1 Year, 2 Humans, 4 Continents, 5 States, and 7 Countries
When 2016 started, I was certain of where I was headed for the year. A couple months later, I was unhappy and living paycheck to paycheck in a city full of millions of people, all the while feeling more alone than ever.
Obviously, my big move didn’t play out the way I intended it to; I knew I needed a drastic change. I no longer wanted a day job, I no longer craved to have sensible fashion, and I no longer saw any reason to live in a heavily polluted city that took all my money in exchange for a chance to “make it,” which was my exterior motive at the time. Working more than I ever had for a job and company I felt no connection to, I let my art fall into the category of “I’ll get to it when I have time,” which was close to never. I knew, as well did my girlfriend Kim, that I needed to leave. We wanted to discover the Earth, up close and personal.
However, if it weren’t for one three day trip to San Marcos, Guatemala in February, 2016, I wouldn’t of had the emotional strength necessary to pull myself out of the hole I dug for myself. At 18 years old, being a native Floridian who had never left the US, I decided to go to Guatemala. By myself.
At this point, everyone I knew was terrified for me – they didn’t understand why I would want to go to what they considered to be “a dangerous third-world country,” why I didn’t book any hostels ahead of time, or how I was going to get around without a car, all the while knowing nothing but a few basic phrases in Spanish. What everyone else considered to be a reason not to go, I considered to be a reason to go. At the very least, I knew I would survive, and if you know you can survive (and you can 99.99% of the time), what’s stopping you?
It’s a question worth actualizing an answer for, because once you know the answer, you can live it. What I mean by that is, find out what makes your heart rate skyrocket, just by thinking about it. It could be quitting your job, going to a foreign country by yourself, starting a business, or even separating yourself from your partner. Whatever it is you fear the most, make it happen.
Once you understand the one fear capable of defying you the most, the universe is yours for the taking.
Needless to say, I don’t have to describe how my three day trek to Guatemala went, because my life has done all the detailing for me. I quit my “good job,” sold my car, donated more than half of my clothes, shaved my head, bought a backpack, and started going.
In the past six months, Kim and I have visited four continents, seven countries, and five different states. We stumbled across ancient ruins while hiking along the world’s oldest road in Roma (Rome). We stayed with my aunt and uncle in an 18th century chapel made modern, luxurious home in the country side of Wales. We got Thai ornament tattoos from Kim’s all time favorite tattoo artist, Aaron Anthony, in the Soho district of London. We saw Childish Gambino’s only show of the year, in Joshua Tree, California, playing his new album “Awaken, My Love!” in it’s entirety three months before it was released. We became good friends with our Air BnB host, Makoto, in Osaka, Japan, with a massive language barrier in between. We hiked up an active volcano in Guatemala. We watched Tool, The Weekend, Porter Robinson, Mutemath, and Anderson .Paak Halloween Weekend in New Orleans, Louisiana. We ate at the world’s best vegan restaurants in the Fitzroy district of Melbourne, Australia (aka the vegan capitol of the world).
None of the aforementioned adventures would have come about if I hadn’t decided to take a “risk.” However, what was the real risk involved? If ALL shit hit the fan at once, I could have returned to Florida, lived with my parents, and returned to one of my previous day jobs. The real risk, in actuality, would have been to stay in my then, current situation. I would have more than likely held on to the hope that my job would get better the longer I stayed, traveled once every two or three months for no more than a week at a time, and would have continued to let my art flow get smashed by a job that decides its schedule for me. All the while letting myself feel helpless, as if there were nothing I could do about it.
Once I decided to live out my fears instead of living beneath them, I started being where I wanted to be, doing what I wanted to do, and being with who I wanted to be with. Don’t believe me? Well, think about this: for the past six months I haven’t worked a single day job, yet somehow managed to always have sufficient funds to provide myself with shelter, food, and good times. As soon as I stopped associating value with money, it stopped limiting me and I began to use it to exceed my own limits. The value of money can be extended tenfold when you have no obligation to time or place; when you have no obligation to time or place, you are able to decide where and what you spend your time on, and that allows you full rights to your happiness.
Carry your discoveries with you into 2017, applying them directly to your reality; get prepared for a year full of forward momentum.
Much love friends – thank you for caring, taking an interest, and playing a part in Kim and I’s journey. The support from you guys is what has allowed us to prosper this past year. This next year, we’re giving back.