Choose Your Own Adventure!

I was chatting with a friend about my road trip. A couple months driving across New Zealand is kind of all I’m talking about lately. It’s going well! I’m stopping and staying wherever. I’ve been fortunate to do some of it alone, other parts with friends, and other portions with strangers.

Back to my friend. They asked me “Isn’t that scary? All that you’re doing. I don’t think I could do it”

I responded with, “My first time around, it totally was.”

Years ago, I went on a month long road trip around the USA. I briefly mentioned it recent a conversational vlog talking about road trips with Robb G. At the time, I was pretty nervous about it. In fact, I was very nervous about it.

The purpose of the trip was to watch one of my great friends get hitched. It was super important to me to be there, but it as on the other side of the country from where I lived. I did more planning for this trip than I have on any trip before or since.

Though I crossed my T’s and dotted my I’s, I was having trouble committing to the actual trip.

About this time, I was in the “pre-relationship” phase with a girl. I confided in her and confessed my apprehension about the trip. Of course, I made it as light hearted as possible, exaggerating the countless potential downfalls awaiting me at every turn.

Comedy is my coping mechanism.

One of the things I was most nervous about was a particular 11 day stretch. Over the course of those 11 days, I would not see a single person I previously met in my life.

That scared me.

For the most part, you see people you know every day. Friends you hang with, the local market folks who recognize you, or your neighbors. Oh yeah, family too! Going a single day without seeing a single person you know is rather difficult when you think about it.

This isn’t just an extrovert/introvert thing. I’m a social introvert, I prefer the company of a few close friends and regular solitude to recharge. However, 11 days where I would not see a single person I know was unprecedented.

A long period without a community is like a bit purgatory to me.

That was a few years ago, and in my opinion, not even close to the grandest trip that I’ve done. Yet when it comes to trips, I’ve never been more nervous than that one. I think it’s specifically because of those 11 days.

Nevertheless, I still did the trip! I mustered the strength and courage necessary to jump into my red MINI Cooper and drive more than 2,000 miles around the US.

Choosing that adventure, wasn’t easy. In fact, I probably made it harder than it needed to be on myself. I slept in hospital parking lots, truck stops, and camping in different locations throughout the country. I could have stayed in airbnb’s, hostels, or hotels, but I didn’t. I chose a different type of adventure.

Despite my travels and tales, I have trouble believing I’m adventurous.

The aforementioned girl and I dated for some time. Eventually, we ended. I didn’t have the same thirst for adventure as she, which she felt was enough to walk away.

Maybe this is why I don’t believe it when people describe me as adventurous.
Maybe I’ve been choosing adventure to prove to her, and my subconscious self, I am an adventure worth having.
To be real honest, maybe I’m just scared and traveling is my way of constantly running away. Could adventuring  be another word for hiding? A topic for another post.

I don’t hold it against the girl for ending it back then. I’ve definitely had my share of relationships that lacked the adventure I wanted. In those relationships, I felt bored.

Whenever I feel bored, I think of one of my college buddies who always told me, “Only boring people get bored.”

In this “boring” relationship, I remember sitting down with her by my side, her parents sitting on the adjacent couch, and together we watched the Laker game.

If anyone knows me, they know that I love playing and watching sports. The Lakers are one of my favorite teams! I have many great memories embedded in my mind because of them.

Despite doing something I regularly enjoy, I felt bored. I looked around, saw her parents, and used the moment as a forecast for my future with her. I said quietly to myself, “If I stay with this person, this will be my life. I’ll work a 9-5 and come home to a wife who does the same. We’ll talk about our days as we prep a meal. Then she’ll fall asleep next to me as I cheer for my favorite sports teams.”

This seems boring.

That younger version of myself didn’t understand how to choose adventure. Years later, I realized how wrong I was. It definitely took time to see it, but only boring people get bored.

My learning process started with making fun of my best friend Cameron for never leaving a one mile radius of his house. He met a lovely woman and married her right out of college. Together, they chose to start an adventure that’s led them to today where they have three little ladies, two dogs, and a plethora of fish in a tank.

Every day Cameron chooses adventure. He chooses to father his children, to teach the dogs how to sit, and to clean the fish tank.
His life is such an adventure!

My other bestie, Stefan, studied with me at Azusa Pacific. He worked harder than anyone else I knew in school. He lives in Colorado Springs, the town where he grew up. A place where he can drive around and say “I went to this place as a kid.” Despite this city being one where many young people leave for the more popular Denver just an hour’s drive north, he chooses the adventure of staying.

Today, he works hard, as does his wife, to provide and raise a child.
An owner of a house, a married man, with a beautiful baby, Stefan lives a life of adventure.

Somedays, I have to remind myself, I am an adventurous person. (to be honest, I have to remind myself of a variety of things like I am a good photographer, I am a good comedian, I am a good cook.) I just choose adventure that differs from many people’s definition of adventure.

Adventure is where you stretch yourself beyond which you thought was capable.
Adventure is choosing to do the hard thing; the thing that you’re afraid to do, the thing those around you aren’t doing.
Adventure is in the every day.

I’ve learned any person can be adventurous in any stage of their life. Adventure isn’t just climbing a mountain. It isn’t just hiking the Machu Pichu trail with gusto! There is adventure in moving to a new country for some and for others adventure is staying in the same town your were raised.

Choose your own adventure.

Road Trip: The Plan

So it’s been a little while since I posted a vlog about my road trip. You can watch my Road Trip: The Beginning pt 2, along with a conversation with my dear friend Robb.

Since then I’ve started driving around here, there, and everywhere, going to different places and seeing the sites! I absolutely love road trips. They’re the best way to see a country. This particular trip is from the northern tip of New Zealand to the southern tip. It’s so exciting!!

Though I’m on the road trip now, you can take a look at how I’ve mapped out my path.

Enjoy!

Road Trip: Intro pt 2 & Denver Sessions: Robb

In this episode of my blog, I get to mix two of my favorite things: friends and road trips!

These interviews have been so much fun to do! In this episode, I talk about the epic road trip across New Zealand I’m on and I discuss road trips with one of my very good friends.

Feel free to watch and enjoy! 🙂

New Zealand: Auckland Coast to Coast Trail

Here’s a fun fact: it rains a lot in New Zealand. More than I expected, that’s for sure. I’ve only been present for the winter and spring, so it makes sense. But the sunny days have been a bit sparse.

Recently, on one of the sunny days, I was able to do this trail I found on the All Trails app. Going from one side of the country to the other is no small feat! But it is a small country, so that helped a bit too. 🙂

Take a look at my most recent adventure!

 

My Favorite Travel Blunders

Traveling is super popular on social media. Right now, you can go on Pinterest, Instagram, and any other social media app and see hundreds of pictures from the perfect and ideal trips.

There are women who spent 20 minutes getting the right pose, in the right city, at the right time are a dime a dozen! Couples who take astonishing engagement photos in the with the perfect sunset. Families who take pictures of their babies while living on the road in Europe.

The pictures are all amazing and astonishing! Every single one of them! And of course, there is usually a great story about something the travelers experienced, learned, or overcame that is detailed below the picture.

It’s inspiring! I totally do the same thing.

You know what you don’t hear enough?
Travel blunder stories.

Like in real life, traveling has these silly moments that create memories that stick in the mind just as well as a perfect moment. They’re not always caught on camera. They aren’t ones that you can prepare for. And they certainly aren’t ones that you expect.

I have plenty of these blunder stories from all over the world. Some of them are funny, some of them cost me money, while others taught me a lesson.

Here is My Favorite Travel Blunders pt. 1 (because with how awkward I am, there will certainly be more)

 

Chicago, Illinois, USA 
I’ll start with a month long road trip I did in the States. Over the course of this road trip, I drove my Red MINI Cooper through 19 states and a piece of Canada. I likely covered about 2,000 miles (3200kms) during this time. I decided I was going to spend as little money as possible on housing. I would camp or sleep in parking lots.

Through most of the trip, this worked perfectly! Except in Chicago. It was one of my longer driving days and I couldn’t find any good places to end the day. Without finding any spots outside the city, I ended up driving into Chicago looking for a place to sleep.

Eventually, I found my way to a hospital parking lot. I practiced a line I would say if I was asked why I was asleep here, “My relative is having surgery and I’m just waiting until it’s done to hear the news!” That should work, right?

At 2am, a security guard came to my window and started banging to wake me up. “You can’t stay here!” He repeated it at least 3 times, before I was awake enough to understand what he was telling me. I rolled down my window just a crack and said coyly, “Can I help you?”

His response was the same as before, “You can’t stay here.”

I was ready to say my line. I’d been rehearsing for this. But before I could get out the words to say, he walked away. As soon as he finished saying his line, he turned around and got into his car. I was a little shocked by this and shouted to him, “Where should I go?”

No response.

So, heeding his words, I turned on my car, drove back to the other side of the hospital parking lot and went to sleep. Apparently, this side of the parking lot was fine, because he never came to tell me to move. However, every now and then when I sleep in my car, I have a dream that I am yet again being woken by the security guard in Chicago.

 

Dominican Republic
In the DR, I was on a service journey with Denver Community Church. As we helped erect a house in the area, we were given permission to enter this older woman’s house to use her bathroom.

I, of course, like to stay very hydrated. So, I was commonly going in to use her bathroom. Using my broken Spanish, I was able to chat with the elderly woman a bit every time I went inside.

During the second day of work, I causally walked into the house, through her room, and into the bathroom as usual. However, this time when I entered her room, I saw here there, topless next to her bed.

Whoops.

Immediately, I decided I didn’t have to use the bathroom in that moment and I walked away.

On our last day, I wanted to take a picture of myself with some contrasting colors. I was asking the locals to borrow a chair. Guess who had a plastic chair for me? Yes, sweet little old lady.

I placed the chair down and set up the camera where I wanted it. Without relooking at the chair I sat down.

Without me realizing it, the little old woman snuck behind me and sat on the chair. Therefore, I ended up sitting on her fragile little lap. I’m not sure where we got lost in translation, but I don’t think either of us were expecting the other one to be in the chair.

Not only did I see her half nude this week, but I also sat on her lap. This mission trip ended up way more kinky than I expected.

 

Paris, France 
This one I will never forget. I was with my wonderful sister, Angelita, and my darling niece, Milana.

After spending a day in Paris, we were taking a bus to the beach. It’s about a three and one half hour drive. Keeping babies entertained is a full time job. Sometimes it’s difficult on a trip because they wont just fall asleep whenever it’s convenient.

On this particular drive, my sister and I were taking turns playing with the little one who was wide awake and ready to play! Roughly an hour into the drive, my sister noticed something was starting to smell bad.

uh oh

Milana had pooped. But what was even worse was that the poop had escaped her diaper!

Yup

In an effort to entertain her, I was bouncing my darling niece on my lap. Little did I know but with each bounce, the poo seeped out. It dripped onto me. It got on her back. It splashed on my sister. It got on the chair in front of us.

It was like a war scene, poo EVERYWHERE. We were blissfully unaware of all the splattered poo now scattered throughout our area of the bus.

It was a stinky situation, but my sister couldn’t help but to laugh at the silly moment.

 

Traveling has its blunders.

Be prepared to make good stories out of them.