A Backpacker's Tale

Stephen Schreck

Traveler

About Me

For a little kid who once got paddled in school for not being able to point out all the states on the map, (still mentally scarred because of it) you wouldn’t think traveling the world would be high on my list of priorities. At one point, traveling wasn’t important to me at all.

Then one day, by a number of random choices, I found myself on a plane going to Ireland.

That day my world got flipped upside down. As soon as I saw Ireland, I felt something inside me change. (I swear it wasn’t the airline’s three-course dinner of something that vaguely resembled chicken) I felt a powerful curiosity inside me wake up, and I knew I was a traveler.

At that point, I didn’t know where life was leading me; (I still don’t) I didn’t know where I would be in five years; (hopefully still traveling), but I did know that traveling jumped right to the top of my bucket list. That day a new world opened up, and the backpacker in me was born. Since then I have backpacked Europe countless times. I’ve traveled all over Italyand dozens of other European countries.

WHy I Travel

Curiosity and restlessness make an awesome combination if you love to travel. Where curiosity leaves you wondering what’s over the next horizon, restlessness gives you the drive to find out. Even as a kid, I wasn’t able to sit still. I always had to move. 

Perhaps I was afraid that if I’d stop, I would miss out on something amazing. Now, as an adult, my restlessness kicks in after four or five months. So this challenge of sitting in the same place, saving for twenty-two months straight, to start this new life has taught me patience, perseverance, and endurance. All good qualities to have, right? But I’m still ready to travel. 

travel is freedom 

I am ready to move, explore, and have random adventures on the road. When you travel, there are no meetings you are late for, no set schedules you have to keep, or deadlines you rush to meet. Traveling allows you to step back, take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy each moment for what it is. 

You live on your terms and at your own pace. Life feels fuller when those everyday distractions are gone, that’s what traveling has done for me. 

Traveling has shown me who I am, and the person I aspire to be. On my first solo trip, my journal began with this simple line. “I am a puzzle, and as I experience more countries, sights, and cultures, 

I am finding more pieces of the puzzle.” I travel because if I didn’t, I would not only be denying the part of me I love the most but denying the person I want to become. 

From the first time I traveled, the backpacker in me woke up, and it changed my life forever. I don’t know where the road will lead tomorrow, but I am ready to shoulder my backpack and find out.

Fun Facts About Me

I hate flying, although I take an average of 50 flights a year.

My first trip abroad was to Ireland in '06. It was a trip that changed my entire life.

I spent an entire day hanging out with Russian Cops

My favorite country is Italy!

I gain weight every time I visit Italy. (and France)

Twice I've celebrated three new years in one year. (Europe, Chinese, and Thai)

I think New Zealand has the most beautiful landscape.

Sake is my favorite booze to drink while traveling.

I've driven from London, England to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Running with the Bulls is biggest rush of adrenaline I've every experienced.

I've lived in Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, China, and the US.

My biggest fear is not achieving my dreams.

I'm an avid reader. I read roughly 40 books a year.

One time when I was sick my mother made me watch nothing but cooking shows, and now I can't quit.

I worked on a tall ship for around a year.

I skydived over Mt. Doom.

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