My photo journal of Auckland, New Zealand:
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Destinations: As many as I can
Trip Length: ~1 year
Vacation Days Used: N/A (I’ve quit my job)
Trip Cost: $20,000
For a long time now I’ve been feeling like my life has been too predictable. I’ve grown up and stayed in the same city in Southern California for 20 years and I knew what I was going to do the next day, the next week, the next month, even the next year with a pretty high degree of accuracy. Although the days themselves weren’t bad, it was suffocating feeling like my life had already been written.
So I decided to make a change and write the chapters of my life the way I want it to be.
Over the past month I’ve been getting ready to go on an extended trip, country hopping around the world. Figuring out what to pack has been a lot of fun and an eye opening experience. I realized how much random stuff I had and how little of it I actually needed to live, especially since I wanted to travel light with just a carry on 40L backpack. It motivated me to get rid of a lot of my things in my house before leaving on my trip.
In the end I donated about 80% of my clothes and threw away a ton of random boxes/trinkets I had been hoarding. A lot of things were hard to part with because I had initially kept them as ways to remember little bits of my past, but I figured that those experiences and memories are either in my head or have become a part of me, so it doesn’t mean I’m letting go or forgetting those things, I just didn’t need all those little trinkets piling up in my garage and closets.
In the end I was pretty proud of the way I simplified both my house and my backpack. I’ve included my long term packing list below:
Since I submitted my resignation and finalized my plans to leave, I’ve been living my days in Irvine a lot differently. I feel more motivated than ever to live fully every single day, whereas before I felt like I was on autopilot and weeks would pass without me realizing it.
1. I feel like I’ve connected with more people and in more meaningful ways in the past month than I had in years previously. Knowing that my friendships and connections will soon lose the benefit of convenience has motivated me to put more effort into strengthening them now before I go. I also don’t want to make the same mistake I’ve made many times before and lose great connections and friends after a change in my life because I was afraid to put in effort that I didn’t have to before.
In my first post on this blog I wrote: “I want to document my journey to try and prove that I don’t need to quit my job, give up my current life for an extended period of time, in order to travel and see the world.”
My how things have changed, because I’ve decided to quit my dream video game job, give up my current comfortable life for an extended period of time to travel and see the world. The only difference from what I wrote is that I’ll also be taking this time to start my own business and pursue working for myself instead of a normal 9-5.
Here’s how I changed and ended up doing a complete 180:
Destination: Death Valley, California USA
Trip Length: 2 days (April 15-16, 2017)
Vacation Days Used: 0 hours
Total Cost: ~$223
My trip to Alaska had given me a taste of seeing and traveling the world, and it also gave me the confidence boost I needed to start checking things off my bucket list on my own. I realized I had been waiting for a partner to come with me on my trips but it didn’t seem like I’d have someone to travel with anytime soon and I wanted to make the most of my 20’s which meant not wasting anymore time waiting. So I decided to go see the Milky Way, which was something I wanted to do for a really long time but never took the initiative to make happen. I figured I needed somewhere remote, away from city lights, with clear crisp dark skies, and I’d have to camp overnight. I decided on Death Valley, California.
Destination: Fairbanks, Alaska USA
Trip Length: ~4 days
Vacation Days Used: 8 hours
Total Cost: $1067.80
The day I’ve been waiting for was finally here, I was going to Alaska to chase the northern lights. I took Friday off work and left work a bit earlier on Thursday afternoon to drive out to LAX for my flight at 7:45pm. I had chosen a flight at night for two reasons: 1 so I didn’t have to take an additional vacation day just for travel and 2. So in case the northern lights were out that I might catch them from the flight. I also booked a seat on the right side of the plane which would be facing north west, increasing my chances of seeing the aurora from the flight.
Destination: Kelso Dunes, Mojave Desert, California USA
Trip Length: ~11 hours
Vacation Days Used: 0 hours
Trip Cost: $0
It was a year ago, March 26th, 2017. I had booked my flight for Fairbanks, Alaska to try and see the northern lights, but that was next weekend and I was feeling extremely motivated about travel and couldn’t wait to start. So I decided to do a weekend day trip to Kelso Dunes, which are these large sand dunes in the middle of the Mojave Desert here in California, known for producing a phenomenon called singing sand. It was a 4 hour drive from me so I picked up 2 liters of water, a couple pre-packaged salads and a bag of hot wings for food, and set off on the drive.