I'm not going to lie....this is hard. I´m realizing what a short time a year is to travel the world and it's making me anxious. I'm also realizing that, as much as I feel the need to have a plan so that I see as much as possible; I just can't. What kind of adventure would it be? I was living a comfortable and calculated life before I left. I went to work, hung out with my friends, listened to my favorite music, traveled home to hang out with my family...everything was familiar. I had the subway system of NYC down. I was getting good at my job and had lots of great friends there. I loved New York, loved my family there, and loved everything the City has to offer. You might ask: "why the hell did you leave?" well, I can't answer that. I'm starting to wonder myself. Yeah, I know...it's the middle of week 3. Every day is going to be a challenge. There is no way to calculate anymore. New language, new train system, new food, new people - over and over and over again. And as outgoing as I once was (or thought I was), I'm not anymore. I'm guarded, untrusting, skeptical. And I refuse to ask questions...what's up with that?! Men are from Mars, right? Well, I actually feel like I owe a favor to everyone I ask something of. That makes sense, doesn't it? That´s the environment I was raised in. Any thoughts anyone?
So who is this guy Brandon? Sadly enough, my description formerly would have included something about my job and where I live. Isn't that the common response? So what am I now? Just another traveler? Well, there are millions out here. Anyone can do it. I mean, I was SOMEBODY in new York, wasn´t I? Now who am I? Well, there's definitely no way I can be the coolest hippie on the road. And as far as I'm concerned, I really AM more of an uptight, calculated guy these days...(yeah, yeah...not a peep Mager or Helwig). I'm going to revisit Barcelona tomorrow and see if I can get in the travelers groove. I've gotta chill or the "clan" I attract is going to consist of vacationing consultants. God help me...The following video promotes the recently released book of a friend of mine from New York, Amit - he is the rapping banker: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROlDmux7Tk4).
Anyways, I really appreciate the honesty and sincerity of this post. So often travelers make their lives sound so glamorous and stress free when, in reality, it can be far from that. However, I wanted to add some thoughts that you might not be considering in your moments of loneliness and anxiety "on the road."
I have a life here in Cbus, friends, money, car, condo, closets, a shower, and...routine. I am working on multi-million dollar transactions and looking forward to my next bonus check and what chain restaurant I will choose for lunch. I am surrounded by introverted finance geeks who haven't traveled out of the country to Canada, haven't ever been to an art museum, and couldn't care less about learning about other cultures. While you ask yourself "what the hell am I doing?" Know that I (and you probably a couple months ago) am asking myself the same question even in my relative comfort. While it is easy for you now to look back and think everything was fine and dandy in NYC, just try and realize that the grass isn't greener. When you were sitting at your desk, you were probably thinking two things: (1) This work is cool and fulfilling, but I can't do this day in and day out FOREVER, and (2) is life going to grant me the liberation I now have 5, 10 years from now? Maybe not. So you have seized an opportunity to see many places others never will from their cubes.
My advice would be to slow down and appreciate the little things about each place you visit. Like you said, a year will whiz by. Although you have committed a year to it and maybe that's a short time to see the WORLD, don't be afraid to let yourself chill. Don't be afraid to stay and enjoy particular places and relationships you may make along the way. You may want to see it all, but sometimes going too many places you will see more of a train window than you will by foot.
Lastly, be sure to check out the Born district in Barcelona. It reminds me a lot of the Short North in Columbus believe it or not. But way more Euro of course! And if you want to splurge, the best restaurant I have ever been to in my life is there called Passadis del Pep. But you're probably on a budget.
You're Brandon, who takes risks, has the courage to enter the unknown and who will be a better man because of this experience.
And you inspired a Good Friday post. :)
Hang in there...and remember you're doing this for the rest of us who couldn't quit their jobs and travel the world!
Anxiously looking forward to the next adventure. (Who's the baby?)
When I was out of a job in the beginning of the year, a friend of mine shared a few words of wisdom with me. He said there are two types of people in this world - those who work to live and those who live to work. As dedicated as you were to Blackstone, I always saw you as one who works to live. A lot of those bankers, as you know, live to work (no offense) which may or may not be by choice....but you wanted more for yourself. You already knew that you did not want to become the job. You already knew that you did not want that job to define who you are. But perhaps a part of it already did? The fact that you left to better yourself & to enrich your life in a more fulfilling way by giving up the opportunity of wealth says a lot about who you are & what is important to you. A person's job & place of residence should not define who they are - its just a small piece. And just because one may choose to leave one or both of those behind does not mean they lose their identity. It's understandable to think you may be losing your identity because you are in new places everyday where no one knows you but that also does not mean you are not a 'somebody.' Brandon, you will always be a 'somebody' because there are people out there who care about you & love you & think about you everyday. You are a SOMEBODY to all those people, including me. And trust me, those you have already crossed paths with in Europe were definitely inspired by you in one way or another. Whether you know it or not, you leave a trail where ever you go....
As far as traveling the world goes - this is supposed to be a vacation, not work! Screw the deadline! Take your time & do what you want to do. And if a year is all it can be, then again, take your time & do only what you can - there will be other vacations :-) No pressure, no rules, no plans or guidelines - just roll with the punches & float in whatever direction the wind may take you. You were always kind of uptight & calculated (haha! I kid! I joke!), but its always a bit of an adjustment when you go from structure & daily routines to extraordinary & freedom.
This life is only what you make it. Everyday a new adventure - for you literally! Enjoy it & absorb as much as you can from what this world has to offer. And if you want to take a break from being alone a lot, make Hawaii a part of your trip - I'll be there in two weeks....Sheryl & I may be busy on the islands but you can always hang out with Barbara & Hans. :-)
Smile & know that people are thinking about you.