“Running an adventure travel blog means that I often find myself in less than ideal circumstances, random encounters, and sticky situations.”
I’ll admit, sometimes I get nervous, have minor freak outs, and get scared, (the secret to success is to carry many pairs of fresh underwear), but as I emerge, uncut and stronger, those moments become the most rewarding stories, memories, and experiences I’ve had while backpacking around the world.
Personal change occurs when push comes to shove…and one chooses to push back. Your view of yourself and life improves when you fight through these moments.
This varies for people. For some, the simple act of stepping on a plane and going somewhere new can be terrifying, for others, the terrifying moment might be jumping out of a plane. For me, it is being in the middle of the ocean with waves crashing on my face.
This week I thought I would recap some of those travel moments that have made me wet my pants while they were happening, but in the end changed my life and made me into the adventurer I am today. This backpacking trip fuel my thirst for travel and adventure.
Standing Face to Face With a Grizzly Bear in Alaska
Years ago, fueled by a Christopher Mccandless obsession, I went on an 8 week road trip with one of my best friends. The trip climaxed by spending two weeks in the wilderness of Alaska. One frosty morning, under the shadow of Mt Mckinley I decided to have myself a delicious chocolate bar.
Breakfasts of champions right?
My timing was impeccable because at that very moment a grizzly bear strayed into our camp
. Thank you, lady luck!
Chills slid down my spine; I was frozen by fear. I quickly hid the chocolate bar I had been munching. The bear approached cautiously. My body screamed, “Run”. My mind whispered, “Don’t run. The bear will run you down and start snacking on your chocolate infused body”. The bear dawdled until it was less than ten feet away.
Then the strangest things happened. The bear, my friend, and I had a moment where we all looked at one another. At that moment, fear was running rampant through every fiber of my being, but then the bear quietly put down his head and walked away.
This is by far one of the scariest m of moments of my life. When a tremendous bear is approaching you, you are paralyzed, and your thoughts are muffled. This taught me when sheer panic sets in, I can still control my emotions and thoughts, even though the situation was completely in the bear’s hands. Read the full story here.
Running of the Bulls
Dodging both sober and slightly drunk people while hearing the hoofs of twelve charging, insanely massive, and pissed off bulls chasing you uphill, is an adrenaline rush that is hard to beat. The Running of the Bulls had been on my list for years.
However when I arrived, the weight of what I was about to do hit me, and caused me to waver. I knew I would regret it and so reluctantly I forced myself into the crowd as I waited the starting canon. The canon shattered the eerie stillness and I ran faster than I have ever run before. Bulls surrounded me as I ducked and darted the crowds before making it into the arena.
That feeling of freedom and accomplishment and standing up and conquering the biggest item on my bucket list showed me that facing your fear is rewarding and spurs personal growth. I loved running with the bulls, and I hope to do it again in the next couple years.
This moment is when I started to take my website serious and choose to try to make one of the best adventure travel blogs, and help other people with travel tips.
The Mongol Rally
This wild, random, and crazy road trip from London to Mongolia lasted for 52 days. In that time, I faced some of the most petrifying, exciting, and deep moments of my life. However, the Mongol rally had its share of “I’m not sure if we are going to get out alive moments”.
A few of these included the time we had a minor argument with a gas station clerk. This finally ended with all the locals parking their cars at the exit so we couldn’t leave. When we finally convince them to let us pass, they tailed us for an hour.
Also whether you smoke or not, when you are on your way to the police station in the back of a Russian cop car, and they offer you a smoke, you know the correct answer is yes.
There were countless times we had to push start the car in the middle of nowhere, fingers crossed that the starter wasn’t going to give out. Through all its wild and whacky moments, the rally is a deeply personal and life changing experience. You quickly find out how strong you are, what you can handle, and what you can’t.
Backpacking in Rome
My first solo trip started in Rome. I had no plans and nothing booked. All I carried was my backpack and expectations. There was only one problem. It was the first plane ride where I could legally consume booze. Let’s just say that the excitement for my first solo trip combined with unlimited wine and beer on the flight, led me to overdoing it just a wee bit. By the time I stumbled out of the terminal, I was ripping roaring drunk.
I gathered my bags, slung the weight on my back, and stumbled to the nearest ATM. I had not been in Rome for even 10 minutes when I encountered my first problem. My ATM card was not working. Immediately panic set in as I felt the gravity of my situation. I quickly exchanged some cash, bought a phone card, and called my bank.
They told me that yes my card did work and that I had withdrawn 200 Euros. I insisted that I did not, but they would not listen. The fact that I was obviously drunk might have played a factor. So there I was, penniless and drunk, sitting in an airport coffee shop in a new world which I had no idea how to navigate and positive that my first day solo backpacking was going to end with me being mugged in a park at 2 a.m.
Rome now seemed like a massive mistake. Out of nowhere, an old Italian lady came up to me. She had a guide book and told me she was waiting to pick up a group of American students.
“You look awful”, she said. “Yea, things aren’t really going how I expected”, I stammered as I clarified the situation.
“That settles it”, she said as she pulled out her guide book, looked up a hostel, and made me a reservation. She then gave me 20 Euros, a few directions, and put me on the train. That was an amazing experience and set the tone not only for the rest of the summer in Europe, but also the rest of my future travels.
It taught me a fact that I still believe with my whole heart today. Wherever you are in the world, whatever you are doing, 99% of people out there want to help you. They are proud of their countries and want you to have a hell of a time exploring it. It is a life changing way to view the world.
These are a few of the many adventures that have affected the course of my life forever. I wouldn’t trade all these fears, experiences, and adventures for money. Travel is about self exploration and getting out of your comfort zone while learning about other cultures, people and places.
While I might not make much money running an adventure travel blog it is worth it. In the end, the only currency I am interested in is the currency of moments.