“If you are agitated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?”
About seven years ago I decided I wanted to experience life outside the United States. I didn’t want to take a vacation, I craved a transformative experience that would encourage personal growth, an expansive world-view, and a better perception of the culture from which I issued forth. It took a while to accumulate the funds. Having done so, I thought a lot about why I wanted to travel, and what I wanted to gain from it.
“Why do you wonder that globe-trotting does not help you, seeing that you always take yourself with you?” – Seneca
I have met throngs of well-traveled people who do not seem to have made the most of it. I know people who travel to Southeastern-Asia to party with other westerners. I know people who are more concerned with documentation and conquest, adding to the portfolio of their life, than personal growth. I myself, like many others, simply want to see the world. I am curious to see how other people live, what the rest of the natural world is like, to humble myself and increase my sense of humanity.
These exploits sound noble, but it might be more accurate to say that I have an inherent, nagging curiosity. I get anxious after six months doing the same thing or residing in the same place. I truly fear that I will not be content settling down, which I do aim to do someday! There are those who are capable of cultivating spiritual growth without traveling. I admire these people, and aspire to achieve this myself someday. For now, I look to the outside world, seeking to find what can only be built within. However, I still seem inclined to catalyze my own growth by placing myself in uncomfortable, strenuous, stressful, challenging, risky situations.
With that in mind, in the end of February 2018 I am flying to Lisbon, Portugal with my bike, pedaling through 27 countries, and if all goes roughly according to plan, arriving in Singapore 9 months later. Despite my suspicion that this trip will only exacerbate my love for adventure, I tell myself that it will put a good dent in my anxious energy. Perhaps I will reach Singapore and keep going. Who knows?
The tradition of the western pilgrimage (before it morphed into the crusade) was that of a physical journey to mirror an internal one. I very much intend this to be my experience. So I’m off, and I will keep this blog for friends, family, and whoever else stumbles into this and for some reason finds it worthwhile. Special thanks to Josiah, for getting me into touring, Danish Bart, for planting the idea in my head, Nacho, for persuading me to do it, and especially my sister Amaya, who pretty much planned the whole trip, route, visas and all, for her own enjoyment! Wish me luck.