Here it is. I’m at the precipice of my first pause in this great adventure of mine, looking into a life very different from this one but also quite the same. It’s time to change my priorities. Life on the road has its many benefits but it also has its disadvantages. For the moment, recognizing my limitations and my reality is unavoidable. It’s time to make a change. What are we if we are not open to recognizing the realities that surround us and making decisions based on them?
I’ve crossed 22 months of this nomadic life and I know now more than ever that this is just the beginning. I’m meant to be here, to be there, to be on the move, to explore. I will be doing this for years to come but everything has changed. 2016 was a brutal year but it was a crucial one. It showed me where I was weak and where I was strong. It showed me who my friends are and who were pals. It taught me what’s important and what is trivial. Nothing remains of the life I lived before aside from who I am. My habits are different, my approach is different, my circle is different, but what remains is the personality I’ve carried, crafted, been given, accepted.
I ended 2016 with some hard truths, some ugly insights into the elements that make me me. I encountered a number of disheartening and heavy events. I was mugged and beaten, I woke up to the facts of my financial and career realities, I once more felt with intensity the mistakes I had made, and was exposed to the dark and violent side of humans via a friend’s expriences. They all left their mark and while I hoped it would stay in 2016 I knew that it wouldn’t. 2017 is just a month and a half into its life, but it’s been a time of reflection and recognition. I am no less disappointed, but I’m closer to my truth and that’s what I needed. I have failed. On so many levels I have truly and utterly failed and that is the best gift that I have been given since I embarked on this journey. We all hear about the fear of failure, about the need to fail, about the recognition that failure is key to success. We hear it, and while we may understand it on an intellectual level, feeling it, living it is a scary proposition. My failures surround me, they encompass me, and they still scare me, but I see them. I feel them and I’m not ready to succumb to them. My priorities have changed as I hoped they would and they have emboldened me.
Today, I write this from the basement of an Argentinian hostel/residence. It’s where I spend 80% of my time. I have done little aside from working, research, and reading. I have not explored my surroundings, I have not explored the people or the culture, I have dug into myself and asked and answered the questions I needed to for this moment. I am not happy but I’m content, I’m satisfied. And my conclusion?
I’m not done yet. Many things can hold me back. Many things can scare me. Many things can paralyze me, but I’m not done. It’s time for another awakening. I’ve spent my life in these cycles of self-improvement, revelry, complacency and decline. It began when I was 14 and that pattern is as alive today as it has always been. It is part of the many lives I’ve lived and I don’t expect or want that to change. I only hope that these cycles don’t hurt those I care about and that is something I’m more cognizant of now than ever and something I will try to incorporate into how I comport. No one should suffer due to my approach on life. It’s not fair and I can only hope people will remind me and make me aware of that if I ever begin to forget that. But I need to accept also, given the faults I’ve clearly elaborated on within this blog, that I have a pattern that can at times turn dark but always has a thread of optimism and hope, that are also part of my constant growth. I am hard on myself but I always follow-through with lessons and plans on how to make the necessary changes. I will give credit where credit is due.
I have failed a number of times in my life and 2016 was a compendium of those failures, concentrated and virulent. I’ve hurt a number of people through deceit, through weakness, through a lack of vision and I recognize that and apologize for it. While I can’t promise it will never happen again I can say that I’m more in tune than I have been and to me that’s still a form of progress. 2016 was a terrible year in so many respects, but it wasn’t without its moments. It wasn’t without amazing people with whom I was able to share time, share experiences, share thoughts and feelings. It wasn’t without its incredible activities and beauty. I’m grateful to the incredible people who let me in, who took me in, and who let me take them in. It was not always pretty but it was required. And while I’m exhausted at the moment, I’m also inspired in a way I haven’t been in a very long time.
No, I’m not done yet and my plan is becoming clearer with every passing day. The life I’ve lived has granted me so many beautiful moments and brought me so many beautiful people, ex-girlfriends, friends, experiences but it’s time to move on. My love for my friends and exes will never fade but my connection to my career is on its last legs. Last year I began to notice a lack of motivation and focus. I attributed it to the number of distractions around me, to a desire to live a nomadic, or more specifically a backpacker’s lifestyle, but that was superficial. The reason that the distractions became so pronounced, my focus became so limited, that the backpacker lifestyle became so important isn’t because I was broken (though I am and I recognize that), it’s because the one thing that helped me stay grounded proved itself to be woefully inadequate. The simple fact is, I’m tired and uninspired to continue living within the career that I’ve set out for myself. I loved what I did and do, but it’s not the way forward and I see that now more clearly than ever. Based on that I’ve made a number of decisions, and they may lead to failure but having tasted failure now on an emotional level I never could have accepted before, I think I’m willing to experience it again.
So what’s the plan? Well, on some levels nothing’s changed. I still have my original plans. I’m not leaving this continent until I’m fluent in Spanish, have been to a real electronic music festival and have done Ayahuasca. I made myself that promise pretty much as soon as I realized that I was on my own after my breakup. I’ve achieved none of those, though I’ve gotten close to 2 of them. Fluency, it appears, especially at 41, is considerably more difficult and complicated than I expected. Every step I take towards it, leads to the realization of how far I am from it. Can I express myself? Sure, to a certain extent, with tons of mistakes, but it’s still not what I consider to be fluency, which to me is to be able to express political, philosophical, and scientific themes in a coherent manner, even if there are mistakes made. I can do some of that but not all. As for a festival, well I’ve gotten close, but no, not quite what I envisioned and in terms of Ayahuasca, well that one is a binary equation and clearly the answer is no. So… before I go anywhere else I’m going to achieve those 3 goals, and I’ll likely throw in some subordinate ones, like salsa and others, but those 3 are what in politics are called red lines.
That being said, my priorities have shifted for my immediate future and I recognize accomplishing my short to long-term goals is going to be considerably more difficult here than I would have liked and given that I’ve decided to go to the states to spend some time with my dad so I can reconnect, recharge and handle some issues that have been holding me back from enjoying my life on the level that I was hoping and would have liked. While being in Fort Lauderdale isn’t exactly an exciting part of my travels, it’s the part that I think will end up being most productive in terms of setting up my future.
The plan is simply to divest myself from my current bread-winner (my design and development company) and focus on a couple more long-term opportunities, while I pay off the debts I owe and recharge myself for the years of travel to come. It is a failure in a sense. I didn’t think I would have to revert to a familiar place to achieve my goals, but it’s a step backwards designed to allow me many steps forward and that belief is enough to have me excited. I have so much to do and so much hope for what’s around the corner that this is has become a small sacrifice to my larger travel and life plans. The point is to know as much of the world and the beautiful cultures and subtleties that I can before I find the city that tells me that I’m home. It will be a city where the weather comforts me and the people tell me everything’s going to be ok. I haven’t quite found that yet, thought Buenos Aires is the closest I’ve gotten to it, but I’m hopeful there are a few out there vying for my attention. Until then, the idea is to keep experiencing what each country, culture and experience has to offer and I can find no fault in that perspective.
I know there are going to be tough times, and I’m looking forward to them now more than ever because, now, more that ever, I feel a renewed confidence in the fact that there’s always something waiting for you on the other side. I always believed it but I never quite went through it and I always had my doubts, but now, on my way back up to being who I want to be, I feel it with a renewed intensity and faith.
I said this a post or 2 back… Life doesn’t give you second chances, it gives you an infinite number of chances to change your situation. This applies as much to the billionaires out there as to the poorest people on the planet. It applies to those lost in the frivolities of life as those incarcerated. No, life will not necessarily give you justice or happiness, but it will always give you opportunities to find the path to them regardless of your situation. I do believe that and I believe it because unlike so many philosophies out there, it’s not based on some secret, it’s not elitist, it’s not dependent on having all the inherited opportunities so many who write these bullshit books about being successful are based on, it’s based on an enormous amount of work, self-reflection, motivation and seizing opportunities. These are things we all have access to, no matter where we come from, no matter the obstacles in the way. They don’t always lead to happiness because it’s easy to make mistakes, and get lost. If every minute is a chance to improve your life, every minute is also a chance to make the mistakes that can cost you everything. It’s a compounded equation that never ends.
So, yes, I’ll be back to South America, I’ll be back to Buenos Aires before I head to Europe or Asia because I still have objectives to fulfill. Florida is another stop on the way to being where I want to be and I’m grateful that I have that option, with people who love me and who I love, with a place of respite that will give me some space and peace to further my goals. It’s taken a while to come to terms with this decision, but once it was made the pieces started to fall into place rather quickly and I began to feel a certain excitement about it. Yes, I’ve failed in many respects. I planned on traveling the world with as little compromise as possible. I planned on continuing working in this career, I planned on having the funds to seek out the experiences that called out to me but the reality is, I still have a past that I need to deal with and close off before I can approach the future; and 2017 is about exactly that, closing off the past so I can rush towards my future. The truth is, I’m fucking excited now. So much is about to change and while spending a few months in the US is going to be a huge sacrifice, it’s also going to be a huge investment and I choose to see it more as the latter than the former.
So, 2017 started off horribly. Lack of funds, lack of connection, lack of confidence in who I am, lack of belief in humanity, and a whole subset of those weighed me down, but they also gave me a window to what I needed and knowing what this is has given me new energy and inspiration and I plan on making sure none of that goes to waste.
Yaya, no one cares. One thing I’ve learned, sadly but rightfully, is so few really care. No matter who you think you are, how appreciated, how special, how interesting you might think you are, so few really care. So few are real friends, and while I always knew that intellectually, emotionally recognizing that has completely changed the game. And for that, I’m grateful and contrary to what I might have expected, I’m lighter for it. Triage is a necessary process and one I’ve always been reluctant to undertake but having done that, I am in a better position to take advantage of what’s real and healthy. But before I go, I just want to thank those of you out there who may or may not read this, who were a part of my education. I won’t name names, but through some of your warmth and acceptance, your inflexibility and your anger, your indifference or faith, I am coming out of one of the darkest periods of my life with a new sense of purpose and clarity. Each of you who has contributed to the wide range of emotions that resonated with me in 2016 have led to something greater, more powerful, more hopeful and more clear for me and I cannot express in words how grateful I am. I can only say that you have and are driving me to seek what I believe is mine to grasp with a renewed sense of motivation and potential. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.