The Sea-Tac Southwest Airlines gate side cattle call and subsequent scramble for a seat was an adventure in itself and once that hurdle was overcome the rest of the flight to California was uneventful. Within minutes of exiting the airport, we were picked up in our Uber car and whisked away to the next leg of our journey. We arrived to the Beverly Hilton to paparazzi flashbulbs and an elevated frenzy . . . how did they know we were coming?? Well, they didn’t . . . There was really only one tidbit of trivia we knew about this hotel is that it hosted the television Emmy awards every year, and our Uber black town car just happened to arrive in the middle of “celebrity drop off” – nothing like a red carpet and disappointed photographers to welcome a pair of backpackers!
The 6:30am alarm didn’t stand a chance in being helpful this morning . . . we were up already and eager to go. Though our flight wasn’t to leave until after 11am, we were already making coffee, shuffling around the house, and making last minute adjustments to our bags and electronics inventory. Bag . . . check, passports . . . check, music/movies on the tablet . . . check, local currencies and flight info . . . you bet!
The bus arrived at the stop right as we did, which was good because we’d have to wait 35 minutes for the next one, and our transfer to the Light Rail was met with an equally efficient flow – although eight minutes to the next train would’ve been quite easy to accept. We’re not in a hurry anyways . . .
Christine and I went to see a friend give a talk last night @ Wide World Books and Maps in Wallingford. His name is Mike Lewis, and he used to be Christine’s chiropractor. He had worked hard and built up his practice, his abilities and ultimately his desire to escape his daily life.
Mike had earned his life and didn’t want to waste it, so he felt it was time to cash in on some freedom. The plan was to travel the world solo on his motorcycle with goals of reaching the top and the bottom of our major land masses as he made his around the world west to east, hoping to experience culture and people in a way he never thought possible. The route he took between these “end points” was dictated by among other things, the advice he got on the road, and the weather.
His faithful companion for this adventure was his 2002 BMW R1150 GS Adventure motorcycle that had been adjusted and modified for the years of exposure and abuse in the form of unmaintained roads, washouts and rainy season mud that lay ahead. Mike left Seattle in March 2009 and systematically logged over 60,000 miles, six continents and over 40 countries in his epic journey.
It’s that time of year again and Meet Plan Go is coming back to town. Last year, we were fortunate enough to have been the Meet Plan Go Seattle 2011 hosts and had a great time in the process. It allowed us to reflect on our journey (physical/emotional), meet new people and among other things, share our experiences with those with a passion for travel.
This year the torch has been passed to Lori Stone and it will be a great time. We’ll be there as the evenings keynote speakers, and are looking forward to sharing the evening with so many wonderful panelists, travelers and numerous travel stories of inspiration, curiosity and desire.
On October 16th, we’ll be meeting @ “HasOffers” in Seattle neighborhood of Belltown and it will be an inspirational evening for all involved. Find all the details on the MeetPlanGoSeattle page, and tickets are available on EventBrite.
The panellists represent a wide range of travelers and experiences and it’s worth grabbing a drink, sitting on the couch with your laptop/tablet, and exploring their fascinating worlds.
We’re hoping you’ll check out Meet Plan Go in your city (it’s happening in 9 cities in the US, and in Toronto as well) – it’s gonna be a great time!
As travellers, we want a deal. We want to travel cheaply, eat cheaply, and sleep cheaply. We intentionally seek out and freely move through third world countries with often oppressed cultures and tend not fully understand the lives of those who pass us in a blur. We are restricted only by our visa dates and transport schedules. As we look out the window while on a bus or train, we see disheveled farmers tending to sparse fields and malnourished animals. We wave away relentless street vendors eeking out a substandard living, while we eat breakfast and sip organic coffee in a cafe, often times the meal will cost more than they’ll make in a 12 hour day.
We “put up with them” for the sake of our own travels. But who are they? How bad does their life have to be to sell books on the street, to beg for change . . . to watch their families go without a meal. How bad does it have to be to gather your family, pack a bag (or no bag, just the clothes on your back) and leave your home, your community, your country; and set out on a pilgrimage to find a better life. To run away from the destruction of your current life.
Close your eyes for a moment. The government has taken away your business or run you off your land. Members of your family have been killed by violence. You’ve been chased away from all that you’re familiar with and after years of running, potentially living in a refugee camp for 10-15 years, you are able to make it to a safe country and start over. You don’t speak the language, you cannot communicate, you may not even have services or support to help navigate your new world . . . what do you do?
Long term travel is an amazing experience. It’s captivating, educational, challenging, and inspirational. Those who have done it have laptops and smartphones full of photos of far away places and email addresses from those whom they’ve spent a few days with; sharing taxis, hostels, hikes, museums, beach side bars and overnight trains.
Let’s face it though. Most of us aren’t witty travel writers and we’re not glamorous TV stars. We’re not going to spend the rest of our lives traveling the world, submitting creative blog posts or poignant documentaries from exotic distant lands. Of course there are those doing it, but they’re the minority in the global travel community. The travel community is made up of people like you and me. Most who mark the calendars, strap on a backpack and look forward to scuba diving, mountain trekking and passport stamps are the temporary traveller. We’re able to take 3-12 months and head out into the world – seeking to learn about the unknown in other countries, and deep within ourselves. Sooner or later, the trip will come to a conclusion and you’ll be back in the job market, nervously anticipating sitting across the table from a prospective employer in an interview.
Was your trip a waste of time?
Was it a job killer?
Honestly . . . no.
It was a great time for everyone! Christine and I are proud to be the hosts for the 2011 Meet Plan Go extravaganza this October. This past week, we hosted a Meet Plan Go get together at Paddy Coyne’s in South Lake Union. It was a really fun evening and had almost 30 people show up! – not bad!! Meet, Plan, Go! founders Michaela Plotter and Sherry Ott were even on hand to celebrate the travel wishes and plans of those who attended.
Meet, Plan, Go! (MPG) is a wonderful website that brings together people with an interest in travel. Those who have travelled the world, those who are planning to travel, and those who have no idea if they can but it sounds cool. MPG is leading the career break movement in North America; encouraging and teaching others how to travel the world and have it be beneficial to your career. They envision a world where the term ‘career break’ is a part of everyone’s overall career strategy.
When we finally landed in Edinburgh, and we were rather excited to stay in one place for a while. It was really easy to move in – we dropped the backpacks, took a sigh, looked around . . . and that was pretty much it. Quickly, we started exploring our surroundings and began our quest for work. We were moved in, but we weren’t quite settled. Over the coming weeks, something just didn’t feel right. Christine had a wonderfully insightful conversation with Lacey one night and it soon became apparent . . . our home was gunked up. Our visually inviting, welcoming, light and airy flat was emotionally dark. It was a spiritually stunted location that silently creaked and moaned under its own extra-dimentional essence. The path to a proper solution was evident, we needed to cleanse our home.
Honestly . . . our flat was infested with bad mojo!
Lacey was brilliant and offered us a multi-pronged solution.
Needless to say, the past two years have been an amazing journey for us. We’re so appreciative of those who have not only followed our website and made comments, viewed our photos on Flickr, but those with whom we’ve been able to create friendships with as a result of traveling. We’ve enjoyed meting fellow travelers who’ve shared stories with us in remote bus stations, rice patties and mountain trails. It’s even been a joy to have chatted with the locals that we’ve met walking down the street, tending stalls or restaurants and even approaching us on their scooter while we’ve been riding on our scooter down the street! ” . . . HI! Where you from??!! . . . ” We’ve not only created friendships as we’ve traveled, but as a result of this experience, we’ve even created some strong friendships now that we’ve returned and are back in Seattle.
It was a journey that included selling all our possessions, leaving the country, getting married, traveling to 17 countries in 13 months, living in Edinburgh Scotland for five months, and ultimately, returning and resettling our lives in Seattle. It was a long path of preparation in so many aspects: saving, budgeting, purging possessions, planning destinations, buying tickets and countless other boxes to check as we prepared to cast off our bowlines and seek the far shore. There were so many things to think about that, when looked at all at once, could potentially make your head spin and fall off. The biggest question from those whom we told of our trip while still in the planning stage seemed to be: How is it even possible to do something like this??!!
The simple answer is, it’s easier than you think! A lot easier.
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