The Vagabond Travel Story
When I finished high school I informed my parents I was going to travel. They thought it would be a good idea for me to get out and see the world before being bogged down with university studies. Of course the assumption was that I meant I was going to travel through the summer, returning before September..
Two years later, when again the political situation in Guatemala was getting rather tenuous, I called home to get a ticket for a flight out. There was some urgency because a rolling artillery barrage was making it's way towards the village where the aid station I'd volunteered to help out at was located. The 60s through the 70s was a turbulent time in Guatemalan history, in all of Latin America for that matter. It was an exciting time to be there, but I hadn't signed on to be cannon fodder. The group I was assisting were Quakers, so not a missionary group you expect to find yourself in harms way with. Anyway, the deal for a ticket home was that when I returned I'd enroll in classes and get down to studying.
Attending university during the early seventies was comprised of the mandatory beer drinking, and occasional testing of non-prescription pharmaceuticals, as well as protesting against the Vietnam War. I was also constantly questioning the applicable relevance of the education I was receiving to the life I wanted to lead.
Having already traveled extensively and experienced what would have been a lifetime of adventures for most people, university was painfully boring. I'd been a bystander caught in the middle of the 1971 riots in Camden, NJ, with cars and buildings burning all around me. So a bunch of pacifist students protesting by shouting, waving placards and someone throwing the occasional rock or bottle was pretty tame by comparison, actually pathetic to my way of thinking at the time.
But by far, the extended adrenaline high caused by being caught in the middle of a real revolutionary civil war, with real bullets, bombs and dead bodies laying about, made it difficult to even stay wake during the almost 4 years I spent in university. Maybe if I could have talked about my experiences with my family or classmates it wouldn't have been so bad. Whenever I tried though, whoever I was speaking with suspected I was either lying, or at best boasting, so I kept everything to myself while I counted the days down until I was once again free to roam the planet.
I considered my promise to attend university over when I earned Bachelor degrees in Arts, and Business Administration, with my focus being on what I considered would likely be useful, International Trade and Commerce. To this day I can't remember who I said good-bye too, but I do remember having been packed and ready to go weeks before I was able to leave. In fact, I lived out of my backpack and suitcase for weeks prior to my departure, wearing something, washing it and then replacing it in my luggage. I felt like it was already overdue when I finally boarded a plane bound for Germany.
While traveling during my pre-university period I'd almost died of thirst while wandering through the Wyoming Wild Horse Reserve, not my most well thought out sightseeing adventure. Ironically, it was followed by almost starving to death while attempting to hike the backwoods of Yellowstone National Park. I now spend weeks planning climbs and backpack adventures because I'm not kidding when I say I almost died, twice, due to poor planning and virtually no forethought. So to sit and listen to complaints from classmates about the quality of cafeteria food seemed surreal.
I have experienced a lot in my years of traveling to many countries, representing numerous cultures, religions, languages and political systems. Doing so, I learned that no matter where I go, and no matter who the people there are, they are no different than people anywhere else. There are good and bad people no matter where you go, and whether nice and honest, or evil and dishonest, it's the nature of the person and not their nationality or religion that dictates how they treat others. Remembering this is all it takes to enjoy time spent with good people, and avoid the bad.
I'm often asked about safety when traveling. It has been my experience that some of the most dangerous streets in the world are those in USA inner cities. Thus the caution you'd exercise while visiting the USA and going out after dark on downtown streets is all you need to do to be safe anywhere else in the world, outside of war zones.
Anyway, I used to travel a lot. I was fortunate to have always been able to find employment or business opportunities that allowed me to be a globe trotting wanderer. Unfortunately, in my 40s I thought it was time I grew up, settled down, and planted roots. Of course I was miserable, so I'm once again venturing off to live the life I love... I hope you join me as I fill the pages of this website with my travels, I'm back on the road as a vagabond traveler once again after more than a decade of sedentary existence.
See also: Phang Nga Bay, Thailand The Prague Castle, Czech Republic | Thailand - A Magical Place | Finding Affordable Hotel & Resort Accommodations | Security & Health Concerns For Travellers | Tirana, Albania | Petrela Castle, near Tirana, Albania | Lignano Sabbiadoro in northern Italy on the Adriatic | Peru, land of the Incas | Advice for tourists driving their own car or a rental, or being driven | Touring Europe? You should take the train! | Scrambling In Romania | Driving the Transfagara?an road in Romania | 9 Beach Vacation Suggestions