Archive | April, 2012

Dubious Logic: Why I’m Destined to Be a Vagabond

30 Apr


My Dad is one of five boys: two fighter pilots, one helicopter pilot, one professional golfer, and one professional poker player.  Lawyer is just notttttt cool enough to fit in there.  Professional vagabond?  Heck yeah.

The Travel Bible: Rolf Potts’ Vagabonding

30 Apr

Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts

“People say that what we are all seeking is a meaning for life.  I don’t think this is what we’re really seeking.  I think what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive.”  -Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

I bought this book almost four years ago, based on the glowing Amazon reviews.  At the time, I’d done a bit of independent traveling — New Zealand, Australia, and Europe — but was struggling to make sense of the whole experience.  This book provided, in one place, everything about my travels that I felt but couldn’t explain; everything about the Big Trip I wanted take but wasn’t sure was possible.  By the end of the first chapter,  I stopped highlighting because I would have highlighted the whole damn book.  Nearly everything spoke to me.

Today, I re-read the book.  Between that first reading and today, I moved across the country and spent three years at an elite law school.  I graduated and moved back across the country, where I’ve been working for eight months (after passing the bar exam, let’s not leave that little exercise out!).  All the while, I’ve harbored this gnawing urge to take the Big Trip.  I’ve spoken to few people about it, and only in a carefree, wishful way.  But now I’ve committed, at least privately, to the Big Trip.  And re-reading Vagabonding has made me so proud of myself.  This is the right decision.  If I cast the Big Trip away, I would regret it for the rest of my life.

Now, about the book itself.  Just read it already!  Its real value is not as a guidebook or a how-to book, but as a why book.  It is a book about travel philosophy, about an uncommon fraternity of people who are time-rich and money poor, about a brand of travel that, as it turns out, is not really about travel at all.  Seriously, the Travel Bible.  You’ll be a believer by the end.

The book also has a companion website, and the author has his own personal website.


30 Apr


So true!

WSJ: 10 Things Your Commencement Speaker Won’t Tell You

29 Apr

Enjoyed this Wall Street Journal article, published on Saturday.  Totally read it!

Particularly applicable to my life were:

  • #2: Some of your worst days lie ahead.

Remember: “if you are going to do anything worthwhile, you will face periods of grinding self-doubt and failure.”

  • #6: Read obituaries.

[Morbid, but I do this!]  “They are just like biographies, only shorter.  They remind us that interesting, successful people rarely lead orderly, linear lives.”

I also glanced at a few of the comments following the article and was surprised to come across some good, thought-provoking ones.  For instance:

Rule #1 Understand ANY time spent is gone forever – not even Warren Buffet can buy time.
Rule #2 Work harder then everyone else.
Rule #3 Play harder then everyone else.
Rule #4 Go to Rule #1

This is key.  Time is life’s currency.  When you think back on your life, you’re going to think about how you spent your time.

I also thought this was sound advice:

Adding to my earlier comment, if you discover you have a chronic illness of any kind (Alcoholism and drug addiction included) immediately get the best treatment possible ,and get on with your life. You can put off getting a cool car or buying a house, but without your health and all your faculties, you will never get what you want from your life.

Love, Love, Love: The Only Jewelry I’ll Be Taking

29 Apr

Okay, between this bracelet and the travel journal, I’m going a little overboard here, I know.  But I absolutely fell in love with Lenny and Eva jewelry.  Their pieces are very cool and earthy.  They feature meaningful words/quotes displayed on cuffs or wraps of different sorts.  While this sort of thing would normally not quite fit my lifestyle, it is perfect for what I’m about to do and really spoke to me.

I opted for two braided wraps, in lavender and coffee bean, to hold my favorite Helen Keller quote, cast in antique brass.  I ordered from Across the Way and enjoyed great customer service (including free shipping).



26 Apr


When asked, this is my Aunt Leslie’s advice about near anything. Just one of the reasons why I love her!

Fatherly Wisdom

26 Apr

As the Big Trip gets closer, I’m starting to tell people about it.  Not my family or very closest friends yet, but others who casually inquire as to what I’ll be doing come fall (when my job ends).  Reactions to “backpacking around the world for a year” are, at best, mixed; and, at worst, negative.  At first, people seem to be like, “oh, what a great idea.”  But then, the critiques start.  Most relate to the trip being (1) self-indulgent, (2) imprudent, and/or (3) dangerous.

I relayed the above to my Dad.  His pep talk response to (1):

Subject: quick thoughts on your round the world trip and explaining it to others

This is something not enabled by privilege, it’s an individual choice supported by my personal sacrifice. I’m not going to be eating bonbons on a south pacific beach; no, I’m going to be staying in hostels, riding trains & buses, getting dirty and stinky, and eating cheese & baguettes. It’s blue jeans, t-shirts, common showers, and watching every penny.

But after this trip, my life will never be the same. I’ll be a changed person; I think for the better. I’ll know myself that can only be taught by a year of self-reliance and personal (in)dependence. The value of this trip isn’t the sightseeing, it’s the interactive experience with the cultures and people. My perspective of who I am, my small place in it, what it means to be an American, and our role in the world will be painted in full color…a palette that I’ll enjoy every day of the rest of my life.

It’s an opportunity of my lifetime that only occurs once; if I seize it.

Love, dad

P.S. His use of the word “stinky” cracks me up.