Alexplorer has been back in his home state of Colorado for about a year now… Don’t worry he’s still quenching his thirst for adventure exploring the mountains of his beautiful state. He is still blogging about adventures and you can find his musings on his new website Colorado Travel Guy. The idea behind the website is to provide visitors or locals of Colorado a guide of what to do in Colorado. It also forces Alexplorer to get out there and see new parts of Colorado. Please check it out!!
Today during my lunch break I was walking to my local supermarket to get some food. The weather was a sweltering 95 degrees Fahrenheit and the neighborhood around my office isn’t exactly the most affluent neighborhood of the city. Sweating my way through the sun trying best to briefly clear my mind from the hectic day of work I noticed a man with his shirt open laying on his back on the concrete. At first I thought he might need some help, but then I saw a women sitting with him on some front porch steps. The two were clearly three stages past drunk and mumbling in Spanglish to each other. They muttered nonsensical gibberish my way when I passed and it got me thinking. When I left the office I had just finished a mentally stimulating conversation regarding a new form of marketing. The ideas passed between the other people I work with involved a high level of thought, strategy and focus to understand and implement. The difference between the conversation that ensued before my lunch walk and the one I witnessed during my lunch walk were literally like that of two different species. In fact I was thinking if I could replace one of the homeless, drunk persons with one of my business colleagues, they would be on a completely different wave length and have trouble seeing eye to eye on anything. Now I bring this up not to debate the reasons why both members of the same species have completely different outcomes in life, but rather to show the range of development within our species.
My question is, does this same range of development apply to other species? For example, let’s look at the life of a dog. While some dogs are clearly brighter than others, does there exist some dogs that are capable of making strategical decisions and others that hardly think at all? What about a giraffe? Are animals able to tell when one is more intelligent than the other?
Just a random philosophical musing for the day to take my mind of the grind… What do you think?
Over the last 6 months or so I have returned from my last adventure and attempted to settle in to a normal job for a 27 year old male from the USA. The reality of most business jobs these days is that you spend the majority of your time in front of a computer screen. I can tell you that I spend 40+ hours a week providing internet marketing services and nearly all of it is spent staring at a computer monitor. This type of behavior is normal in our society, but it always make me wonder what a caveman would think of this strange behavior. For an outside observer who’s unfamiliar with a computer, a desk job would appear to be the strangest occupation in the world. A human literally sits for unbelievably long periods of time and virtually moves nothing but his fingers and wrists! For a caveman who is used to exerting himself physically everyday doing activities such as hunting buffaloes on the plains, it would seem outrageous! While there is significant financial reward with sitting in an office and you can afford a nice house, car and all kinds of other awesome things, I wonder if the caveman would think the sacrifice would be worth the reward??
If he had to choose between a simple life hunting buffaloes on the plains with his buddies or working 40 hours a week on the computer to support a comfortable lifestyle which would he chose?
Last Friday I quit my job, bought a one-way plane ticket to Central America and started figuring out how to pack my entire life into a backpack. I’m flying to San Jose, Costa Rica after which I will make my way down to Panama in search of work, the perfect beach and a new way of life. The idea is to get an English Teaching position in Panama City, but upon departure I have no real concrete plans. I don’t speak a word of Spanish, I’m traveling solo and I don’t know anyone down there. How long will I stay? Your guess is as good as mine… There is usually a string of questions and bewildered stares associated with telling people about my plan all of which I will attempt to answer here.
Why are you doing this?
Have you ever woken up from an amazing dream and desperately wanted to go back to sleep to return to that world? In your dreamworld you were sitting in a “Corona Commercial” style beach with your friends deciding whether to drink another beer or go surfing, but in reality your alarm is buzzing for you to get up and start the work week. Have you ever wanted to try and make your dreams a reality and instead of snoozing one more time in hopes of a brief return to your dreamworld? This is why I’ve decided to quit my job, leave everything behind and head to Panama, I got sick of snoozing…
Last summer I spent 4 months in Europe backpacking mostly in the east. Upon my return I thought I had scratched my travel itch successfully and tried to act like a normal 24-year-old American guy. I started my own cleaning business called Hangover Helpers cleaning up after College parties and providing burritos and Gatorades to those ailing a hangover. I also worked in an office creating technical videos for a software company all the while living in my parent’s basement to try and re-coup the funds I used during my summer travels. Even though the business was starting to pick up and we created national media attention for our novel idea, I quickly realized spending my weeks in an office and my weekends cleaning up disgusting party messes wasn’t what I was built for. I found myself constantly staring at maps daydreaming of living in obscure countries. Many of my friends were already beginning to progress in their jobs, move in with their girlfriends and start acquiring nicer things. “Living for the Weekend” seemed like a common theme among my peers, struggling through 5 boring days of work waiting for 2 days to relax and hang with their friends. I began to realize that at this point in my life I’m not ready for this type of lifestyle and if I heard one more radio announcer exclaim their excitement with Monday being over I was going to scream! Every paycheck I would receive I would think of in terms of plane tickets and how long I could travel for with that dollar amount rather than saving to buy a new car or TV. After one particularly long week I realized that another adventure was inevitable so I began trying to sell everything I wouldn’t need, put in my two weeks notice at work and avidly searched for the cheapest plane ticket out of the country.
I grew up near the mountains and studied French in school. To change things up I decided I wanted to go to a Spanish speaking country near the ocean. With these simple guidelines I sat down with a map and looked for a cool place to go. Panama speaks Spanish, is only a couple hundred miles wide bordering both major oceans. I read that the living is cheap, beaches are beautiful and seafood is delicious, why not?
Are you nervous? You can’t speak the language, going alone and don’t even really have an actual plan…
Boredom scares me more than anything else. A complacent routine lifestyle doing the same thing every single day absolutely terrifies me. Besides, the things in life that make us slightly nervous are usually the best ones anyway. From getting married, having kids or going on an adventure the nerve racking excitement and anticipation are good feelings.
Are you crazy?
I guess it depends on your definition of crazy. To me spending the prime years of your life sitting in a cubical, staring at a computer screen until your eyes water, day in and day out its absolutely nuts! There so much more to life than working for a bigger paycheck, I think it’s crazy not to take an adventure or two and experience something new…
Have you ever wanted to just pack up and go to a different country? Quit your job, leave behind your responsibilites and experience something new? Most everyone has fantasized with this idea, but how come so few actually go through with it? Here are some common excuses as to why people don’t travel and my rebuttle for why they should.
I don’t have enough money…
This is probably the most common excuse for not adventuring. For many people their first experiences abroad are family trips to Europe or Mexico staying in resorts and eating nice dinners. Because of this we have a preconception that going abroad is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Choose a destination where your dollar can go along way like Central America or Southeast Asia. Hostel dorm beds go for less than $10 per night and meals for only a few dollars. If slumming it isn’t your thing why not try and work during your time abroad to prolong the experience. Simply being a native speaker of English provides you with an opportunity to educate locals for money all over the world. You can work during the week and explore the country during weekends.
Perhaps temporarily, but when it comes down to it most careers last 30-40 years, so what difference does it really make if you get started a few years ahead or behind. Those who dive into careers early will probably retire younger, but would you rather have these carefree years in your 20s or 60s? Who knows what your health will be like then? In addition, jobs are looking for “experience” above all else when hiring a new employee. If having the confidence to put your mind, body and soul to the test trying to survive in a culture completely different to your own is not “experience” than I don’t know what is!
I’m waiting until I make more money to travel…
Don’t wait too long, because the more money we acquire the more responsibilities we inherit. With every purchase we make we become a little more tied down to a place. Before you know it you will own a house, have a spouse, kids and cutting loose for an adventure will be more difficult than you thought. Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up, there’s plenty of time to be a responsible, hard-working adult, but the years of little responsibility are few and fleeting.
I don’t have anyone to go with…
If this is your problem then you are not alone, there are millions of people all over the world in the same situation as you, so just get out there and you will find them. The easiest place to meet them is to stay in hostel dorms. Here you are forced to sleep in a room with 6-12 other young travelers and I can almost guarantee that at least one of them is in the same situation as you and looking for companionship. Utilize websites such as http://www.couchsurfing.org/ where you can set up a coffee date or even stay on the couch of a local in the area you are visiting. What’s great about solo traveling is that you force yourself into situations where you must be social. If you were traveling with a friend you wouldn’t necessarily NEED to meet anyone else, but spend a few days on the road without talking to anyone and you better believe a new air of confidence will allow you to approach everyone you see that speaks your language!
Is it really worth leaving all my friends and family to go be alone in some strange new world?
YES!! Since we were children our parents and mentors have always been telling us that testing the limits of our comfort zone is a positive thing. We learn and experience new things that develop us as human beings and expand our reality of what is possible. Why should this stop as a child? There’s a quote from St. Augustine that says “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” It’s so easy in this world to get trapped into a routine because we are comfortable. The pay is good, work becomes somewhat automatic and the days just start to go by. We may be learning a great deal in our area of expertise and about where we live, but think about how much else is out there? Traveling allows you to understand the values, habits and activities that occupy people of a completely different culture than our own. No matter how many documentaries you watch, books you read or people you talk to there is absolutely no substitute for the real thing. Get out there and experience the world for yourself, you will not regret it!!