I’ve often been asked what drives me to travel so much. You mean “seeing beautiful places and discovering the world” isn’t explanation enough! I’ve had the travel bug since I was young, as I mentioned on my “about me” page. But it’s even deeper than that. It’s a form of escape and huge help for my mental wellbeing, as all vacation tend to be. I started traveling a few years after graduating college with my brothers. We made a pact that we would travel once a year and that consisted of trips to Hawaii, Cancun and the Philippines in the first three years. Then adulthood took a hold of our lives. Two of us wanted to purchase our own homes and the third was getting married so we were taking a couple of years off. As one year past, then so did another and the travel pact became a distant memory. It’s always hard to find people to travel with but I managed to continue to travel every few years. For most people, travel is something we love to talk about but never truly budget for.
One day, I was sitting in my cubical, at work, stressing through the day as I had for the last few months, and my Arrhythmia kicked in. The phone ringing off the hook and my work queue piling up with no end in sight. My heart-felt like it was the size of a bowling ball in my chest. I stopped everything, quitted my mind and began to take long breaths. This lasted for about 20 minutes and I was able to get my heart to a manageable level. It was the end of the day so I was able to gather myself and I made my way home to reflect on what just happened. This was my awakening. I, then, realized how precious every moment is. I no longer wanted to “live to work” but… to “work to live.” I have been living most my adult life with Arrhythia but it had never gotten to this level of severity. Prior to this I had been thinking about traveling again but had no one that could afford to go with me. Then, I thought how hard could it be to wander the world solo? I had always put together the itinerary and I booked all the flights and accommodations so I didn’t need to rely on anyone. The biggest thing I would have to deal with is society’s stereotype on solo travelers. You’re looked upon as if you’re a leper. “I would get over it” is what I told myself as I made plans.
I made my choice, I would travel to Belize, a beautiful country just hours away by flight and their official language is English. Some of the fears of traveling would be minimized on this trip, language barrier and distance. That left the safety concern. I found that if you plan your transfers ahead of time, from airport to hotel or hotel to hotel, you can minimize your risk. I avoid public transportation and use shared shuttles or private transportation. Making the safe decisions was something I would have to keep in mind and stay away from those “Locked up Abroad” bad decisions. I had an amazing time in Belize, hiking and exploring the rainforest and soaking up the sun and cooling off in the waters of the second largest barrier reef in the world. It was such a success that traveling alone no longer bother me and became my preferred way to travel. Independence, sense of accomplishment, new gained confidence and not having to compromise to others needs made solo travel enjoyable for me. It’s now been about eight years since this inaugural solo venture and I continually travel internationally two or three times a year. Since then I’ve only had one notable incident with my Arrhythmia. I can’t scientifically prove that travel has had a major effect on my health but I truly believe my mental health contributes significantly to my physical and overall wellbeing. Also, if you’ve been following my blog, you’ll notice a definite theme in the type of travel I do. It’s one of adventure, consisting of more physical activity than your regular vacation. I’ve designed my expeditions around the idea that I won’t be able to do these activities when I’m older so I do it now while I still can.
I don’t know if my friends and family truly understand the importance of travel in my life and I’m quite sure they don’t fully understand why I blog about it as well. Talking about my travels with people who don’t have that option can sound like I’m bragging about my accomplishments. So, I’ve adjusted and minimize my descriptions and lengths of my conversations about my travels. My blog has become my outlet to tell the whole world of my travels. My family and friends are aware of my blog but I don’t even know if they still visit. My trips have come in rapid succession and may no longer carry quite the same value is it once had when I started my journey. I’ve also found it to be a great way to communicate with like-minded people who have inspired me to journey to places I once never heard of or never even considered in visiting. I also hope I’ve affected others the same way. I’ve had offers to monetize my site, on a small level, but I continue to keep it advertisement-free, a labor of love, a space for inspiration.
I’ve been able to live out my childhood dreams and follow my adulthood aspirations. Wandering the world fills my heart with joy and stimulates my mind with all its wonders and beauty. I’ll continue to roam the dirt roads and kayak the waters of the world, discovering it two weeks at a time.