I was returning home from Europe and even before the plane landed in Ohio, I had made up my mind that I was going to be a full-time backpacker. Well, since I am under full disclosure, I have to say that’s not one-hundred percent true.
At first, I wanted to be a long-term traveler so I started planning a trip that would last a year backpacking throughout Europe and Asia, but within a couple of months, that year had turned into two, three, then quickly into four and eventually five…. (You get the idea).
When I told my family and friends about my life-altering decision, I thought for sure they would throw an endless sea of objections my way, giving me reason after reason why this decision might be the stupidest scheme I have ever come up with.
I swore that I wouldn’t be caught off guard by their objections so I rehearsed a ton of counter-arguments:
“Backpacking is safe. It will give me good life experience. I’ll stay out of trouble. No, I won’t get lonely because I’ll make tons of friends along the way. (Yes, I do realize all these arguments sound like an eight-year-old begging to go to his first slumber party.)”
On the day I mentioned it, I puffed up my chest and announced my plans. I looked at them intently, looking for any sign of shock and bracing myself for the oncoming storm. There wasn’t even a sprinkle.
I was the only one in shock.
Hmm….. maybe they misunderstood.
But they had understood.
In fact, they all acted like they knew we would be having this conversation one day.
Perhaps my obsession with traveling over the last six years had slowly prepared them for my decision?
That was fourteen months ago. Now I have less than eight months until the day I jump on the plane on my way to Egypt. I will be spending the better part of a month touring the ancient ruins before I shoot up into the UK, Europe and Morocco.
My journey will include adventures such as running with the bulls, La Tomatina, camping in the sharia, and a variety of other European festivals till Oktoberfest. After recovering from the copious amounts of beer and the massive hangover that I am no doubtfully anticipating, I will board a plane to fly to Asia. My plans are not exactly set in stone, but I feel drawn to Mongolia. Bring on the aira!
In Asia, I plan to wander around for approximately five months before heading to Australia and New Zealand. I plan on living and working in this area for a year. Once that year is over, I will be off again to South America, and eventually, Antarctica to freeze my unmentionables off. After this, I will unthaw and wherever the road leads me. I know I want to-thru hike the Appalachian trail, work on a tall ship, and a few other things on my list of things to do before I die.
The time is quickly passing, and now I fill my days with preparation. What once was a dream, is quickly transitioning into reality. I now find myself busy trying to find the cheapest rates between point A and B, hovering over websites in hopes that the airline ticket prices drop just a little lower, and looking up China Holidays for adventures only a few months away.
I daily watch exchange rates, fingers crossed, yelling like an overly excited soccer dad, rooting for the US dollar to start kicking ass. I am trying to figure how many times I am going to have to offer up my arm or worse, my bum, to a needle, in order to get all the required vaccinations.
I freaking hate getting stuck with needles. My new backpack arrived in the mail a couple of weeks ago. I sadly tossed my old one to the side and use any excuse to fill the new one. Also, I have a journal I got for being in a wedding, a couple of boxes of contacts, and an uncashed lottery ticket for 5 bucks. I am also taking inventory of my material possessions. Anything that doesn’t fit in my 70-liter backpack has to be sold, given away, or tossed.
I am on the edge of fulfilling my dream; on the cusp of a new life. A life full of endless days and nights exploring the most beautiful cities and cultures, a life full of new friends and old backpacking buddies that I can’t wait to reunite with, a life where the endless grind doesn’t exist and the days of nine to five have faded into myth. I am getting more eager everyday to write about all the misadventures and mishaps that seem to find me every time I travel. Soon I will be making my way through this wild, random, and exciting world.