The Heart of Traveling

How the words of Walt Whitman resonate as the year closes:

Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

“Healthy” and “free”, descriptive words to evoke what traveling symbolized to Walt. The further I delve into a gypsy existence, traveling is a mental, emotional or spiritual awakening. Oh, but let’s not forget the physical benefits.

  • Blood pressure, heart rate, and levels of epinephrine – a stress hormone – decline on holidays after only one or two days.
  • An annual vacation can cut a person’s risk of heart attack by 50%.
  • Travelers rate their overall health one full point higher (on a scale of 1 to 5) while on vacation. They also get three times more deep sleep after their vacation.

Interesting. I had always measured travel by how it makes me feel. Good. Ecstatic. Never how it affects me physically. Clearly, travel is a holistic venture. It can garner several meanings for many people. Almost Fearless or Nomadic Matt view it as freedom. A guidebook writer might treat it as a systematic job with added perks.

Freedom is about 50% of it for me. The other 50% is devoted to the concept of change.

It was a Monday, I sat at my cubicle station, clicking my mouse, my wrist supported by a special mouse pad to combat wrist strain. I hadn’t seen the top of my desk in weeks, piles of paper sneered at me in silent judgment. Recirculated air hit my nostrils causing me to cough. A steady lump of emptiness sat in my heart. Always there, never

December 31st, 2009|Categories: Life|Tags: , |9 Comments

Isn’t 6 Months Kinda Early?

Yes, it is. I debated the wisdom in starting this blog so soon. Most blogs I’ve read begin at the first travel point.  Methinks I’m similar to many folks, the ones willing to jump ahead, but still require hand-holding. Preparing to abandon my current life is a process in itself, and are the building blocks to the actual trip.

You’ll read my moments of perfect clarity or borderline cowardice. Luckily tonight, the sky is blue with full steam ahead. Lately I’ve gained insight through these methods:

  1. Books, books, books.
  2. Blogs.
  3. Twitter. I’m humbled by the massive community.
  4. Starting this site. Publishing my words across the web renders my plans concrete — intensely real.
  5. Shopping for gear.
  6. Sharing my story with supportive people. Close friends or even your dog would do.
  7. Fantasizing about the day I quit my job.

Finally, a friend suggested I tack a world map to my bedroom wall. Genius!

I’ll stare at it in wonderment. To fathom that many destinations exist in the world and I’ll get to experience a few?  Inspiration can arrive from anywhere, always be on the lookout. Oh, don’t forget to answer when it knocks.

December 30th, 2009|Categories: Life|Tags: |7 Comments

10 Ways North America Prevents You From Traveling

1.  Student loans. Back in my day, student loans were an anomaly, now it’s normal protocol. Unless being a doctor, lawyer or engineer is your goal, save the liberal arts degree by experiencing art and culture firsthand –  by traveling.  A $30,000 loan equates to $45,000 with interest.

2.  Credit cards are money. No, credit cards are an electronic figment of our imagination. Essentially you are purchasing products with ghost money and the added bonus is 18.5% interest per year. Credit cards aren’t useless, but too often they are factored into a person’s income.

3.  You must buy real estate in order to be whole and solvent. Many of my friends purchased real estate. I suspect it’s the nesting instinct to procreate and plant on one spot. Nothing wrong with that, but if traveling is your desire, pouring money into square footage you probably don’t need, on top of $10,000 in renovations won’t get you any closer to Shanghai. Renting a swanky apartment is just as fulfilling and frees up money to save towards a trip.

4.  You don’t own a BMW? Due to slick car commercials, the right kind of car melded with status eons ago.  Maintenance costs $300 to $400 a year, gas ranges from $60 to $80 per month, and a car payment is well, not cheap. With the advent of carbon impact, car cooperatives are growing in numbers. Many employers offer discounted monthly bus passes. Furthermore, architects are building mixed use (live and shop) developments in droves, eliminating the need for a vehicle.

5.  Live large. A few years ago I was laid off from a job and managed to collect

December 29th, 2009|Categories: Travel Tips|Tags: |17 Comments

The Countdown Begins

A Little Reflection

2009 is almost done, but my journey is about to start.  The recession cut short a promotion at work and afforded me time to reflect during this past year.

  1. Job that pays reasonably well→ check.
  2. Friends→ check.
  3. Money to spend on material items→

December 28th, 2009|Categories: Life|Tags: |16 Comments