The Stoke Before the Storm

Yes I’ll take that ride to my hostel in your Mercedes Van I’ve never seen before in my life. Mercedes makes vans?

Nothing quite captures my imagination more than the prospect of traveling to a foreign country. From the spontaneous road trip to yearlong excursions and beyond, the thought of stepping out the door in pursuit of something new draws me in with a gravitational force, dictating the paths and decisions I choose in my every day life. As I prepare more and more each day to begin my new life abroad, the anticipation of getting on that first plane ride can often overwhelm me. While I have the world to look forward to and could spend hours mapping my thoughts, here’s a condensed list of my top 5 perks to anticipate before leaving on that next trip.

  1. The extreme levels of excitement and anxiousness the night before.

At this point I don’t know whether to laugh or cry but it doesn’t really matter because this is happening. The tickets been bought, friends have said their goodbyes, and everything is packed up, neatly aligned in the living room hallway next to the door. This will probably be the most organized moment of the whole trip. I know there is chaos ahead but nothing gets me more excited. There’s a flight in the early morning; I know I should be resting but these travel jitters have me feeling like I’m on an IV, Red Bull pumping into my veins.

  1. Walking off that plane alone in a foreign country with no commitments, except the one you’ve made with yourself to simply…take it all in.

Damn check out these urinals at the airport in Japan! That’s so sick, our cultures are so different. Even the smallest details are observed with the scrutiny of a Harvard professor. An hour later I walk out of the airport and everything is still a complete mind-fuck. Beauty can be found in every click of the shutter and excitement in even the most mundane of tasks. Yes I’ll take that ride to my hostel in your Mercedes Van I’ve never seen before in my life. Mercedes makes vans?

  1. The ability to pack up and leave in 30 minutes, or simply drop the anchor and hang out for a month’s time.

There’s no itinerary here man. More on this later but to me, there is so much beauty and romance in the concept of the one-way ticket. Although not suited for everyone, I believe traveling should never be rushed nor meticulously planned. Let (insert country) happen. For my upcoming trip to Asia, all I know is I am flying to Thailand. I have my list of countries to explore and goals to achieve, but as for when and who I make it there with, that’s all in the cards. Take them as they’re dealt and watch as you accomplish more than you could have ever imagined.

  1. The people you will meet and how they will change your lives.

I get mixed reviews when people find out I’m planning to carry out my travels alone. There are different aspects as to why I prefer this but solely looking at the lonesome factor, you’ll never really be alone. Unless you’re booking fancy hotel rooms to yourself, companions can be made easily all over the world. While meeting friendly hostel hoppers out for drinks is always fun, keep your eyes open for the gems and you may just find yourself trucking on to the next country with 2 or 3 extra heads along for the ride.

  1. Discovering things you never knew about yourself and realizing the problems that were once so extreme, never really meant a thing.

It’s quite easy for us to form a little bubble around us wouldn’t you agree? We fall into our daily routines; sights and sounds start to become familiar, then suddenly this world, as large as it is, begins to feel like the distance of 4 city blocks. Well, exploring places you have yet to go will change that for you real fast. Cruise the New York City subways during rush hour, or drive the streets of Bangkok at any time and quickly realize where you stand on this planet. It’s the small moments like these that affect me the most wherever I am in the world. That time they caught you speeding through the 6, or the crippling stress about failing an exam, it never mattered bro.


Traveling, sometimes scary but always rewarding in some form, packs a list of benefits longer than the terms and conditions stated on your latest credit card. The potential gains from investing your time in exploring the world and yourself are astronomical. Take a moment to step out of that everyday bubble and determine what is truly important in this life. For me, experiences and memories will always trump holding onto that dollar. This, my friends, is why I bought that ticket. Will you?


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