I hopped on a plane in late July with nothing but a backpack, a guidebook and a dream. 101 days, 2 continents, 6 countries, 34 cities, 7 airplanes, 8 trains, 13 buses, 7 ferries, 2 pairs of sunglasses, 2 pens, 1 camera battery, 1 camera, 1 toothbrush, 3 pairs contacts, 1 watch, 52 rolls of film, and many new friends later, I made my way back home.
I crossed several more things off of The List - learn Spanish, visit Europe - and had a lot of fun doing it. I saw things firsthand that I'd heard about my whole life. I met wonderful people from all over the world. I spent every day doing things that I was excited about. I had a great time. And after all, aren't these are the things that life is all about?
Part of this trip was a long-overdue vacation, a chance to relax without worries, without deadlines, and without responsibilities beyond those to myself in a warm, exotic place. Part of this trip was an adventure through foreign lands. I want to see the world, and this was just the beginning. And part of this trip was an escape, from the dead-end world of programming, of cube-dwelling (not that I actually had a cube, but it's the same world), from the slow death of time wasted in a life I cared nothing for. A complete chance to break away, find my bearings, and start fresh at the other end. Here too, I am just at the beginning. I am jobless, homeless, carless, confronted with several new opportunities and total freedom of choice. The next year should be very interesting no matter what paths I take.
To everyone who shared my travels and befriended me along the way, thank you. Radha, Vanya, Vidar, Tim, Yuleet, Lyndal, Portia, Dan, Chad, Bee, Stephanie, Jens, Caterina, Daniela, Nina, Michelle, Clarissa, Juliet, Rebecka, Alison, April, Patricia, Tommaso, RaeAnne, Pia, Julie, and everyone else who was so wonderful, I think about you often and hope we will see each other again soon. Although I am back in Seattle (for now), this is the beginning of the story, not the end. Keep in touch.
Hasta luego everybody.
Oh, and happy new year!