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Why...


"Let me get this straight...  You're doing this why???"

Sums it up nicely I think...  
Why:  Because travel (especially solo travel) "is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living".  For me this trip has been years in the makings of my imagination.  I have always wanted to set off on an adventure, but things haven't aligned until now.  Interestingly, 'now' doesn't see everything lining up perfectly, but I know that if I don't do this trip before 'growing up' I'll regret it someday.  Lao Tzu said, "a journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step" and I feel that planning this journey and following through with it, is a step in the right direction for me.  This adventure is more than simply an escape aboard a motorcycle for me.  It is a true adventure, a journey that will help me see and experience new people and cultures, and learn more about myself through self-reflection and the journey itself...

Scanning the horizon on the Skeleton Coast in Namibia
A little additional background on the trip...  The name of the blog is definitely not random.  I selected it because I've always said "someday I'll travel a long distance and have a grand adventure on a motorcycle".  The problem is, I've found that someday never comes.  Along the way I graduated college with a marketing degree, developed great friendships, got married, progressed quickly in my career, moved, moved again, bought a new car (several actually), then a new house in Denver, and had set up a comfortable life.  These things, amongst many others, made it damn near impossible to take off on my journey, though it never left my mind.  The life I had built made me believe that I would never be able to fulfill this dream.  

Fast forward to present and I've recently wrapped up a painful divorce.  I'll spare you the details, but know that it has been incredibly stressful, painful, and trying on me over the last year.  Through it all, I've come to the realization that I never really had time to figure out who I was.  I knew who 'we' were, but had never really spent time alone reflecting and pondering what it was that I wanted.  That sounds selfish, and quite frankly a portion of it is, but I honestly don't think a relationship will work if both parties don't really understand what drives them, what they are passionate about, what they are truly looking for in life and in a mate, and willing to give 100% to the relationship and partner.  Without this, I feel there will always be something missing, and that there won't be 100% given from either side.  Long story short and without going into detail on everything else, I changed, she changed, our relationship changed.  Because of that unfortunate realization, we decided to split. 

Ya feel me?
What I also realized over the past year was that maybe I can take this trip, maybe I can progress with planning this crazy adventure, maybe I can go on a motorized walkabout of sorts to and through Central and South America.  I'm doing this for a number of reasons.  First like I said, I've always wanted to do this, so that's that.  Second, I've been working on my Spanish, but have never become truly fluent (even having been married to a Colombiana for 8 1/2 years).  This trip will serve as a 'sink or swim' lesson of sorts.  To navigate and manage LatAm, I'm certain that I'll have to immerse myself and finally become fluent in the native language.  I'm not certain the remaining reasons for doing this trip will come to fruition, but I'd like to think the third reason is to find a bit of myself.  What I mean by that is, it will be a solo journey and will give me a lot of time to think, ponder, and reflect, which I'm sure will give me some direction to a currently off track life.  If not, maybe the confidence and comfort in 'knowing that not knowing' is simply ok.  Finally, I've learned over the years that we don't know what we don't know.  Ok, I know that sounds obvious, but without setting sail on new adventures in life we can't grow, plain and simple. 

Who knows, maybe I'll only check off one of the items on 'the list'.  Maybe I'll finish this trip and that'll be it, I will have finished the trip.  But, "for what it’s worth: it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be.  There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want.  You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing.  We can make the best or the worst of it.  I hope you make the best of it.  And I hope you see things that startle you.  I hope you feel things you never felt before.  I hope you meet people with a different point of view.  I hope you live a life you’re proud of.  If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.” ~ The Curious Case of Benjamin Button screenplay by Eric Roth

Aboard a chiva in Cartagena, Colombia
In addition, I've been giving my professional career a lot of thought (one thing that helps is going through three rounds of layoffs and having the constant fear of losing your job).  However, I've also gone through a transformation over the past couple of years and my values have become much more intrinsic and much less extrinsic.  Up until recently, things that held value to me were good because they led to something else that was good - a means to an end.  For example, money has extrinsic value because it can be used to buy something that you want (i.e. new car, stylish shoes, flashy clothing, etc).  Intrinsic value is a bit more difficult to explain and is something that is good in and of itself.  The only thing that has true intrinsic value is happiness or pleasure.  There are no physical things that have intrinsic value.  Without boring you further, I'll just say that I've been considering transferring my skill sets to a career that provides more intrinsic value (i.e. international aid, NGO marketing and/or project management, training and/or public speaking, starting my own business from scratch, motorcycle travel tour guide, etc).  This trip will hopefully let me see and experience several projects, initiatives, and programs along the way and will also give me more opportunity to escape from the American day-to-day and see the world as it truly is.  Worst case, I'll continue my career path the way it is headed, which isn't a bad thing, but will have more of an open mind following my travels.

My mother and Tim at their home in Loganville, GA
Finally, my mother has been married to my stepfather Tim for over 20 years.  Although I haven't told him this (something I need to do while in Atlanta), Tim means a great deal to me.  He has been a total rock for my mother, something I'll be forever indebted to him for.  Also, Tim is black.  What the hell does that have to do with anything?!?  Well I'll tell you.  I grew up in rural Georgia.  When my mother remarried Tim it wasn't common to see mixed marriages.  I went from being a relatively popular kid, to being a bit of an outcast overnight.  At first this was difficult and I was angry.  However, I came to love Tim, and came to love how he treated my mother.  I also got to know his family, and learn how kindhearted and amazing he is.  All of this changed me.  Tim is the reason to this day that I choose not to judge anyone based on race, creed, color, gender, or sexual orientation.  Tim is a huge part of who I am today, and one of the reasons why I have a very diverse group of friends and love to travel, and seek out and learn about new and different cultures.  The problem is, Tim is currently in the final stages of his battle with terminal cancer.  

Around three years ago, Tim was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer.  Shortly after, the cancer metastacized to his liver.  The doctors originally gave him less than a year to live, but chemo helped.  He fought and fought, and went through four or five different chemo drug treatments.  When the final drug stopped working, he was accepted to be part of a clinical trial for a new drug being tested at Emory University.  The drug worked for some time, but recently became ineffective.  The cancer has now spread to his lungs and the doctors have ordered to stop all treatment.  They gave him two to six months for this to all play out and that was almost three months ago.  Tim is currently at home with a hospice nurse and my mother.  He seems to be hanging in there at the moment, but is getting weaker and more tired by the day.  My journey will begin with a trip to Atlanta to be with them.  I want to spend time with Tim to tell him the things I mentioned above.  I also want to spend time with my mother to ensure that she is ok from an emotional and financial perspective.  Tim is an amazing man and watching him struggle with this not only shows me that the people that don't deserve it usually get it, but that life is short.  Sometimes way too short...   

So there you go, several reasons 'why'.  Not as clear cut as I thought when I was originally considering a trip like this.  I didn't think I would have to go through a divorce, quit an amazing job, and potentially witness the passing of a loved one to push me to do it.  However, that is my maybe and my 'why' and I'm sticking to it.  

~ D
Putting around on a rented scoot in Koh Tao, Thailand

3 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing, David. I look forward to following you on your journey. I hope you find exactly what you are looking for....YOU. Please email me your P.O. Box address.

    Blessings,

    Kel

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  2. Sounds like you got the "why" figured out. Hope your journey is/has been an amazing one.

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  3. That is an awesome "why" that I think could apply to many an American, or human for that matter. I completely understand your rationale. After all, you only live once. Do what you must do. Safe travels. I hope one day to meet you on the road of the globe, wherever that is.

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