I walked away wondering if I’d been speaking to an Australian Karl Pilkington or some other form of de-evolved Sapien sub-species that somehow managed to survive the last ice age.
There will be ups and downs on this trip along with everything in between, and i’m going to take you along for the ride. Stay tuned for the ongoing story of a journey that was hatched during the day to day grind of a normal office job, a journey that will become my reality for at least the next year of my life. I will be blogging each step of the way and if i’m any good at this writing thing you’ll enjoy reading about the story as much as I enjoy writing it, First stop New Zealand so stay tuned for my musings on the joys of airports and the land of Hobbits, hot springs and Rugby.