Why I’m planning a trip

around the world

I’m in the process of planning an adventure around the world starting in the middle of July! You might be thinking, why quit everything, leave home / family / friends and indefinitely travel the world? Here are my personal, rambling reasons for taking off.

13 min read

I need to do it

That answer might seem a bit trite, but it’s my ultimate truth. Traveling long-term and seeing the world has always been a dream of mine, ever since I was young. Even now, I look at it as the ultimate supercharger for altering the course of my life.

At the time of writing this, I’m 29 years old. If don’t pursue this bucket-list goal now, I likely won’t get the chance to try it again. While embarking on this trip means that I won’t know what my life will be like over the next few years, I know exactly what my life will be if I stay where I’m at now. That reality is one I reject with every fiber of my being.

For the longest time, I continuously put off this idea because, well, it was scary as hell and I was comfortable in my day-to-day routine. That being said, life has a funny way of waking you up and forcing you to pull your head out of the sand.

Last year, I moved home and lived with my parents in order to save money. I had two potential ideas on how to use that savings: to pay for long-term travel or to use as a down-payment on a house. While in the process of staying at home and saving, I went through a difficult breakup. While sad, it woke me up to the fact that, at 29 years old, this was most likely the last chance I’d have to go on an adventure like this. I’d never be this free. Not only free from most responsibilities like car payments, a mortgage, a significant other, and children, but also free to use my disposable income 100% selfishly.

This around the world idea was slowly starting to take shape. As early as May of last year (2018), I took the initial baby steps to try and wrap my head around the idea of indefinitely leaving.

My trip to Iceland crystalized my intent

(Pun intended)

In the months following that breakup, I took the time to get myself together mentally and emotionally. I deleted my social media, became even more focused on exercise, developed meditation and yoga habits, learned to practice gratitude, and made an astonishing amount of introspective discoveries. You can see some of my thought processes in my 29 thoughts at 29 post.  Putting things in perspective really helped me realize that I wanted to travel alone.

With that in mind, where should I go? There were too many options. I agonized over the choices for days, until a friend finally digitally yelled at me, “JUST PICK ONE.” Iceland it was. I had seen too many photos to believe the country was real, let alone a place that I could go and visit.

I was originally planning on going to Iceland alone. I was looking into renting a camper van and making my way around the country on a solo adventure. As luck would have it, I overheard some of my friends from my D&D group (where my nerds at?) talk about, “The Golden Circle,” which is a commonly traversed road in Iceland. After a quick flurry of questions, we both discovered that we were going to Iceland at the same time. After some disbelief at the serendipity of the situation, we merged groups, and the rest is history.

In Iceland, we lived out of a camper van and circumnavigated the country. We packed light (only taking 1 backpack each), lived simply (eating lunchmeat sandwiches and pasta 90% of the time), and had once-in-a-lifetime experiences over those two weeks. After returning, one thought solidified in my mind.

“I f**king have to take that trip.”

So, I started planning

Slowly, but surely. I’m 4 months out of leaving as I’m writing this and I still don’t have much of a plan. The procrastination is a constant battle and I have to fight down the pre-trip anxiety every day. My brain will subconsciously undermine my confidence, “Do I even want to do this?” Therein lies the problem.

The issue with planning this trip so far out (my tentative GTFO date is July 14th) is that I’m taking on all of the negative aspects of the planning and second-guessing without any of the positive experiences soon to come. Waiting in the doldrums of the months preceding the trip are exquisitely boring. Daily life seems stagnant; everything is about just waiting to leave. While I was selfishly stuck in the endless feedback loop of stressing and procrastinating about planning this adventure, life found a way to wake me up yet again.

A family health scare altered my plans

Not even three weeks from the time this was written, my mom had a seizure. After bringing her to the hospital, my family was stunned to find out that she had a brain tumor the size of a golf ball. The pressure and inflammation was what caused the seizure and it had likely been growing for over 30 years. We were stunned to say the least. One thought kept circling around in my head,

“How can I take this trip now, not knowing what will happen to my mom?”

I had instantly abandoned the idea of the trip and planned to use the money I had saved to help with the inevitable hospital bills.

That first weekend in the hospital was spent hanging out with one another laughing, praying, and having deep discussions about our hopes, fears, and dreams. In the midst of those conversations, I had a cautiously optimistic idea. If all goes well, why not have my mom come on part of the trip?

After the scariest and most uncertain weekend of my family’s collective lives, we finally got good news from the resident neurosurgeon. The tumor was most likely benign and would potentially be easy to remove. As long as it hadn’t grown over the optic nerve or any major blood vessels, she’d be fine. The bad news? She had to be transferred to another hospital again, this time all the way in Miami. We were reservedly optimistic.

It was a long week of planning, arguing with insurance companies, and waiting to be seen by the newly referred neurosurgeon in Miami. We finally were able to meet with him on a Friday morning and had the procedure promptly scheduled three days later. He seemed confidently optimistic, so our mood reflected his. We banded together, took the train to the hospital, and stayed together right up until my mom’s procedure. It was an incredibly stressful day, but it ended with the best news I’ve ever heard.

My mom was fine

The neurosurgeon himself said it was one of the easiest procedures he’d ever done, taking only 2 1/2 hours in total. She was released from the hospital just two days after having the surgery! Right now, she’s currently at home sipping her Starbucks chai tea latte and making self-deprecating jokes about her bruising from the procedure. With my mom being 100% okay and recovering, the idea of leaving didn’t seem so ridiculous anymore. It’s been both my and my mom’s dream to travel the world, so I’ll be leaving enough funds for her to come meet with me when she’s ready and able. Having her come with me and explore the world is one of the top items on my bucket list and I’ll do everything I can to make it become a reality.

That’s why i’m planning a trip around the world!

Thanks for sifting through my rambling thoughts on what led me to take this trip. I’m currently battling some form of sinus infection / allergy attack, so I’m only moderately positive that what I wrote makes any sense. Do you have any suggestions on where to go? Urgent steps I might be missing in my plans? Comment below and let me know!