I felt so Bilbo-esque four years ago when I said to myself, “Let’s go on an adventure.” Maybe Bilbo even felt like me, as if his life should have more meaning than it did. On paper, the age of 27 saw me with a philosophy degree, a divorce, debt, a recently deceased father, and a resume that most recently included video store clerk after being laid off from my dream job. So what was the natural thing to do? I’ll tell you what the natural thing was NOT to do. It’s not to quit the only job you have to start your own business as a freelance writer/consultant, leave all of your possessions, and then travel the world without any saved money.
But I did just those things. But while I’ve been fortunate enough to travel my entire life, I always viewed travel as an end in itself, rather than a means to an end. A trip was simply the collection of experiences between the time I stepped onto the plane (or into the car) until I stepped off. I didn’t see travel as something that affected my life beyond the actual trip itself. That all changed, however, when I bought a one-way ticket to Central America.