Here we go again! – Nov. 1, 2011

At Bellingham International Airport in Washington state.

I’m at the airport again.
Last Friday, I was having dinner and drinks at the Arlington Tap House with my Uncle Jondi and Aunt Grace, along with their two friends, Diedre and Tiana, my Aunt Noelle, and my sister Rosalina and her boyfriend, Scott, all of whom were in town for the the Marine Corps Marathon and 10K run.  They suggested that I come out and run on Sunday.
Mind you that I am probably in the worst shape of my entire life right now having not done any real physical training during the six months that I was traveling in South America.  I ended up keeping pace with Tiana during the 10K run and, aside from some minor pain in my knees which I imagine is normal for my poor physical state, it was a piece of cake.  It’s nice to be able to do a 10k on a whim!
The other part of this story involves Aunt Grace inviting me to come out to Hawaii with them on Tuesday.  Immediately, the following flashed through my head when I heard this:

  • The benefits of modern technology afford me the ability to make cheap phone calls and apply for jobs from anywhere in the world.  I can be productive in my job search, pay my bills, communicate, and access information; all thanks to the internet.
  • I would benefit from a reduced cost of accommodation by sharing rooms with Tiana, Aunt Grace, and Uncle Jondi.  I slept in far worse conditions in other remote parts of the world, e.g. a filthy, fetid hotel room in New Delhi, India, a flea-infested bed in Lalibela, Ethiopia, on the floor of a cooking hut with malaria-carrying mosquitos in Zambia, and the freezing overnight bus from the salt flats of Uyuni to Cochabamba, Bolivia while keeled over from altitude sickness.
  • My first week back from S. America was really uneventful.  I went salsa dancing several times that week and that wasn’t nearly as fun as salsa dancing in Colombia.  It was a really big bummer for me, and if I don’t like something, I feel empowered to change it.  Everybody has that ability; they just need to have the courage to actually do it.
  • My financial situation is sound thanks to years of living beneath my means and being called “cheap” by virtually all the girls I’ve dated.  Live like no one else so later you can live like no one else.  These are words by finance guru Dave Ramsey that I’ve tried to live by.  At the same time, aside from socking away into retirement almost every penny that I’ve earned, I get a great deal more satisfaction in the profound experiences, relationships and personal growth that come as a result of being well-traveled than from buying stupid stuff that becomes obsolete over time.  Even though my travels might only last a few weeks, the things I learn will benefit me for the rest of my life, along with the relationships that I build.  My stories will be around long after I’m gone when I pass my journals to my grandkids.  The idea of making an impact like that is really attractive to me.  For that reason, I still don’t own a TV, iPod, or iPad.  I wear the same clothes that I bought years ago.  And I’ll drive my 2000 Camry until it no longer runs.
  • I will find a job eventually and inevitably, what’s the significance of another 2 weeks of learning, exploring, and experiencing the world in the grand scheme of things?
  • My gut instinct said, “Yes.  Hell yes.”

And so now I’m at the airport at Bellingham, Washington, typing this out while waiting for my flight to Honolulu to meet Uncle Jondi, Aunt Grace, and Tiana later tonight, 21.5 hours after leaving my house at 5:30 this morning.
I bought a one-way ticket so that I could have the strategic flexibility of going anywhere and doing anything I wanted after they leave on Saturday.  I have no idea what’s in store for me and no concrete plans, and that’s exactly how I like it.