About a year ago, I was writing about my Round the World trip winding down and returning to the workforce, my career. I’ve gone through a whole bunch of ‘things’ in the past year which mostly remind me that 1) life is short and random, and 2) I can do anything I want to. On the first topic, I did a number to my spine and compressed L1, L2 vertebrae. About a 3 month resting period and I’m still recovering from that one, probably will be for the rest of my life.
I’m writing this because there are more incoming questions now that I am home than there was before I left. 14 countries in 14 months. Not super fast pace, but I did spend 8+ months in Australia. Q/A Session: Q: Where was your favorite place?! A: This is the most common question. If you really want me to sum up my favorite part of the past 14 months in a sentence ….
The LAST LEG of my 14 MONTH RTW trip was in Japan. I don’t know what to think of Japan, it is a magnificently crazy place (Tokyo – biggest city in world), a majestic countryside (Kyoto, Nikko, Fujisan, Nara, etc) and everything in between. I’m glad I went there because I have no background history with “eastern countries” and their culture. It was a humbling experience to got Hiroshima, for sure.
Wow, I’ve been away from home for a year. Time runs quick, I remember being nervous to leave, now I’m nervous to be in one place for too long. New Zealand was totally rad. It was exactly what people say regarding seeing all aspects of the world (nature-wise) in one little island, sooo primo. It takes quite abit to get on my list of places to come back to because there is so much to see in the world, but I’ll go back to New Zealand.
My road trip up and down the east coast of Australia ended in August, a fair few weeks ago. I drove 9000 kilometers and spent over $1000 in diesel (yikes). I was on the road for two months. I saw some cool stuff along the way. I basically drove 300-400kms per day and stayed “somewhere” for the night. If I was to do it again, I would go with someone else to split fuel costs and make the driving bits more exciting.
A month on the road isn’t so bad, eh? So far, I’ve been living in my van & finding car parks to sleep in by the ocean mostly, it is a tough life! Haha. Notable so far: In June, I set up camp at Skydive Ramblers and made 30 skydives over a few weeks. That was fun, good dz there with nice people. It was an awesome break from “working” at a dz.
I’m leaving my home base in Australia, Skydive Maitland, and venturing off. It all started with an idea, and this: I took the seats out of the van, put a bed in the back and now I’m ready to go. My grand plan is to go all the way around Australia. Some people tell me it is 25,000km or so. I have no real time commitments (as always), so for now I’m heading “north” – to where it is warmer.
Well, the title says it. I’ve now been here for two months. I’m working at [Skydive Maitland], which is 40 minutes from the coast and 2+ hours from Sydney. So far, I’ve broke even on my Australian travel/living expenses AND I’m skydiving 3-4 days a week, what could be better? I did 99 jumps in March, normally I do 400 per year. Australia is pretty nice, it is easy to live here and there is plenty to see but it is hard to get places since the country is so big and I need a few days break to go someplace.
I wrote about how I ended up in Sri Lanka in my last post, here. I ended up with a GI sickness during my second week, from the a bad meal or water and it spoiled the last week that I was there, but I had my own room, bathroom, a good book, and a resort on the beach. Overall, the first week was fun, teaching English, living in a small village and being immersed in the culture staying with a host family.
Preface: It appears that I have fallen behind in my writings. It’s a shame really because I think of things that I should write in the moment and then forget. However, as I’m embracing slowish travel, sometimes I just don’t really do anything that is interesting to write about every day/week. My last post was about my time in Greece. Since then I have been to Istanbul, Dubai, and (now) Sri Lanka.
No, the country is not in flames or rioting everyday, bad media, bad. I spent 12 days in Greece. The Greek hospitality is superb, I can not ask for better friends in Greece. I first arrived in Thessaloniki, stayed there for a few nights. Then went to Larissa, and stayed with my friend and his family. There was a small communication barrier with his parents in this smaller town, they don’t get too many tourists.
I was in Budapest for 11 days. I couchsurfed there and it is longer than I normally stay at someone’s house, by far. So, thanks Paul! Budapest was nice, reminded me much of Prague. While, I was there I visited a Turkish Bath, that was very interesting experience. Imagine, a social, public “hot tub & sauna” with water naturally hot. I found a newly minted Crossfit gym, RC Duna, that opened up it’s doors for a traveller, so gracious.
To wrap up my November, I finished up my stay in Prague. The below were two-day trips, where I was embracing home-base travel – meaning I would go somewhere then come back. Before I left the Czech Republic, I also went to Cesky Krumlov, an amazing medieval town, UNESCO town, castle, brewery, winding streets, very glad I went there. I’m thinking about how to get back there during the summer. Cesky Krumlov is the second most visited city in the Czech Republic.
I’d like to write some sort of public status report or brain dump of what’s going on. I’ve been on-the-road for one month of the planned 12 months and just “Living the Dream” as many of the fellow travelers would say. I’ve met so many people so far, some have been really inspiring, some are not. I’m embracing the idea of slow travel and/or home base travel. I really don’t care how you travel, but the Eurorail, every capital city for two days is not what I want to do.
I took a weekend trip to Kutná Hora and Olomouc. Kutná Hora was on the way via train so I got off there (with a small connection train) and visited the Bone Church, a common gravesite of over 40,000 people. I feel like it is one of those things that will just disappear someday – bones won’t last forever in the open air like that. Otherwise, Kutná Hora was just a small town and I didn’t do much else there besides get on the train again for the city Olomouc (a-la-moats).
(I’d like to first give a global shout out to my first Crossfit home, The Athlete Lab) Since I’m in Prague for a month, I became a member of Crossfit Praha instead of just being a drop-in client. The gym is quite small, but centrally located in Prague. The lifting days are separate than the normal days (probably unless you are a trusted regular). The premise is, you show up during a block of time, warm up on your own, proceed with WOD, then cool down on your own which is pretty standard across gyms from what I can tell, exception being that everyone is starting the WOD at their own time (not structured times).
This adventure of mine is really turning into an adventure.. I’m staying in Prague for another month. I’m working at a hostel as a bartender and getting my own private room and one/two meals per day. I have two consecutive days off per week and I plan on going on overnight trips to other cities in Czech. I’ve basically invalidated the rest of my planning for the next month or two but I’ll figure that out later..
I’ve been in Prague since Oct 17, 10 days now. I really like the city and hope to explore more of the country soon besides the capital city. The city’s archetecture is nice because it was virtual untouched during WW2. The culture is somewhat interesting because it was communist until 1989. Now the city is preserving what was left to decay during that era. The food is good, the beer is good, and the city is cheap to live in.
I went to Dordrecht for just a short time, a very small town. We made a mistake on the waterbus that led us to walking around the town for a few hours until we could get to the intended goal of Kinderdijk. Kinderdijk is the home of the famous windmills that Holland is known for. The windmills are preserved and still working but not used since the invention of the electric pump.
After spending a few days in Amsterdam, it was very refreshing to goto Rotterdam. Rotterdam, a 1h20m train ride away from Amsterdam, was interesting to me because it is essentially a new town by Europe standards. There are many, many new buildings in Rotterdam since it was bombed and essentially destroyed during WW2, however, being the largest port in Europe (formally the largest in the world) it has been rebuilt pretty fast.
I was in Amsterdam for 3 days and 2 nights. My first impressions were quite interesting. The culture in Amsterdam is quite liberal and relaxed, but it is also regulated. This was my first stop in my RTW trip. As my first stop, it was a great place to be dropped in to Europe. It allowed me to get into the Euro mindset and figure out what the heck I was doing.
25 hours until I board the plane… I am excited. So very excited to begin the adventure, to see the world, to assimilate other cultures. Oh, the possibilities. I am nervous. Slightly nervous because I am leaving the comfortable safety of “being home.” I am sad. Mostly sad to leave my family and friends. Of course, I won’t be off the grid, at all. And, I will be back! Eventually. Love you all, thanks for the well wishes!
I’m getting out of here in 12 days. 12… Just taking a moment to reflect on my last day of work, today. Very mixed emotions because I’ve become friends with some of my colleagues. On one hand I am excited for the unknown future. However, also very uneasy about losing the stable income that I’ve enjoyed for the past…6 years. Salary does not correlate to happiness, though. I feel like my happiness potential is greater in my long run now.
For years, I’ve used Google Voice to handle my voicemail instead of the carrier solution. About 4 weeks ago I ported my cell phone number to Google Voice. Google Voice is just another VOIP carrier that has free SMS/calls to and from numbers in the US. The international rates seem good too. Some of my personal pro’s/con’s: Simple web interface to use, integrated Google Contacts with my google account. Easy. Voicemail service.
Since “announcing” my plans, I’ve received some of the same questions. Here goes: Q: Where are you staying in every country? A: I don’t care to micro manage every part of the trip. I’ll figure out where to stay when I get there. I’ll use overnight trains/planes and sleep while moving. When I get somewhere, I’ll go have a tea/beer and ask the locals/bartenders where to stay – it will be great.
It’s not a fantasy, I realize – the big dream is actually beginning! sab·bat·i·cal /səˈbatikəl/ Noun: any extended period of leave from one’s customary work, especially for rest, to acquire new skills or training, etc. I am writing this because it is not possible to tell EVERYONE that I know in an intimate setting about my travel plans. That is, I’m embarking on a Round-the-World trip starting in October of this year.