On Friday November 23rd a few days after my 26th birthday I’m off on another journey. Since my return back to the states in May I’ve been patiently counting down the days to be wanderlust again. This time around I’ve realized it wont be so much as a ‘Trip’ around the world because i could possibly be gone for two years but more of a nomadic lifestyle.
After 5 months of traveling around South America ill be working in Australia for a few months bandaging up my bank account to continue on to Asia for an unknown period of time. Im planning on teaching english in Saigon, Vietnam for 3 months. Then continue around Asia for a few months after. Doing some work in Africa for a few months (specifically Ethiopia with some close friends). Then end my trip in Europe seeing dear friends.
I usually have a rough idea and blueprint of where and what i want to do but no time frame at all. If i love a certain city or country ill just stay until i feel the time is right to move on. I usually travel this way but not as extreme as this next season in life will be.
I always get asked the question “Why do you travel so much?” or “What inspired you to travel?”. Ive thought back to when i began to travel internationally in 2007 and tried to figure out what inspired me. What psychologically got me moving?
One of my best friends was born in England and immigrated over to the states with his mom when he was a child. So sometime before 2007 he had some childhood friends come to Texas and they spent a month here. I became very close with them and decided id go to England to visit them and family in France while i was in Europe. Ever since then I’ve been so interested in cultures and how people live their lives. It humbles you. It broadens your mind to humanity and their beliefs, their way of life. We are extremely fortunate to live in the USA, a developed country. We have clean water and food to eat (period). You can get into detail why we are so fortunate but that is the most simplest of reasons. Many take that for granted.
So it moves me. It drives me to gather all the knowledge and get plugged into the peoples lives around the world that i become friends with. I will eventually have some sort of foundation to do my share and give back. To help others less fortunate. To love on people and invest into their lives like i am doing now while traveling. Even if it is something very small that would only effect a dozen people it would make a difference. If we all did our share there would be less death.
Anyhow I’m going to be blogging again with the intentions of posting about every 10 days. Sometimes i get wrapped up in the culture and don’t get to it but ill try my hardest to stay focused! I start in Colombia Friday in Cartagena by the ocean.
Thanks for reading. I apologize for my terrible writing skills. :)
-Free diving, Bali, Indonesia-
Ive blogged 3 times in the last hour just because i have amazing internet speed here at my Uncles place in Vietnam so these videos that i have been meaning to get up I can finally post!
This was shot with a GoPro camera off the east coast of the Island of Bali. An old friend of mine Fabian was there the same time as i was and a new friend we met, Ted had the GoPro so we would take turns recording our free dive at the USS Liberty ship wreck. This time frame during my trip which is about a 4 day journey with these guys on motorbikes around the island was one of the most memorable moments. We had a blast seeing all the marine life and diving down around the ship.
When you watch the video dont forget to change the quality to 720 HD. You’ll enjoy it a lot more.
-Running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. July 7, 2011
I was rummaging around my YouTube account yesterday and ran across this video that the Associated Press recorded of the opening day of the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain 2011. I ran with the bulls that year and it was the most adrenaline filled activity I’ve ever done, and if you know me thats what i crave. Im an adrenaline junky.
The opening day of the 2011 run i ran it sleep deprived while my best friend Geoff Duncan wanted to photograph it because he’s a professional photographer. It was definitely top 3 most memorable moments I’ve had on my adventures traveling the world and the only adrenaline fueled activity that i have done and thought to my self afterwards “That was really dumb and dangerous”. There is no exact count of how many people die each year but from the research I’ve done its an average of about 12. The day i ran i saw 1 man unconscious in the streets and then 1 man, I’m pretty sure, dead in the middle of the stadium that you finish off in at the end of the run. This is why i thought “That was really dumb and dangerous”.
So afterwards we ran into one of Geoffs friends…yes in Spain and his friend was from Dallas, small world. We headed back to his hotel room to rest because at that point i had not slept in 40 hours? I jumped in the shower and Geoff got online really quick and said “I wonder if the video is up for the news networks around the world to use and i wonder if we can find you?”….i literally said there is NO way thats going to happen with the amount of participants that run. Half way through my shower Geoff shouts “Dude! Dude! i found you!” i freaked out and jumped out of the shower and sure enough i was in the video.
Its actually hilarious because i explained to him them exactly how i reacted when i heard screaming coming from behind me while running. I told every one i was running for my life and then heard the shouting and peaked over my shoulder and ‘shit my self’ (sorry mom) and moved to the side for just enough time to get back behind them and run into the ring. Its pretty funny in the video to watch because i throw my hands up and wave them around for that split second before i move to the side. Its hilarious.
You can see me at 1:26 of the YouTube video. That second it switches to a different camera and if you look at the exact middle of the video screen then go to the right slightly and then down you will see me. I have a shaved head and I’m the tradition outfit you would wear for the run (you’ll laugh when you see me poo my pants). I will post again after this with photos and you’ll see what i look like and be able to spot me in the video.
Heres a link to the why the running of the bull is held and the historic background of the race. I could type it out for you but I’m pretty sure someone else can explain it better :-)
Ive been in Addis now for about two weeks and i have experienced a roller coaster ride of emotions. Ive met many passionate humanitarians, life long new friends, and a considerable amount of heartache to re-think the way i and westernized civilization live our lives.
Ive been fortunate enough to arrive into a country that i have connections with people that are well known and have a large network of people that i have been able to meet. People like the right hand man for Blake Mycoskie (Founder of Toms), Ethiopian Lawyers, many humanitarians with non profit organizations, and equally exciting as the rest, local Ethiopians. With all that I’ve been able to learn a ton about their organizations and its planted seeds in my mind to incorporate a business or anything i do in the future with these organizations to help.
A few of the people I’ve met are involved or founders of companies that are changing women’s lives that have been prostitutes or former fuel wood carriers. They are providing a ‘second chance’ or better life for them by weaving scarves, making organic soap, or jewelry. Pam Simpson is one of them and a new friend of mine that founded an organization called Connected In Hope ( www.connectedinhope.org ) which is taking former fuel wood carriers that are women and changing their lives. In a very brief summary of what these women used to do and numerous women are still doing is waking up every day at three am to hike up a mountain called InToto to collect eucalyptus branches for fuel wood. They collect up to 80 lbs of the branches and put them on their backs bundled up and walk back down the mountain. Keep in mind these are women that are maybe weigh 120 lbs? When they reach the bottom the most they will make is equivalent to $1!!! They might do this maximum twice a day. I was with Pam all day a few times and she took me up the mountain to see this with my own eyes. After we went up the mountain she took me to the compound where they make the scarves and sell them for 60 Birr (Ethiopian currency that 1 USD is 17 Birr). She has helped these women change their lives and provide better for their families as well as providing a better life for them
Another new friend is Kiely Concannon. She is a an employee of Mocha Club ( www.themochaclub.org ) that have other branches of companies such as FashionABLE ( www.livefashionable.com ). Which is also an organization that makes scarves and also organic soap and jewelry. They are taking prostitutes off the street and showing them a new life where they can provide for their family making different products that are sold around the world.
Those are just a few people I’ve become close with and been fortunate enough to ride along with them on their daily agendas to their compounds. Ive also met a lot of local Ethiopians that i have played soccer with and listened to their stories and hardships of their life in an under developed country. Don’t take that the wrong way, they are just as happy with their lives and smile just as much as everyone else but they have very little.
Ive also seen a lot of poverty here that has hit me pretty hard. Children in corners of streets huddled together to keep warm under and piece of clothe in the night. Women, Men and children on the streets disabled or just homeless. There are a multitude of organizations here and in other underdeveloped countries around the world helping and changing peoples lives but not even close to the amount that their needs to be to help the world.
Being here has made me re-think what id like to do in the future and incorporate organizations I’ve connected with to be able to help fund the change they are providing for these people. I encourage everyone to travel to a country like this to enjoy the culture, people, and to also come to the realization that the whole world is not in westernized civilization like most of us are in. They own maybe 10 belongings to their name and do not have clean water or three meals a day. Im also not saying go out and start huge non profit organization even though that would be amazing, but realize that even a little help like $7 to mocha club a month, purchasing a scarf or just donating money to an organization could change many lives.
In Bali a few friends and i decided to get scooters and just ride around the island, when it was night time we would pull over and find a place to sleep. We ended up going to the top of a massive volcano. The volcano actually had an active volcano inside of it and next to it was a lake. This sounds absolutely crazy and you’d think its a typo but its not. Anyhow we found some locals that take people up the volcano on a three hour trek to the top starting at about 3:45 am to make it to the top for the sunrise. So we decided to go on it and i just recorded random videos throughout the day to show you what we did. Keep in mind just like the photos the video was shot on my iPhone and i used an application through iTunes to piece together the footage. It isn’t the best quality but it gets the job done!
Happy New Year everyone! I hope everyones new year is filled with happiness and success. It seems the older we get the faster time flies by. Kind of depressing really.
I read a book before by Donald Miller titled: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. It was about his life and how he realized he wanted to live a meaningful life and making memorable moments because he was editing his own life and saw that his life was not so meaningful. In one of the first few pages of the books he writes “You dont even remember half of half of your life.” Its true and so sad. The moments you remember are the ones that something brilliant happened, or exciting that made you remember that exact moment. I love the book and its something that i have always thought of before i read it and when i found his book it all made sense. I believe everyday should be an adventure and to do all the cliche quotes you read. Do one thing that scares you everyday, buy a plane ticket to somewhere you’ve never been, travel to an under developed country and help change the world, run a marathon, or just do something you’ve always dreamed of. Thats what i am doing really. Living a life that is different and not filled with material things. Dont get me wrong I love fast cars, nice places to live, and clothes, but its not a necessity. Traveling for me is something i love because of the cultures i get to experience around the world, the friends i make along the way, how much my mind broadens and just the moments sitting down sharing meals with so many different nationalites and its not something expensive at all. Traveling can be if you stay in luxury hotels and get the “all inclusive packages”. Backpacking isn’t. Taking trains, buses, cheap flights and just figuring you way around is very cheap.
Anyhow i might of rabbled a bit but i just wanted to share a bit and encourage to get out and do something meaningful!
“If you watched a movie about a guy who wanted a Volvo and worked for years to get it, you wouldn’t cry at the end when he drove off the lot, testing the windshield wipers. You wouldn’t tell your friends you saw a beautiful movie or go home and put a record on to think about the story you’d seen. The truth is, you wouldn’t remember that movie a week later, except you’d feel robbed and want your money back. Nobody cries at the end of a movie about a guy who wants a Volvo.
But we spend years actually living those stories, and expect our lives to be meaningful. The truth is, if what we choose to do with our lives won’t make a story meaningful, it won’t make a life meaningful either” -Donald Miller
Hope everyone had an amazing holiday and a great new year to come!