This article was written by my father for my blog. This mindset has set my own travel lifestyle, so I am honored to have it as a guest piece!
I am approximately three and a half months away from my Alaska to South America bicycle trip. This adventure has been a long time coming. Recently I have been looking back on my life path that has led me here. As a father I have tried to pass on pearls of wisdom to my daughter. They are different than “don’t make my mistakes” lecture or “do it my way” type of thing. It is something that I call “have a vision” for your life. My vision has changed over the years to lead me to this outcome. Of course life has many paths that can be followed, but the end vision will guide you in making chooses leading to the desired destination.
I’m not talking goals, even though they are related. I believe with a vision you will instinctively take the path that leads there. For example you might have a vision to one day have a family with a secure environment. Steps along the way could include job training for a career, buying a house, saving for college educations. A vision will make you automatically make decisions seeking out these things. You won’t even realize that you made a chose it was just the thing to do. A vision to acquire a possession is not valid as they are much larger. Wanting to own a smartphone is not a vision! I could argue that buying an expensive smartphone hinders a vision. Possessions clutter life and show one’s unclear vision.
So how does the “vision” talk relate to a post in a travel blog? My thoughts on career and life in general changed dramatically at 34 while sitting on a beach in Thailand. “Why can’t I be here 6 months out of the year?” The vision was taking shape. My vision was to be sufficiently secure to travel 6 months out of the year.
The Past Helps With Your Future
Having divorced two years earlier, I had been struggling going through the motions; go to work, pick up daughter from school, 2 week vacation, start over. After my vision was discovered everything changed. I had a destination to head for, but I had no idea my path. Over the years, I made decisions that helped me along the way, of course in hindsight, I could have made better ones. In general everything moved along toward the vision.
Visions can be refined. My original one was to sit on a beach 6 months out of the year. A co-worker at the time backpacked South America and Asia for 5 years after university. He filled me with great stories. I had no idea people did that! What was a hostel? My vision changed, travel now included slowly moving through countries at the ground level. I wanted to stay in budget lodgings meeting interesting people, locals and travelers from all over the world indefinitely.
Over the years I worked toward the travel vision. I have saved money, skipped buying new cars and possessions. Used wisely, money will last a lot longer than our culture leads us to believe. I have not missed anything in life. I think my friends would say that I do pretty well. Everything has been done for the vision. I have enjoyed the path.
My travels have expanded over the years from the two week vacation to month long road trips. My daughter and I have traveled the United States and Canada via a VW Bus logging 40,000 miles in the process. I currently need only North Dakota to complete visiting all 50 states, 48 by driving. Yes, it is possible to drive to Alaska! We backpacked 6 months in South America and Europe. We rode bicycles across the US for 3 months covering 4400 miles. Last year (2017), I rode from Canada to the Mexico Border with side trips covering 4000 miles. I’m ready to start the final vision.
I always had commitments at home that kept me from travelling months at a time. The commitments are now minimized, June is the date for the big start. I’m not sure when or how the idea of travelling this route came about to be honest. I remember talking about it at length starting 15 years ago, but the mode of transportation has certainly changed; backpacking, car, VW Bus and now bicycle. Currently, I’m planning on being gone for 2 years encompassing 20,000 miles.
I’m a healthy 55 year guy that tries to stay active. My past two bike trips have shown me to keep plugging along and eventually I will get there. I think that is how I would describe my life, plodding along the path. I’m close to the start of my vision which has been fun along the way. I can’t imagine what it will be like living it!
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