Ok. So, before I get into my experiences and the things I’ve seen and contemplated, let me first provide a bit of background. This is a travel blog. Sure you’ll find plenty of op-ed style writing and some stats here and there but at the end of the day, this is just a venue to share or more accurately write down the things I’m experiencing and going to experience over the next year or 2.
That being said, let me start by stating who I am, or again, more precisely, who I think I am. My name is Sasha. I’m a 39 year old male, born in Canada of an Italian-Canadian mother and a Haitian father. I was born in Canada, but only for the paperwork. In actuality I grew up in Haiti, from the age of 2 months to right before my 18th birthday. I have an awesome younger sister and 2 fantastic parents. I have a couple half-siblings, and great aunts, uncles and all the other stuff, though I can’t pretend to have been all that close to most of them. Growing up in Haiti was absolutely amazing. My early childhood was modest but comfortable. At that age, as long as you have love and food, you want for nothing. That was indeed my case. Later on, my family officially entered the upper class, which in Haiti isn’t that terribly difficult to do if you already have a higher education and a support system, which my parents had. If not, well, you’re more than likely destined to a life of destitution. So, while I never experienced poverty myself, I was surrounded by it every day on the way to my expensive school or anywhere else, in fact. But my parents made a point of never allowing me to feel spoiled, and I never did. Don’t get me wrong, simply by being in the upper class, I was spoiled and looking back on it, I knew it, and so did my parents, but it never felt like the norm, and for that I’m incredibly grateful to my parents. Haiti was a fantastic place to grow up, particularly given the parents I had. While my dad was relatively conservative at the time, my mom was a bit of a hippy (also at the time). They had the means to send me to Montreal or Miami for my summers, and combined with American TV and an American education, I found myself espousing a pretty liberal point of view from a pretty young age. In truth, due to this, I never fit into the Haitian mold, where, at the time, a more conservative classist and chauvinist societal view prevailed. So, from a pretty young age of about 14, I knew that I’d leave and never come back. Luckily for me, my parents had the means to make that a reality. But during the time I was there, I witnessed a couple coup d’etats, a mini-civil war, massive insecurity, incredible social and financial injustice and of course, the warmth and beauty that, like most countries, the lower class overflows with.
After graduating from high-school I moved to Montreal and went to Canada’s arguably best university. I took that for granted, partly because the program I was in got cancelled and I was learning much more on the outside than on the inside. I didn’t quite finish, though i was there for over 5 years, but I think I got what I needed from it. While there, I met a series of amazing people who would foster my liberalism, open my mind to new possibilities, and help shape who I’ve become. Fast forward 20 years, most of which have been spent trying to run a couple businesses, with less success than I’d like, and we find ourselves here.
So, why am I sharing this? Well, because if you don’t know who I am, you probably won’t understand where I’m coming from and won’t have the context necessary to decrypt my opinions or perspectives. So, do indeed keep all of this in mind while reading my posts. The goal of my blog? Well, in truth it’s simply to keep a journal of my travels, because sadly, I have a terrible memory and if I don’t write down my experiences, I’ll quickly forget them. However, if in the process of writing this, others find it useful, even better. If not, then hopefully it’ll at least be interesting.
So, developmental background out of the way, let me get into what this is all about. I’ve been wanting to travel for years. I had a 3 month adventure in India which I loved and which, as you can imagine, gave me the travel bug. But that was in 2008. It’s now 2015. The years in between? Struggle. Since then I left my old company and started a new one. I’ve been struggling ever since to make enough money to afford some form of traveling. With no luck. Up until now. But the truth is, the only reason I can travel today is because I simplified. I sold everything I own, got rid of my apartment and took off. The plan is to work while I travel. All I need is the net and a laptop now, so that’s my plan. I should or could have done this before, but I simply wasn’t ready. I hoped to have the means to live 9 months of the year in Montreal and take off for 3 months of every year to a new country and work from there, but that never panned out. Finally, my only viable option was to get rid of everything and just take the leap.
But why? Well, like I said, I’ve been wanting to travel for a while. But as time passed and that desire kept getting postponed and ignored and, well, while I kept failing at it, my sense of disappointment, embarassment and failure grew. It all came to a head one night when I had a bit of an argument over the phone with my girlfriend. While we were nowhere near done, I had this sense of impending doom, and in that moment of frustration, I realized that a few weeks prior, without being aware of it, the final piece of business mobility had fallen into place. I had been working on making my company completely mobile essentially for years. The last piece was being able to get paid from anywhere in the world and that required credit card processing. Seems simple enough, but for some reason it took much longer to get there than expected. Of course before that there was a huge range of other small details to deal with, but the fact of the matter is, that when that last piece fell into place, I never even noticed it. It was just another small form of progress. But this argument with my girlfriend annoyed me enough to say “Do I need this? Can’t I just get out of here?” And with that simple question, I realized that I in fact could. There was nothing holding me to a specific point on the planet anymore. I was completely and utterly geo-independent. And right then, I decided I was going to travel. Of course my girlfriend and I made up, (of course we did, she’s amazing: supportive, cool, smart, generous, warm and all around fantastic) we talked, I shared my thoughts and my plan, we both got scared but she understood and even better, supported me. We had already discussed plans on traveling together many months prior, and had a general idea of how we’d make that happen (though I never really thought I’d be able to achieve it anytime soon). That phone conversation just sparked something inside of me that said “you have to go, and you have to go soon”. Luckily, she felt that could work for her too, that it somehow still fit into our original travel plans and we started to see how we could share as much travel time together from that point on, where and when we’d meet up, etc.
The truth is, during that argument, which most men have likely had, I realized that, given my age and the fact that I am not at all interested in 20something year old women, I will never be able to have a lasting, healthy relationship with any woman who wants kids if I am not yet ready to have a family. The truth is, I’m simply not ready and the biggest thing holding me back, is that I haven’t seen and experienced enough of the world to say “ok, I’ve done enough, I’ve seen enough, I’ve interacted and absorbed, and I’m ready, actualized and patient enough to be a father. And while I still want to see more and do more, and absorb more, I can do so at a more relaxed pace; one that can accommodate a family, if that’s where things go”. So, this, all of this, is so that I can live a fuller life, experience something grander than my small circle of amazing friends within an amazing city. It’s about a larger human experience and existence. I have no real goals or objectives. I have no plan or itinerary, I just have a vague idea of how long I want to roam the earth. What I find I will appreciate and I will carry with me.
So, that’s the context. I hope I haven’t bored you too much. I am analytical, relatively unemotional in the way I express myself, and I am not a huge fan of exaggeration or drama. That may make this dryer than it should be, who knows, but at least you know where I’m coming from and have an idea of what lens I see the world through.
Now, the blog, is going to be broken up into a few parts. There will be the financial, which I think for most nomads will likely be the most helpful, the experiential, which might be the most insightful and will most likely be categorized by geography (to be seen), and the logistical, which would cover things like how to do things, tips and tricks, etc. I’m open to comments and suggestions, so I invite you to add anything you want, just know that for spam reasons, I will have to approve all comments, so don’t be surprised if yours doesn’t show up immediately. I promise, even if it’s derogatory, it will go through once I have a chance to get online and check it. So, ya, that’s it. From here on in, it’s about the trip: 2 years of freedom, challenge, loneliness, excitement, adventure, boredom and experience. Hope you enjoy it.