Friday, September 10th, 2010 was the day. I walked into my office with my briefcase and I walked out with a backpack. I really did do that. It was somewhat ceremonious and I kind of wish I could have videotaped it. No, traveling the world isn’t for everyone and many people will live great lives doing the 9 to 5, but I had to quit the rat race. So I threw all of my things into a 5 x 10 storage unit, parked my car at my mom’s house and I hit the road.
To kick things off, I was in New York City for a week and talked to many people who asked me what I was doing, and no doubt, whether they meant to or not, gave me some rather strange looks. More than once I got: “So you aren’t really like living anywhere? You’re just traveling”. Brook Silva-Braga, who produced the RTW trip film A Map for Saturday, no doubt got the same looks when he left a comfortable, well paying job and life to travel the world. People who know me, might would say I’m running away from the bad choices I’ve made in life. While others may think this is just a “phase”. For me, it comes to something I wrote about a couple months ago. It’s about writing my own story in life. Not about picking up the story where my dad left off or living the story that someone else wants me to live, but writing my own story that is full of meaning and adventure.
During my last night in New York, I decided to take an early evening sunset walk through Brooklyn. I know what you’re thinking. Brooklyn?! Yes, Brooklyn. As I walked through the streets of Crown Heights, the same Crown Heights that earlier in the day I had heard Will Ferrell proclaim in The Other Guys was home to a serial rapist, I was reminded of why I’m doing what I’m doing. It was the taco truck, the kids playing on the sidewalk, the older man playing on the djembe drum on the stoop, the man leaning against the car wearing jorts and a tank top, the conversation with the innkeeper about the history of the neighborhood and even the faint smell of Mary Jane as I approached my inn. Sure the big name attractions are great, but it is those people, ideas and conversations that a photo can’t quite capture, that make travel such a rewarding experience for me. It was these experiences and the people I experience them with that make travel something bigger than myself. It’s those meaningful and lasting experiences where I can say with a fellow traveler: “Hey, you remember that time when…”.
I’m not sure where this journey will take me, but it’s off to a great start. Do you have to sell the farm and travel the world to live a meaningful life? By no means, and there are many people that have lived legendary lives by doing the 9 to 5 everyday of their life and teaching their children to be upstanding people that this world needs. However, for me, I’m writing my own story by doing the two things I love the most: traveling and writing about it. I feel like New York City marks the beginning of a new chapter in life and you’ll find below some of what’s become a new story for me. I hope you’ll come be a part of it.
Photos were taken by Kirsten Alana.