I am 1 month into my ¨year of travel¨…I know I actually left my job back in September but I really used the months after I left as a transition to unstress while volunteering in the running industry. For me the year really starts now…and although I look at what I want to do in the year and think geesh a year wont be enough…I am going to try to keep it down to a ¨year¨.
When I left Chile at the end of 2018 it was the closing of a chapter, a 6 year long one that had me living, working and studying in Latin America between Chile, Colombia, Panama and Peru. One that came to an end nearly full circle as I had originally started in Chile 6 years ago to finish my MBA on a semester exchange. I say nearly because 6 years ago I actually landed in Peru first on a return trip to visit friends and brush up on my Spanish for a month before heading down to the University of Chile where my classes would all be in Spanish…
To start my new adventure for 2019 I decided to head across the pond; the Pacific Ocean, to a new continent, country, city and world away ringing in the new year and starting my vuelta al mundo (around the world) in the best way possible. I did debate a new year´s celebration in a city v. mountain/nature and decided 2019 will be the last year I will do it in a city…2020 in nature!
I arrived to Sydney and stayed with my friend Alex who I had met in Chile and has now been there 4 years! It was great to see him and see his new life and hear him in English for the first time. This year I plan to visit various friends whom I haven´t seen in ages…I am super excited to reconnect with them again!
Although excited for the year to come and what ever might happen after I am also sad to leave Spanish behind since I had invested in it for so long…the culture, people and language but now is the time to do this before it is too late..so I take the leap into the unknown with no regrets: I am completely happy with my decisions.
Since jumping the pond I have definitely felt out of my element a bit here since it is so different than Latin America…I am adapting to the left side driving/walking/braking on a bike/everything just LEFT, the absence of Whatsapp (in general), organization of stuff, words, food, people and mix of culture(s)…oh and surprisingly Spanish has remained part of my life even here through the many friends I know who speak Spanish…at least so far…let´s hope it stays this way!
One other thing top of mind for me while travelling again is realizing how hard it is for me to say where I am from, feeling more like a citizen of the world everyday. The truth is I am originally from Seattle, Wa, USA but more often than not I don´t feel 100% American but rather just cultured (a good chunk in Latin America) and that home is technically anywhere and everywhere. I also think this question for me gets confused with ¨Where did you come from? or ¨Where is home?¨ and as I travel I am at home; where I am currently is my home because I don´t actually know where I will return to and call home again. For example, living in Colombia, Panama and Chile I had a place I called home, even if I wouldn´t live my entire life there it was home..now everywhere is home (neither from there nor where I came from). Most people never have to really deal with ¨home¨in this way I do while travelling and this creates this confusion within me when asked this question. Hopefully it will actually become clearer soon.
2019 Objectives of T the Traveler
I have decided to keep the trip open to new ideas/things, be flexible, not be rushed, not be stressed if original plans don´t work out and just go with the flow. I want to see a lot yes but more importantly I don´t want to feel like I am on a work vacation with 2-3 weeks to see as much as possible…I want to connect with local cultures as deep as possible because it is something I really, really love. If I miss something touristy, so what, I am here for experiences and taking my time. Thinking this way I have decided on a flexible plan with 3 specific objectives for the ¨year¨.
My current focus for the next 4 months is on sports, my passion. I know I have a lot of potential as an athlete, I love sports and it is something I wish I had more time to focus on and I would like to see more of my potential in this area. When I was working it was far from easy to fit it all in, but again it is a passion and I found the time, whether it be a 9 pm training or a mid day crisis sweat. From January to May you will see me dedicating my time to training and sports. I will mainly be based in New Zealand (NZ) for this but also do some of Australia. NZ was chosen because I have always wanted to see the country. Back in the day I almost did a study abroad (in Under grad) in NZ but changed my mind last minute and instead went to Spain only because of some advice my dad gave me, that I listened to then and obviously has paid off and was the best decision at the time….so now NZ must happen! Also to train it is important to kind of have a home base, be more stationary and so here I am living that dream, taking my time on my 90 day visa to train and explore it´s N. and S. islands.
A few weeks ago I actually started the year with a marathon 26.2 miles on the 13th of January 2019…one I was going to do whether I left my job or not. I did the Cadbury Marathon in Hobart, Tasmania…another place I have wanted to visit for a long time and well Cadbury is Chocolate so I thought, perfecto! More details on Cadbury…
My current focus is on a few events during this time, with the big kahuna being my first full Ironman early May in Australia. One might think I would focus on running only but I have decided to do triathlon instead, maybe because it is more well rounded, takes more time or is more challenging for me…I am not sure but it has been set. I got my bike last week and I am training full blast now for the first competition March 2, a 70.3 or half Ironman here in NZ, one I have wanted to do for some time and one of the oldest in the world, so wish me luck…ha ha because 1 month to train is not really how I would do this…lol. Loving having a bike again since it allows me to explore more and well walking is just soo slow!
After this I have what I call vacation, lol, which will be more of full time travel but nothing rushed and I would like to connect more to my inner spiritual side and try new things and experiences. I am thinking along the lines of meditation and rock climbing (this may change). Focus will be on Asia in general…the top countries, in no order are Sri Lanka, Pakistan, South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Singapore but I imagine more will be touched just maybe for less time. Details are not clear on this part of the journey but it might be a great time for visiting me…if you got time come on over, let me know where you are off to or where you want to meet up and let´s connect…remember I am flexible.
An additional part of this journey will be between Part Two and Three. It is something I have always wanted to do and that is a trip to Italy with my mom to the town where our family is from near Naples. I have been to Italy a few times but never to our town and it is something that has been hard to achieve with her while working so I am really looking forward to really get to know my roots on a special trip with my mom :D.
The last part of the year my focus will be on learning French!
This will take place in Africa, I am thinking Madagascar, Senegal, Morocco…but this could all change! I want to learn French because I feel it is very useful, so many people speak and learn French so it hopefully will give me more options to connect and communicate on a deeper level with more people and a culture that often prefers to speak in their language even though many speak English too. I picked Africa for many reasons, overall it is lesser known/less visited, there are so many places to get to know still and well it is cheaper than other places for studying French. Also I am not saying for instance Mandarin, which has the highest population of speakers isn´t a good option but it would take longer to learn since it is not Latin based plus I just have more interest currently in French.
Meanwhile I am in, Rotorua, NZ where I will stay until my first race early March and then move toward the South island. Lately it has been hot as we are full blown Southern Summer and a heatwave, but I am loving where I am staying…the lakes, the people, the Maori culture and arts, the possibilities, hot springs and local sports. Excited for the 70.3 Taupo soon, plus the local triathlon community is so awesome here.
January I spent a week in Sydney, a week in Tasmania, a few days in Melbourne and the rest in NZ. I have been going slow and taking it easy…I feel like I have missed quite a bit since changing the way I travel but I go back in a few months so there is still time. I was also the first 3 weeks laying low while dealing with some stomach issues (feeling bloated) and until recently I have got it to go away but still not sure what is causing it although it seems to be food…so my diet has changed considerably the last few weeks to try to clean the system and begin introducing foods again…
Wish me luck and I hope to see some of you around the globe this year.