The Next Step In A Life

I have a confession to make. I’ve been hiding it from my readers for a week now and it’s weighing heavy me. It feels like a dirty little secret. What could this be? Well, let’s just say I’m no longer in Asia. Okay, I’m actually not even traveling anymore. There, I said it. A metaphorical weight off my chest. I’m home in California, literally sitting in my childhood room at my parents house. After 9 months of country hoping and globe trotting, I decided it was time, so keeping with my blogs theme, I bought a one way ticket home.

Why did I do this? Don’t I love traveling to no end? Didn’t I want to keep the adventure going forever? Well, its complicated but I after much contemplation, I decided that it was time to head out Californi’ way for a number of reasons.

The money would eventually run out and eventually, I would need some sort of income. The blog brings in some money, but not enough to live off of. What about getting a job on the road? Lots of travelers do that. But most of the jobs are bartenders or hostel desk workers and whenever I thought about a job like that, it didn’t make sense in my mind. Sure, it’d be fun, but you get paid next to nothing. Actually, usually you just get free board. In some situations, that’s significant, but when a dorm bed costs $3, you’re not getting paid a decent wage for your time. I could make in a few days back home, what would take a month here. Why not get paid a good wage when I’m actually working. Seems like a lot more valuable use of my time.

Big Sur Hike

Big Sur, California aka Home

Another option would be to freelance, but that may be easier said than done. Telling people I’m a web developer, I get a lot of comments on how its a great job for location independence and I totally agree. But having said that, I fully admit that I have tons still to learn and getting that started while simultaneously traveling makes the task seem even more daunting. Establishing something beforehand would definitely seem like a more logical way to go about that. Something I obviously didn’t do.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I don’t really want a job while I’m on the road. It’s a distraction. The blog with all the writing, photo editing and website improvements has been awesome, but its also been a lot of work and is enough for me. I don’t want actual work on top of that. Traveling is at its finest when you have no alarm clock, no distractions and nowhere to be. You wake up and decide your plans while you brush your teeth. I decided I didn’t want to mix the two.

Way back I said that I wanted to “go until I’m ready to come home” and in the process of weighing all my options I realized that I was ready. Traveling is a full time gig and as amazing as it is, its also exhausting. I remedied this occasionally by staying up in one place for a week or more and that actually went a long way. Any long term traveler can attest to that. But staying in one place temporarily doesn’t remedy the continuous flow of goodbyes to all your new friends. A good story is better told over a beer, not the phone or an email and I have too many amazing friends that I was neglecting.

Am I done traveling? Absolutely not. I love it way too much. I don’t think I’ll ever stop traveling completely, but after my last stop in Japan, somewhere I’ve wanted to go forever (awesome story alert), it was time. I was ready.

Don’t worry, the blog will continue. I am so ridiculously behind on stories and photos that by the time I catch up, I’ll be boarding an airplane for…

Homework Assignment: Go listen to Simon and Garfunkel – Homeward Bound

16 thoughts on “The Next Step In A Life

  1. What a shame, Phil! I never comment on here (okay, once!), but I have been following you for a while now and I really enjoyed your Asia stories. But of course, all good things must come to an end. I think going home was a brave decision, I know some people in the same situation who felt like they had something to prove, who saw it as failure and they didn’t have the courage to admit to themselves that they were just done for now. So good on you! Good luck and I hope to read many more travel stories in the future 🙂

    • Thanks Michelle, it was a very tough decision, but ultimately the right one for me. I was sort of at a loss in regards to the blog should my trip end, but its been a valuable part of my journey, something I’ve enjoyed immensely and, maybe most of all, inspiration for others. As you say, I’m “done for now,” but still excited about the future, wherever I may end up.

  2. Welcome home PJ.

    What was the first thing you did when you got back?

    I’ve been out in DC for the past year and a half.

    I miss the chili verde and of course the pho in Gilroy.

    Kayaking is still my passion and I just finished building a skin on frame yak.

    I too will head home eventually. I hope to have a bowl of pho with you, your dad and Miguel again.


    • Mike!

      The first thing I did was eat Mexican food and go out with some of my best friends that I had dearly missed. Obviously, I’m going to stop in Gilroy for some pho and I hope one day we can all share a bowl together again.

      Great to hear from you and take care in DC. Email me a pic of your Kayak!

  3. Hi Phil, I haven’t been following your travels lately so I decided to catch up today. I was initially surprised to hear you returned home but it makes so much sense for someone your age. The rest of the world will be here when you’re ready to continue, you’ll know when it’s time. Just one small favor, put the Philippines on your itinerary the next time so I can read your impressions of my adopted homeland. Looking forward to that. Thanks for all the great articles and photos.
    All the best,

    • Hey Mike, I think it was the right decision at the right time and I’m happy I made it. What I’m not happy about is missing out on the Philippines! Seems crazy that that’s the country I missed when I also heard it was the most beautiful of them all. I guess I’ll just have to return at some point to see for myself.

  4. Hi Phil, your post just made me think…think hard about how I really want to travel…I recently went home after a month in 4 countries and I feel the need to travel more. But I also understand the need to work to travel more…I don’t know what else to say but this post somehow gave me something to think about…this is it for now.

    • It’s tough. I definitely understand your dilemma. I guess all I can say is really think about what you truly want and head that direction.

  5. I totally understand. Your comment about not wanting work to interfere with travel really resonated. I return to Sydney in January after a year away, but I plan on staying for just 6 weeks. Then I think it’s Arizona and Utah for a few months.
    Anyway, I am adding my voice to that of the others who say (rightly) that your blog is a great read and useful – a rare combo. So I hope you find a way to scratch the travel itch again soon.
    It may not be to your taste, but since you seem to like indulging in regions, why not try the traditional Islamic world (relatively compact; somewhat challenging; certainly rewarding)…
    Whatever, I hope you have fun.

  6. At some point, I realized that trying to mix travel and work would be a delicate balance. You can have too much of either really, so its tough.

    The Islamic world is definitely intriguing and something I’ll be looking into when (not if) I take off on another trip.

  7. It’s a personal decision to go where the heart says to go – and being from Palo Alto California, I dearly love Big Sur and the mind-altering beauty of the beaches and mountains in Northern California.

    I’m on the road 100% of the time, on my way to Burma in two days, but lately have thought it would be cool to do a camping road trip all thru the USA – and do it in a leisurely style like I do my worldwide wandering. Excited to do it.

    I’ll see you down the road, Phil. Maybe in the USA or another country, kiss California for me!
    Thanks for your great blog and all the good tips on Burma.

    • Thanks Mary. California gives me a warm hug every morning haha. I’m with you in wanting to explore the west coast more. Really spend some time and truly see it. I’ll check out the blog. Take care!

  8. hooray for coming home-ness when time is ready! I’ve also been a traveler. but sometimes, you’re just ready to come back and take the next step in life; kudos on knowing when to do that. Your blog is super fun, and it seems like you’ve had an awesome trip. I’m curious to hear about your Japan adventures (where I used to live:). I’m sure you’ll be posting new, good things, and a refreshed sense will help you start to know more about what it is you want to do next.

    • Thanks. At the time I was wavering on whether or not to go home, but once I got back I realized that it was the definitely the right decision and I’m glad I was able to recognize that. Hopefully, more posts are on the way. It’s hard writing a travel blog when you’re not traveling anymore!

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