Don’t ever be afraid to reinvent yourself. – Bill Nuti
As any backpacker will tell you, it is more often about the people you meet along your journey than it is about the incredible landscapes or countries you find yourself in, because these adventurous souls share much of the same experiences, hardships, and loneliness that is inevitable with any great journey, but we also share strength, determination, and beauty in living life with a new sense of clarity by learning to be more patient, understanding, and compassionate for others. One of these great inspiring individuals has been my friend Ashley from Oregon that I first met in Krabi, Thailand back in September of 2013 and was reunited with her in Bangkok several months later, and yet again coming back from South Korea as we made the trek north to Chiang Mai in November. She wrote, “If somebody would have told me a year ago that my week long jaunt to Jamaica for spring break was going to turn in to backpacking around the globe for a year, I never would have believed them. While it has been the best thing I ever could have done, it has definitely been hard at times. I am an incredibly lucky person. But so is everyone. It's easy to see someone's life from the outside and think it is more glamorous, happier or easier than yours, especially with people's constant need to brag about what they are doing via social media. How happy or in love they are, the "luckiest person in the world" statements, or pictures of what they are eating, drinking, what party they are at or trip they went on. Sometimes I feel like I’m conforming to this when putting up pictures of my travels. But it is the easiest way to keep my friends and family informed on where I am and what I'm doing. And for that, I am thankful of the old fb. However, that's not to say that everything has been smooth sailing. The most awesome people you meet will have been through the worst. And anyone who has escaped heartache, loss or grueling obstacles that life seems to catapult at them, they truly are the unlucky ones, because they have probably not experienced much at all. Be kind. Be selfless. Be brave.” I couldn’t agree more because while many people only see the photos of what I put up online, they often have no idea how difficult the journey was to be able to take that single solitary photo. It’s not about a lifestyle of “look at me, and be envious,” but to encourage others to be brave and strong in their life and to have faith in what they can achieve. When I took my first solo-backpacking trip to Europe in 2004, the extensive proliferation of the Internet as a communication tool was still up and coming, and international calling cards or short emails were the only way to let family and friends know that I was out of harm’s way. But, even now 10 years later, while I am able to post in more of a broad format with my travel blog or uploading photos to good ole fb, which is more of a way to backup my photos than anything, it is still limiting with the lack of consistent WiFi or other obstacles at times and can certainly be frustrating. But, as I spoke with family and friends before departing the States, telling them very seriously that I am unsure where life may take me and that I am unsure if I will ever return to the States to live, I am thankful for all of life’s blessings, daily, and hope that courage may find you to achieve your dreams and passion in life.
Things that always tend to be a constant in my life; some type of bug bite or healing scabs from scratching at bug bites, guessing which items of clothing may be clean enough to wear that day with the smell test, and the numerous unread (often buried) messages and emails that get neglected. I continue to apologize the most for the last one, but attempting to juggle staying in contact with people is not always the easiest with differing time zones and trying to experience the places that I am in, even with the luxury of living without a specific scheduled daily agenda, thus the reason for having a travel blog that even I have been pleasantly surprised with the fact that I have continued to stay disciplined in writing as often as I can over the past two years. I realized from my previous travels that this would ultimately be the easiest way to bring others in to an understanding of extended travel as well as to allow those to feel as though they are there joining me on my journey. This time I have found myself in one of the world’s 10 most expensive cities, Singapore. The little red dot as it is commonly referred to because that’s typically how it is referenced on maps due to the miniscule size of the country and has been humorously embraced, I know that many of my fellow backpackers that have experienced it wonder how on earth am I able to spend 16 days here while traveling on a budget? My answer. You need a Rommel. A good friend from California that happens to work in finance is the only way I’ve been able to stay here without breaking the bank.