A Letter to My Nephew

At this very moment you are coming into this world screaming to the high heavens and putting your mother through unbearable pain.  You may be asking yourself where the hell I was, well let me tell ya.

While your mother was bringing you into this world I was in El Bolson Argentina, a hippie invested town with tons of outdoor adventures.  On this very day I was leaving this town to make my way to Mendoza, a place with excellent wine where your uncle can booze it up with his English travel mate.  Like your mother I had a very long journey ahead of me except hers would be a million times more painful.

Before I boarded my first bus back to Bariloche your mother had already informed me that you were coming the night prior.  She was having consisted contractions but since her water hadn’t broken yet the hospital informed her to stay put. Later that night she was finally admitted to the hospital.

I woke up to no news of you being born.  My first bus was delayed by an hour.  My second bus departed on time but ran into mechanical problems causing the bus to travel at speeds of 20 mph.  This is a 17 hour bus ride by the way. Like my buses you would also be delayed.

During my painstaking bus ride I was slowly receiving news of your progress into this world through the shit wifi provided by the bus.  Still you hadn’t arrived and it was already Friday.

By midnight I finally received the news that you were on your way. By this point I would have been 7 hours from my destination but instead I had no clue how long I had. Like the bus you were taking your sweet time getting to your destination as well.

In the early morning of Dec 2nd 2017 a message got through with news of your arrival and still I remained on this bus.

I have heaps of advice and life facts to pass on so here’s a couple.

I wish I could tell you that you are coming into a world of peace and harmony.  Unfortunately, you are not, but it is still a world worth coming into and a life worth living.  No matter how shit it might become sometimes never lose hope.  Pain is only temporary and you will have our support through everything.

I can tell you that the only constant in life is change.  Embrace it, even the ones you’re not keen of.  They will take you in interesting directions.

Travel as far and as long as possible. Your mom may not like this because she’ll miss you but she will always be there, I will always be there, family will always be there, home will always be there.

Learn the languages of your elders, trust me on this one, it will benefit you greatly.

Seek peace but always be ready for war.  I’ll explain this further when your older.

Most importantly don’t give your mom shit. She’s the best human I know and loves you unconditionally.  Your dad as well. Be patient with them, parenting is a tough gig.

Happy birthday poop stain! Welcome to this wonderful thing we call life.

PS: I’m not a huge fan of your name so I will call you poop stain, lil bugger, nugget, megatron and whatever comes to mind.

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World Travel Itinerary

Just a rough idea of my plan to travel around the world.  4 days into Sydney and the plan is already changing, which I find is the best way to travel.  It’s good to be prepared but you have to let some of the pieces fall where they may.  (photo credit: @worldtravelfans) 

*get Vietnam visa online

*look at hostel bookers.com

Australia

Cheap Airlines: Tiger Airlines, Jetstar

Bus: Greyhound Australia Pass

Rideshare: Look at hostel bulletins to hitch a ride with people or look at Kangaride, Jayride and Gumtree

Things to see:

Uluru(Too far, towards Alice Springs), sail Whitsundays, hike the Daintree

Route:

  • Sydney – 3 – Opera house, Harbor Bridge
  • Melbourne – 4
  • Sydney – 2
  • Byron Bay – 3 – Aquarius backpackers hostel
  • Gold Coast – 3 Surf N Sun Hostel
  • Brisbane – 3
  • Whitsunday – 3
  • Magnetic Island – 3 base hostel
  • Cairns – 5 – Gilligans hostel, Great barrier reef, Kuranda Rainforest, mission beach, crystal cascades

Total days = 29

Philippines

  • Boracay – MNL beach hostel
  • Cebu

Thailand – must have passport at all times (law)

Bangkok

  • (5) NapPark hostel

Ayutthaya – Ancient City

Phitsanulok

Chiang Mai

  • (4) Spicy Thai hostel
  • Songkran Festival Thai new year, water fight (13-15th April) originated here

Chiang Khong

  • border with Laos
  • purchase 30 day tourist visa here, $30-$40 bucks

Laos

Houay Xai

  • Bokeo Nature reserve

Luang Prabang

  • (5) lots of shit to see here

Vang Vieng (4)

Sakura Bar

Vientiane – (5) capital city, visit Vietnam embassy here to get visa.

Tha Khaek

  • Do the Thakhaek loop on motorbike if possible. Takes 3 days but preferably do it in 4 days
  • Phou Hin Boon National Park
  • Konglor Cave
  • Tham Nong Pafa Cave

Savannakhet

  • Second largest city
  • Museum on dinosaurs and unexploded bombs from Vietnam War
  • City host many festivals (look them up).

Ao Nang, Krabi – Slumber Party hostel

Koh Phangan – The Nomad House

Ko Samui

Ko Phangan

  • Hat Rin, full moon party

Ko Tao

Krabi

  • Popular beaches – Ao Nang, Tang Sei, Rai Leh

Ko Tarutao National Marine Park

Vietnam

Dong Ha

  • A day is recommended here

Hue

  • Ancient city
  • Hue Citadel
  • Emperors tombs
  • Pagodas

Hoi An (4)

  • Riverside town
  • Party town
  • Beach is not far

Nha Trang

  • Backpackers house hostel

Dalat (4)

  • Lakes, forest and waterfalls (outdoors)

Mui Ne

  • Desert, sand dunes and beach (theres a desert in Vietnam? Da fuck?)
  • Not much going on apparently but great place to unwind. Probably will recharge my batteries here and regroup.

Ho Chi Minh (Saigon)

  • largest city
  • Pham Ngu Lao area, good place to find food, sleep, and drink
  • Lots of war sites

Hanoi – Hanoi backpackers hostel

Old Quarter, Hanoi – Central Backpackers

Cambodia

Phnom Penh

Koh Rong – island near Phnom Penh MUST GO

Sihanoukville

Siem Reap

  • Funky Flashpackers hostel
  • Temples of Angkor Wat

Israel

  • Jerusalem – 6 days, Abraham Hostel
  • Tel Aviv – 3 days, Florentine Backpackers Hostel
  • Day trip to the Dead Sea
  • Mediterranean coast
  • The North (???)
  • Petra – get there early, whole day trip,

Greece – Island hopping (link up w/ SF mates)

  • Santorini
  • Ios
  • Mykonos

Croatia – Dubrovnik, Split, Zagreb,

Hungary – Budapest

Czech – Prague

Germany – Munich

Spain – Link up with the moms.  Visit Madrid and Barcelona.

FUCK IT I’LL FIGURE OUT THE REST AS I GO

Morocco

Scotland

Ireland

Brazil

Bolivia

Argentina

Chile

Peru – Regroup in Lima.  Spend a month.  Link up with pops

Colombia

Panama

Costa Rica

Cuba

Home (Noooooooo 😦 

Chasing the Sun/The Great Escape (I don’t fucking know anymore)

Life is filled with “Goodbyes”.  I know this because I’ve had to say it way too many times.  Goodbye to family, goodbye to friends, goodbye to relationships, and goodbye to brothers who have made their final ascension into Valhalla.

But not every goodbye is a sad one.  Sometimes a goodbye is a closure to one part of your life and the beginning of another.  A new adventure or a fresh start, as cheesy as that may sound.  I’m not a fan of saying goodbye to people, so instead I say “see ya later”.  Goodbye sounds so final, so concrete.

This time around its no different, and I still don’t plan on saying goodbye.  As I get ready to embark on another trip I simply tell people, “see ya later, have a cold one waiting for me for when I return”.  Oh yea, did I forget to mention I’m going backpacking again haha!

This time I journey to the beautiful land of Australia.  Why you may ask?  Well that’s a silly question, its fucking Australia!  Also I made a promise to visit some good mates of mine I met in Europe, and I’m not about to stop breaking my promises.

I’m not sure why I named this blog post “The Great Escape”.  I’m not escaping from anything; I simply want to explore the world. Chasing the sun seems like a better title since I’ll be consistently chasing the sun this time around or perhaps, “Damnnnnn Carlos, back at it again with the traveling” is a more suitable title, I’ll let you decide.  Well now that I think about it I might be escaping from one thing, conformity.  You know that thing everyone wants you to do, get a degree, get a career, work, work, work, work (in Rihanna voice), get married, make offspring, retire, die.  As I reach my big 30, that pressure to conform increases. I guess by societies standards I should have a career and be married by now.  Been there, done that.

I’m no revolutionary, people today are steering away from conformity and doing great things.  The idea of marriage is dying, as more people stray away from it.  More people are choosing not to have kids, and focusing on personal development.  There is nothing wrong with conformity or normalizing to some standards. Its some people’s goal to get married and raise a family, shit it was mine there for a while.  I myself will eventually chase this goal as well, but not in the near future. I would like to tell you to do the same while you are still young, but hey it’s your life, live it how you want.  Personal development does not mean doing it on your own, for the company of different people and different cultures is the best way to grow.

If I ever get blessed with grand kids, who by the way will be a bunch of shit heads because I’m a shit head, I want to sit on a hovering recliner (it’s the future, they will have these) with a long wooden pipe for show, because I don’t smoke, stroking my grey beard and say, “Gather around young padawans, let me tell you about the time your grand pappy pulled a Hemingway” or the time I stood on the side of a mountain and watched a memorable sunrise in a foreign country where its inhabitants wanted to kill me.  (I’m going to terrorize these kids HAHA!)

I do have one final thought on this somewhat off track topic. I do believe one of life’s goals is to find someone to share these moments with, the person you can stand still with, enjoy sincere silence, and take in the moment.  This isn’t a necessity, but a nice compliment to your badassery (yup just made up a word).  I can’t tell you how to achieve this, but I do believe it can be done through personal growth, which can only be achieved by stepping outside the bubble of conformity.  Plus, life is to fucking awesome to live it by yourself, go share it with someone and make some kick ass memories.

Like before, this idea to take off started small, with a plan to save up and travel in two years, which turn to a small two-week trip in less than a year, to now traveling for several months.  I mean why not right, I’m already going to be in that part of the world, so why not keeping going. I knew I would travel again even before I left Europe, so I began to stash money away as soon as I landed in the states. Surprisingly I came back under budget and stored it in the travel fund. The gears in my head were moving but I had no date and too many destinations to choose from. Planning big trips like these are often daunting and time consuming, but well worth it.

Once again certain aspects in my life have push me towards this idea a lot sooner than I had planned.  Drawbacks, successes and failures have all created an opportunity for me to leave again.  I made up my mind several months ago to go full throttle with the plan, setting up a budget, watching my expenses like a hawk and working like a slave. Going to need three times the cheddar this time around.

So what’s the new itinerary?  Well let me tell ya! This plan will sound really ambitious, but fuck it, YOLO right.

Phase 1

First stop, AUSTRALIA!  I will be backpacking the east coast of Australia for a month. Somewhere along that route I plan on accomplishing 3 goals; fight a kangaroo, fight a koala, and not die. Assuming I’m still alive after all this I’ll be licking my wounds in Cairns before my departure to SOUTH EAST ASIA!

Phase 2

This is where it gets tricky and I’ll need help. I’ve already talked to several of you and thank you for the valuable advice. If anyone has any tips or information on SEA feel free to drop me a line. I’ve already started my research and have a rough draft on the route I plan to take.  Also any info on the Philippines (Boracay & Cebu) would help. I’ll be out of SEA by June due to monsoon season and plan on heading west towards Ireland and Scotland. Not sure how I’m going to get there but I WILL GET THERE. I’ve been dreaming about Ireland and the Highlands since I’ve been back, failure here is not an option. Also any info on Capetown and Morroco would help as well.

Phase 3

Phase three of the plan gets real ballsy as I plan to make my way to South America.  Now the chances of me reaching this continent are slim but hey, YOLO (I promise YOLO is not part of my regular vocabulary, but it seems appropriate. Just about every curse word known to man is).  This will simply depend on money, and how much I have left. I have not done ANY research on this yet, so definitely need all the advice I can get. Getting here means I budgeted just right, or I pulled a Rambo (sold live Cobras for snake fight club in SEA).

I’m also sending an open invitation to anyone who wants to join me on this adventure.  I’ve realize that most people are afraid to travel alone, so that’s why I offer people to join me on any part of my trip.  Money is also a factor and even though I can’t fund your trip, I can offer money saving advice.  The purpose behind these stories and blog is to encourage people to travel. Everyone should see the world through their own eyes. Pictures, videos and blogs don’t do it justice.

I’m currently working on anchor points, and so far I only have a few.  Life keeps me pretty preoccupied and most of my planning is done during my commute hours. I’ll be in Oz for NYE, which hopefully will be pretty bad ass. I fly out to SEA on the 27 of Jan after Australia Day (can’t miss that). Where I land first in SEA is still up to question but I will be in Thailand for SONGKRAN!! (Apr 13-16). I’ll be out of SEA by June. I’ll be posting a final itinerary as the date approaches.

Oh fuck I just realized that I leave in 5 months! 5 freaking months! Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuck. I still got so much planning to do.

Funny thing is I’m already planning what to do when I return, (get my iron horse back and tour my own country) got to stay focus.

Of course everything is subject to change as life continues to throw me curve balls, it just depends if I decide to dodge it, catch it or hit it.  Whatever happens I will choose the route that will provide me with a good story so I can write about it.

Safe travels everyone and I appreciate any tips/advice you send my way.