844 days, 20,256 hours, 1,215,360 minutes, or 72,921,600 seconds. That is the approximate duration of my world tour. I never wanted it to end and now, in a manner of speaking, I suppose it never has to. If you wish to go by country do so by clicking on one above. They are numbered in the order I visited them, more or less. If you enjoy reading about it even a tenth as much as I enjoyed living it then you will not have wasted your time. Grab a refreshing beverage, settle in a comfortable chair, and make a journey across the world, experiencing it as I did. Then get off your ass and check it out for yourself. You're not getting any younger.

“Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.”

May 25th, 2012 – And just like that, in a flash, it was time to go home. Something inside me clicked and I knew the journey was over. It was not really a decision. The journey was simply over. Even if I'd kept globetrotting for another year the odyssey would have ended right there in that cafe on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul. Continuing would no longer have been traveling, only running.

So within less than twenty four hours of purchasing a ticket I was floating over the Atlantic Ocean, homeward bound. In all I spent 2 years, 3 months, and 24 days exploring the globe. And in the blink of an eye it was finished. But it did not end there, at least not spiritually. I decided to read over and digest all that was contained within the digital pages of my online journal. Along the way I would do a little editing, a few photo adjustments, and included some of the things I just did not have time for on the road. This was my reward for setting aside all those hours dedicated to recording my experience. I could now relive all of it. And so I have.

But that too has come to its inevitable conclusion. For over a year I've mined the inner recesses of my memory for thoughts and feelings that would have been forever lost had I not captured these moments in print. But what now? I do not know. Perhaps, this will be the end of both journeys, the one that terminated over a year ago and the one I've taken since my return. Will I continue to post or is it just over? C'est la vie. Of course I do not want it to be but the decision is not really mine, is it? Just as the journey ended irrespective of my physical location so this chapter may terminate whether I continue to post on this site or not.

I may dig deep into my photo archive and attempt to reanimate experiences and memories that have long faded from my consciousness. Maybe by doing so I can somehow make amends for failing to record all those other journeys the way I've done here. Or maybe I will do nothing, letting this chapter in my life fade from the forefront, to be filed away, perhaps permanently.

This opportunity was a gift and not a day went by during or after that I did not and have not viewed it as such. I really did live a dream and what a dream it was indeed. But like every dream we all must wake......eventually. Will it ever be enough? Even if you appreciate ever single moment of your life as if it truly were your last would it be enough? Not a chance. This may sound ungrateful and redolent of greed but do not confuse existential longing with an inability to be satisfied or with the all too familiar disease of material lust. Ever wish your children would never grow up? Ever spend time with your best friends and begin to rue the day everything would change? Enjoy watching your parents grow old? Still miss the dog you had growing up? Your first job? First apartment? First love? Consider these questions carefully and ponder the implications. You will know exactly what I talking about.

I threw away a career as a lawyer and discarded a cushy job in the realm of government contract employment. If not for those decisions I would probably be divorced, own a condo, a Volvo, an HD television with stereo surround sound, an IPhone 4S, two kitty cats, a fish tank, and a partridge in a pare tree. Would I be any happier? Or even content? Nope. I would simply have more things and more money. Does that make what I did brave or stupid? That is up for debate even within the chamber of my cerebral parliament. My biggest mistake was not having a plan for my post expedition existence. I still don't. It is hard for even me not to see the folly in that. There are regrets. Par for the course in any human endeavor. We are the choices we make. There is not a single thing we do, nor a single step we take that does not have consequences. Can we live with them?

So I sit and I dream of more. Not because I deserve more. Not because I feel entitled. Not because I need more. (Perhaps, I do.) Only because 100 lifetimes would be insufficient to truly “suck out all the marrow of life.” That is the triumph and the tragedy of our existence whether we choose to face it or not. There is a moment or period in everyone's life that they truly treasure. It may be a minute or year but it does exist. And that moment, that feeling, that sense of understanding, of comprehension is a feeling like no other and trumps any drug out there. If you are lucky your moments of triumph outnumber your moments of tragedy. And if you are really lucky you have the good sense and good fortunate to appreciate that remarkable circumstance because in the blink of an eye someday it will all be over.

Sometimes you just want to live
Sometimes you just want to die
And sometimes you find yourself lost
in the chaos of spaces in between

Never black, never white
Rarely day, rarely night
Be the 'be' you want to be
To free the 'you' you want to free

I can write this till I'm blue
in the face of clear horizons
But no difference will it make
to the me I see in the stillwater lake”





**************

Society” - Eddie Vedder

Oh, it's a mystery to me

We have a greed with which we have agreed

And you think you have to want more than you need

Until you have it all you won't be free

Society, you're a crazy breed
Hope you're not lonely without me...

When you want more than you have
You think you need...
And when you think more than you want
Your thoughts begin to bleed
I think I need to find a bigger place
Because when you have more than you think
You need more space

Society, you're a crazy breed
Hope you're not lonely without me...
Society, crazy indeed
Hope you're not lonely without me...

There's those thinking, more-or-less, less is more
But if less is more, how you keeping score?
Means for every point you make, your level drops
Kinda like you're starting from the top
You can't do that...

Society, you're a crazy breed
Hope you're not lonely without me...
Society, crazy indeed
Hope you're not lonely without me...

Society, have mercy on me
Hope you're not angry if I disagree...
Society, crazy indeed
Hope you're not lonely without me...


7 comments:

  1. For what it's worth, I do not think your choice to travel more and "have less" was stupid; I think your choice was brave.

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  2. I came across your blog today, after your travels seem to have ended. I'm going through your archive and loving every post I read. I really wish I had the courage to do what you have done.
    I hope you find your way from here. Good luck for the next leg of your journey!

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    1. Glad you like the blog. Thanks for the kind words.

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  3. I just came across your blog and will read from the beginning. I can certainly relate to this article as I am an accountant who quit a job in Bermuda to travel the world on a bicycle. I came across your blog when searching for articles on the Three Passes of Nepal.

    Thanks for taking the time to record your journey, I know how difficult that can be over a long period of time.

    I look forward to reading about your experiences.

    Fred

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    1. I appreciate that Fred. It seems every once and a while someone like yourself leaves a comment and raises my spirits ever so slightly just when I need a boost. That by itself makes the whole thing worth my time.Thanks again for the comment.

      Rich

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  4. Hi Rich, I came across your site while looking for some stuff on the internet about Mauritania. Spurring my memory. I was there in Feb 2012. Drove round the whole of Africa and been "back" just less than a year. Writing a book about it to try recapture the magic or exorcise the demons, depending which way you look at it. I don't know what else to do. Go again, maybe, or just keep travelling. Really enjoyed your blog, will read more of it when I get a chance. You've really captured the essence of something I'm feeling, here. All the best.
    Mary

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  5. Hi Mary,

    Coming 'back' happens in two phases, physical and mental. I came back in May of '11 but I never really came back. Sounds like you're still out there as well. Write the book. It will be worth it even if few people read it. Make it your way of explaining who you are in a way only you know how. Worst case scenario: You repeat the whole experience your mind. In other words there is no downside. Thanks for leaving a comment. I really appreciate it.

    Rich

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'Love me or hate me, but spare me your indifference.' -- Libbie Fudim