Before I left the US, people frequently asked me if there was anything that scared me about my trip. To most people, the idea of leaving their entire life behind to backpack around the world is terrifying in and of itself, but they wanted to know what frightened me since I obviously did not share their same concern. I never had a particularly good answer for them, but there was one strange fear that would always come to mind whenever I was posed the question - being lost in a foreign train station
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When knowledge of my year-long trip across the world became public many people though I was crazy for seriously considering making the jump from NYC consultant to traveling hobo. Voyages like the one I was planning are merely idealistic goals Americans only dream about, but never actually do – what idiot would actually crazy enough to leave their entire life behind to travel? I repeatedly questioned my own sensibility long before departing, but since then I've realized my travel plans are peanuts compared to some of the remarkable stories and ambitious escapades of my fellow backpackers out there. One such traveler, conveniently named Andrew as well, will forever serve as a reminder to push myself to travel off the beaten path.
Since this blog’s inception, I've made it a point to write every entry from my perspective at the time when the events/adventures occurred. Even though these entries are now many, many months behind their respective dates, I always try to stay true to the moment even it means stating things I know do not occur in the future. Initially, this long turnaround rate was a severe thorn in my side, but I’ve come to appreciate the delay in publishing my stories to the public domain as it gives me the chance to personally relive the tales as well edit for content or length. Now that I’ve finally reached my trip to Dublin though, I find myself in a bit of a quandary and feel it necessary to break from tradition.
If you’ve followed my blog even haphazardly over the last few months, you know that I spent a semester abroad in college in Milan, Italy on exchange at Bocconi University. I’ve made reference to this six-month period of my life more times than I can count and will continue to do so for one very important reason - it was the first time I ever stepped foot outside the US. It was a monumental moment in my life, and my experiences during that semester still influence my decisions and outlook in life to this day. In fact, one of underlying reasons why I left my life in NYC to travel the world is directly linked to my time in Milan all those years ago.
This day and age people tend to put a great deal of emphasis on their 25th birthday. On this momentous occasion, us so-called ‘millennials’ take a moment to reflect on our lives and - based on the countless Facebook postings I’ve seen - go through a complete mental breakdown. They realize they are in a terrible job, working all the time, have no relationships on the horizon, can’t seem to get their life together, and the pressure is compounded by the looming “tick-tock” of youth slowly slipping through their fingers.
Today I sit overlooking the Bosphorus Strait from a rooftop patio in Istanbul. I arrived over three weeks ago and this is literally the fifth day of sunshine I’ve encountered. The preceding days were cloudy, rainy, and cold with only a handful of moments where the sun managed to break through the thick blanket of ominous clouds. The weather isn't quite what I was hoping for, but then again, it is the beginning of December. All things considered, I can't really complain since I’m sitting outside in shorts, flip-flops, and t-shirt. As surprising as the weather may be, today marks a far more important milestone - the sixth month anniversary of my departure from the US.