Adventure travel is something I always dreamed of, but never really knew what it was. I never dreamed of wandering the streets of far off destinations as a kid. My dreams had more of a focus on clandestine operations or sports orientated championships. I grew up in the suburbs of Minnesota were normalcy was a complacent disease.
The more you resisted the harder the walls you banged your head on became. My peers, friends and family guided me towards the American dream. College then a reputable job that would eventually lead to family and a mortgage. None of these choices were negative. They just weren’t necessarily appealing to me. I couldn’t articulate why or select the verbiage needed for you to understand. I just had no desire to pursue that path. It had nothing to do with money, ambition, sacrafice or resources. It had the allure of boredom.
Without knowing my choices, or realizing there were even choices I started down this path of normalcy. How was I suppoed to know that I could travel the world by way of the restaurant industry? How was I supposed to know that being a ski bum would make the world my playground? I didn’t grow up with any globetrotting neighbors. My family wasn’t made of money.
In fact we barely had enough money for school supplies, camping, fishing or hunting. Our vacations never left the state let alone states. How was I supposed to know how to break the trend? Everyone in my life was pointing me down the same road. How could all of these people be wrong? Why am I the only one with any concern about that path?
We grow up latching onto acceptance. Our peers influencing our choices. Our parents supervising our decisions. Mass media pervasively pursuading our preferences. Its difficult to stray from the pack so I chose conformity. This lead me to a series of dead end jobs, and forgotten times at a variety of college campuses. I was spinning my wheels stuck in neutral.
What was I supposed to do, and how am I supposed to do it? Financial aid covers the cost of school, but not the cost of life, food or fuel. A job doesn’t cover the cost of school, and delivers nothing close to adventure. I was infected with normalcy and set my sites on a cure. Since medical school wasn’t one of my enrollment campuses I had no idea where to begin. Since none of my peers could relate to my constant boredom who could I turn to? I had a disease that warranted no public outcry like aids or cancer.
How Alaska Changed My Life
Scouring the internet for anything that would allow me to deviate from this failing “American Dream” produced marginal, but temporary cures. Until Alaska came calling. Mentally anything with the allure Alaska was presenting would have been equally as attractive, but the connection is what changed my life forever. Which is often true for long term travelers. Its not the places that you hold dear in your heart. Its the people you meet in that time & place that will forever shape and mold you. When Alaska came calling I was submerged in “clandestine” daydreams set on joining the French Foreign Legion. Whether I chose to recognize it or not I was suicidal, and so absorbed in the moment that I was unaware of the adventure I was on.
I had no expectations of Alaska other than it seemed like an exotic adventure that I couldn’t wait to tell others. I had never been to Alaska. Never read about Alaska. I had no expectations because I knew nothing about it except its location. It seemed very unlikely that anyone I knew would ever be able to say, “They had an adventure story from Alaska.” Which was my only concern. A story or an adventure from some far off exotic place that no one in my circle could ever relate or duplicate. Everything about my reasons for going to Alaska were superficial & materialistic. Two things Alaska was going to eradicate from my persona.
When you have no knowledge, expectations or experience disappointment isn’t an option. When a friend destroys a dream its devastating, but when a stranger becomes a friend its magical. Alaska was a wizard that brought 30 strangers together to become life long friends. Nothing we did was extraordinary. Nothing we said was enlightening, and nothing we accomplished was unique. But everything about it was magnificent. Alaska was life changing because it gave me the opportunity to connect with strangers on a level I never knew.
The entirety of it all was so new that everything became an adventure. Walking a mile to work surrounded by mountains erecting out of the ocean diplaying whale tails slapping on the surface as you pass by a hundred seasonal waterfalls was an adventure. Ziplining through the trees with the eagles over the feasting bears below was an adventure. Becoming raging alcoholics on the beaches of Ketchikan with thirty strangers about to become my friends was an adventure. Camping in a moss covered forest that I’d never seen before was an adventure. Travelling to this strange land to play a game of yuker with my Michigan roommates was an adventure.
Every day was a new experience & new exposure to culture, personalities, mentallities and activities. It was a job that was challenging, rewarding and frustrating on a daily basis. It was a way of life that revved the RPMs & held my interest.
Strangers had connected with me. Held similar interests, and exposed me to a variety of life changing ideas. Concepts that continue to influence my life today, and shape my future. Before my Alaska Adventure Travel I would have never considered the mountains to be my home, or ski resorts as my playgrounds. The idea to drive to the end of South America found its conception while adventure traveling in Alaska. While Alaska was my breeding ground for my adventure travels yours may be Thailand, Ohio, New Zealand, Brazil or London. It doesn’t matter the path or the destination to find your connection, but that you do find your connection. Acceptance deletes confusion, frustration and uncertainity. Adventure begins when your planning ends. Time will not stand still, and will not hold any grudges. Let delay be your only regret, and follow your dreams.
What do you really want do with your life
I say this with confidence because I was were you are now. Searching and seeking for answers. Everything seemingly unobtainable or impossible. Nobody to relate to, or everyone pushing you in a direction that seems illogical. The answers are out there, and only ambition or creativity can find them. I have been traveling the world by way of dead end jobs since 1998. You can too. Work your way around the US. Start in the West, and work your way East. Slow travel your way from big cities to small mountain towns following the seasons you enjoy.
Would you rather work to fulfill someone else’s dreams, or to fulfill your dreams? Long term travel has so many variations there is no way to define them all. There is equally no way to have a universal way of funding your travels. You can save up a bunch of money, or you can start traveling today. Pick a destination and go. Friends and family will support you. Jobs and housing are everywhere. There is no right or wrong answer here. Credit scores are temporary. Happiness is all that matters. Are you happy now? What would make you happy. If your reading this travel blog I doubt its a bunch of monthly obligations you struggle to meet. Or maybe your just reading this travel blog looking for ways to delete your monthly bills. Buy an RV!!! Especially if its summer time. Go buy some cheap RV, and get a monthly rental spot at the local campground. Five months from now when your looking at 4 1/2 months worth of paychecks in the bank account you’ll be asking yourself why you never thought of buying an RV sooner.
Adventure travel’s definition is nowhere near solidified, and quite open to loose interpretation. My definition of adventure travel is easily obtainable if your ambitious enough. Travel is travel, and adventure is adventure. If your doing both, and your happy whats wrong with that picture.
Share in the comments below about your life changing trip. What made it so memorable, or life altering? What do you hope to encounter on your big trip? Travel is a classrom everyone should enroll in for at least one semester if not two, and I would encourage you to choose the destination you know nothing about. Set no expectations, and let your adventure unfold naturally. The best advice I could give any new traveler is to pack light, be open, and let the places you visit change you.