Monday, August 24, 2009

"I'm Not Afraid of the Future"

When people hear about my round-the-world trip, they immediately envision the project in its enormous scope. They count the cities, the continents. They wonder aloud at the spectrum of cultures to absorb, people to meet, experiences to be had. Their jaws slacken as they conceptualize the voyage and formulate their personal version of "Can I go with you?" They ask if I'm excited.

Up until today, my excitement was (still is, somewhat) tempered by the necessary and very boring, unglamorous, and sometimes-frustrating process of planning and executing a three-month round-the-world trip, followed directly by a trans-equatorial move. Confirming flights, securing lodging, organizing finances, locating addresses, preparing documentation, and packing bags necessarily shift the focus from the grand scheme to logistical minutiae; I don't have time to get very excited about the endeavor as a whole because I have to look at and manage each step as it comes in order to keep from missing a step. And this is indeed the grandest endeavor I've ever undertaken.

The past few months have been marked by a series of miniature milestones that I've anticipated anxiously as they approached: the end of the school year and my move from Colombia, visiting friends in Venezuela and Panama, reconnecting with my family in Florida, soaking up positive energy on the West Coast, retracing my steps in DC, celebrating my impending departure in New York. These events have come and gone, and nothing's left now but the departure itself—a launch from my country, my culture, my friends and family, my familiar into the unknown. No returning to a job in a month. No coming back to my honey or dog or goldfish or plants in a week. No plan other than to collect as many experiences and as many life-long friends around the world as possible over the next three months, then make a go of life in the Big Apple of the Southern Hemisphere. It's deep, y'all. Enough to frighten most people.

In fact, I almost succumbed to the fear, myself. Coming back to the States, I felt bombarded by the propaganda of American capitalism: buy, buy, buy! I started to feel like a loser because my cell phone couldn't take pictures or tell me how to get to the closest Italian restaurant or bake a birthday cake. I felt like I needed to come back, get an MBA, get a "real" job, and start acquiring things. Thank the Cosmos that all my plane tickets are non-refundable. I'm not disparaging folks for having all the latest gadgets and flyest kicks and the new-new whip; but I've learned, mostly because of traveling overseas, that memyselfpersonally, I don't really need those things. Stability, yes. Accoutrements, no.

And right now, on the cusp of the next chapter in my life, I'm suddenly, unexpectedly ready for the unknown.

Unafraid.

And excited.



Fly Brother welcomes your views. If this post hit the spot, please comment and/or click.

14 comments:

'Drea said...

Fly Brother,

You're way ahead of me since I don't even own a cell phone.

I'm diggin' the masthead although I will confess that the move from black to white caught me by surprise. I like the clean look though.

I'm glad that you are in the "unafraid" zone... Carry on.

rhonalala said...

One, I love the new look. It is a lo better on the eyes. Love it.

Two, I am loving your lack of fear, or at least shoving it aside to fulfil your dreams. This is the kind of inspiration I need to make my moves. In the meantime, I am so excited to read about your adventures. Your trip sounds absolutely amazing!

Matinee Maven said...

Wish I'd been able to catch up with you in DC! After some time in Brazil I realized how many things I have in the U.S. that I can do without. (Missed me some Target though) Excited about your wonderful trip. Wishing you much success! Looking forward to living vicariously through your blog (until I can pay off my bills and plan my own getaway!).

Kevin said...

Yes!! Do NOT let that American medo get you by the foot ever again. If anything is vitally important at this stage of your extraordinary life, it is to finally free yourself of that one virulent molecule in our American blood that serves only to hold us back from the kind of life we both know we were born to lead.

Hang in there, baby. Brazil is still the pot of gold at the end of your rainbow tour....

Erin said...

Thank you for reminding me that what I really need is to get back out of here (or at least to a good-sized city). I'm tired of fighting the "let's go buy stuff because there's nothing better to do here" fight. One-way ticket to Bogota is only $200 on Spirit right now (although I'm sure you can find better), and I'm very very tempted.

Nikita said...

Yes!!
I am so excited for you!
Don't get caught up in the "I need to move back to the States/settle down/amass a whole lotta crap" mentality.

I did and left Mexico and moved back to Canada because I felt that societal pressure. But, going back was a wakeup call and reassured me that my "home" for the moment is not the place that I was born.

So here I am, a year later in Hong Kong, living the dream... :-)

haha! Enjoy Dublin, hopefully the weather is better than it was when I was there in July!

Shannon said...

Yes, it so easy to get caught up in these things that we supposedly need. Glad the fear didn't get in your way and you're making the trip. Boa viagem!

Ali la Loca said...

Love the new look!

Funny, I *have* the MBA and the real job (albeit a self-employed, non-traditional one in a country half of my friends have never heard of), and all I want is to walk away. In fact, as you know, that is exactly what I will be doing come late September.

Part of me is highly conscious of the fact that I am happy without the consumption and titles and general bs that comes with that lifestyle.

However, there is another part of me that can't wait to go shopping for shoes, buy curtains for the new house, order makeup online, etc. All the things that I've not done in the last 4+ years.

For me, it's all about the balance. I'm happy to kick my "career" to the side and become a full-time jewelry artist and translator, but Lord don't deprive me of the ability to buy a new handbag and high-end ingredients for my kitchen (couldn't care less about the cell phone, though)! :))

Good luck on your travels. I so wish you were passing by Moz...

Tusker Baridi said...

Hi Fly Brother, this is your brother from the motherland.I've really enjoyed reading your blog.Just like you, I envisioned stepping outside my comfort zone and travelling around the world. I took that first step 10 years ago when I moved from Kenya to US to pursue my college education. I May 2010, I will be graduating with an MBA and I'm planning to take a 3 months RTW tour to coincide with the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Just like you, I'm 31 and I've never been the one to settle so after 10 years in US I want to see what the rest of the world has to offer. I will use this 3 months RTW as a sampler before deciding on where to relocate to. Right now Cape Town, Sydney, Sao Paolo, Shanghai, Dubai and London are my top favourites, but I'm open to other places. I may still end up Stateside, but it wont be for lack of sampling other places.

I've done lots of research on RTW tours and I've gotten some good non-commercial sites that could be of benefit to you. Check these two out:

http://www.travelindependent.info/

and this one is more Eurocentric but its been helpfull to me:

www.gapyear.com


I will definitely be following your RTW blog. Happy travels.

Fly Brother said...

Drea: If you can get away with life without the tracking device, I say mo power to ya! Glad you like the revamp.

Rhonalala: Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate knowing that my quest inspires others to undertake their own. Make your moves!

Matinee: Where in Brazil were you? You definitely start to see what you can live without when traveling to places where people live with much less. Thanks for commenting.

Kevin: I'm printing your comment out and keeping it in my wallet. Seriously. Your words are motivating, man. Thank you.

Erin: Buy the ticket. Go visit Jose. Enjoy your temporary freedom.

Nikita: I need to catch up with your HK experience. I can't wait to get over there. I had sun the first day, with some drizzle yesterday. Overall, better than anticipated.

Shannon: Thanks for your support!

Ali: I know, I think it would have been RIDICULOUS hanging together in Mozambique. That's just the energy I sense. I definitely think you understand precisely what the quandary is...I mean, I do want to update the wardrobe and have the tight crib and get GQ and the Sunday Times delivered to my home. But I also want the freedom to travel whenever I want, for as long as I want. Therein lies my challenge.

Tusker: Thank you for sharing these links and your experience, brother. Wherever you end up, I'm coming to visit...I'm sure we'd have crazy stories to swap. I'll check these sites; where's your international blog?

kwerekwere said...

bah, i can't type properly, as i've injured my fingers doing dishes.

you know, in this place, i see a lot of people with the newest phones and such, and i'm glad that i don't have one because of how often they blog about their phones being stolen. [or, um, "donated to the good people of jozi/ethekwini/ekapa/ebhayi"] i'm not charitable like that.

but the passport-as-indicator of one's curriculum vita [literally]: fantastic. i didn't get my old passport returned to me because i fell into the danube with it in my pocket [oops] and it never really recovered.

[was it the danube? it might have been the meuse. or the dam. i can't remember what city it was in only that it had serious water damage. of course, it didn't help that i no longer looked like the picture on that passport; for starters, the curly red hair was gone.]

i had four years left of a brazilian visa left on that passport, though. bah.

Ali la Loca said...

It's all about the balance, for sure.

You missing Moz just means we'll have to meet up in São Paulo. My sogro lives there, and we pass through every time we go down to visit family in Rio.

beijos e boa viagem!

sherene said...

FlyBro,

Really good to read this entry about the start of your wonderful RTW trip :) I will be following this blog - some exciting times are ahead of you, I sense! And that thing about collecting stuff and catching up with Joneses, well, that can always happen later, but the time to live it up is NOW.

Cheers
Sherene
http://sherene.wordpress.com

Lisa said...

You're awesome, Ernest! Go for it!