I never thought this day would come. In fact when I first quit my corporate life to start traveling the world I never knew or cared about where I would be in five years. Or even five months for that matter. All I realized was that I wanted — no, needed — to break free from my cubicle and see what all I had been missing out on.
For the previous four and a half years my life had been work, sleep, and repeat. I had no social life, no girlfriend, and almost zero free time. It was work, work, work, and all in pursuit of that “American Dream.” Get a job, buy a house, work your way up the corporate ladder, and somewhere along the way find time to start a family. Although the last one never happened — and in fact still hasn’t, for as anyone who knows me also knows that I not only have the worst luck when it comes to the love department but also that life as a permanent traveler makes having a “normal” relationship hard, very hard — somewhere along the way I lost sight of the American Dream. I realized that it was not for me.
For those who don’t know, when I turned 24 I had a midlife crisis. Sure, I had a promising career, a fat paycheck, and oh yes a work phone so that I could be woken up at 3am with more questions. (As if I didn’t slave away enough during the day I also was needed in my sleep.) At first it makes a guy feel important and necessary, especially when all my coworkers were twice my age. But it also drained me, both physically and mentally. On my 24th birthday as I sat in my office looking around at all my coworkers, many of whom had spent 30+ years with the company, it all started to hit me. Sure, they might have visited our sister office in Penang on a business trip or taken the family to a resort in Mexico for a week, but they had never really seen the world. They knew nothing outside of the confines of their office except for the “news” they saw on CNN. I finally realized that I did not want to be like them.
That Day I Made Up My Mind
After several hours of deliberation over the exact wording I went to my boss and handed in my notice. Three weeks later and I was a free man with a one-way plane ticket back to the Philippines.
Since then I have had an amazing amount of adventures, from partying with Yakuza and Japanese rappers in Tokyo to staying in remote regions of the Philippine jungle to living with some of the nicest families I’ve ever met in Central America and even getting to do a film and television game show appearance in Indonesia. Do I have any regrets? Nope! Well, maybe one…I wish I had begun travel blogging at the start of this adventure instead of several years down the road.
Sure, I’ve written about a few events from the past, such as my six month hippie road trip in the States in a converted school bus named the Future, taking it one step further than Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters did with their Futhur bus back in the 1960s. But I live in the present and have daily adventures. There is no time for me to even think about the past, let alone write about it. Besides, by this point my information and recommendations could very well be outdated and/or irrelevant now. The best that I can do is keep documenting my current adventures.
This Amazing Planet Is The World’s Largest Classroom
I’ve learned more about this incredible planet we can home, not to mention more about myself, in the last five years of my life than in the 24 years prior to that. In fact I truly believe that sometimes one must lose themselves in order to find themselves. Modern society in the western world is an incredibly fast-paced, non-stop onslaught of technology, innovations and advertisements. Corporations want people to believe that they need a new phone every three months and a new vehicle every three years. This wasteful, consumption-based lifestyle cannot sustain itself — either economically or physically. We are destroying our planet in the name of profit — profit that only a select few are seeing — while other people in this world survive off practically nothing. And here’s the crazy part folks: some of the happiest, friendliest people I’ve met in all my years traveling are also the poorest.
Money does not make you happy. To quote Notorious B.I.G., “mo’ money, mo’ problems.”
I’m not saying that it isn’t nice to have a healthy bank account — and it sure as hell makes traveling easier when you don’t have to worry about sticking to a budget — but money is not the answer and certainly not what you should be chasing after your entire life. Find yourself, try travel. After all travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer.
What else have I learned from a life on the road?
Foreign travel makes a far greater impact on a person’s character, beliefs and knowledge than it does on their wallet.
It is wiser to fall in love at first sight with a city or region than a person — no chance of being stalked later.
Living an adventurous life may hurt sometimes — especially on the wallet 😉 — but a life of monotony will surely kill you.
Spend money on experiences, not possessions. You’ll find that you lead a much richer and more enjoyable life.
For More Please Read: Travel Wisdom: 4 Years & 16 Countries Later…
So What Does The Future Hold For Me?
That is the million dollar question my friend. I have no idea. Currently I’m motorcycling Vietnam, on the hunt for off the grid places where white people never visit. I have no map, no plans, just trying to take the road less traveled and see where it goes. For all I know I could accidentally cross into Laos without even realizing it. But that is the beauty of long-term travel and refusing to make any plans — all of the best stuff in life happens unexpectedly. Trying to plan things is akin to forcing something to be, at least in my opinion, and that has never worked for me.
However yesterday I broke my one cardinal rule of traveling (never plan anything) by spending a couple hours Skyping with Jenny Jusuf, my partner in crime for The Indonesia Tour de Horror, determining our exact itinerary and dates. We had to do this for a couple of different reasons, not just since she has a tight schedule and a new book release coming soon but also because we have to pitch Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, and several others for sponsorship, concessions and accommodations along the journey.
Beyond that my travel writing will not only continue but also increase exponentially in both quality and quantity as I have now fully embraced this lifestyle and learned how to juggle work and travel. You can expect posts in both English and Bahasa Indonesia as well, since Indonesia has become my newest area of expertise. I will also soon start publishing eBooks full of advice and information on how to successfully — and affordably — travel the world as I have done. I understand that many of my readers have no desire to get outside of their comfort zone and are instead happy to live vicariously through me. However I also realize that many of my friends and followers want to learn how to do what I’m currently doing and thus would love to help them achieve their goals.
But I’m also very curious…
What Do You Want To See From Me And The HoliDaze In The Future?
How can I better serve you? Would you like to see more articles with basic travel information on various countries or regions? Or perhaps you’d prefer I write more about some of the off-the-grid destinations I find or the crazy adventures I get myself into? What would make you most happy? After all I aim to please 🙂
Share any of your thoughts, comments, questions or even complaints down below, I assure you I read and respond to every one. Thanks, y’all rock!