In 2016 I headed off overseas by myself to get some much-needed time out and fresh perspective.
It’s too easy to go along in life doing the same old and before you know it, you can sometimes pop your head up and realise that you’re stuck in a rut.
In my case though, I’d been through a number of massive life changes in the preceding three years. I’d spent a fair bit of time processing it all with close family and friends, and some professional helpers. But then, in 2016, I just felt I needed to get away.
I was also pursuing the theme of living “A Life That Matters” and, to me, this trip was part of that because I love travel and experiencing new people and places.
I figured that I’d need to do it solo in order to have maximum free reign. That turned out to be a great idea for me.
So, Where’d I Go?
I chose where to go by considering three things:
- I wanted to visit Poland, the country of my forefathers. They were forced out of their country around 1939 and became refugee children. I wanted to go to Poland to experience it first-hand and find out about my backstory.
- I wanted to visit two girls I’ve been sponsoring for about 10 years or so. Both of them live in India, a country I’d been to twice before. But they lived down South and I wanted to go visit them and meet their teachers and families.
- I wanted to go to some places that just piqued my interest – namely Amsterdam, Scandinavia, Budapest and Istanbul.
What Did I Experience?
A lot of things, really.
Here’s a partial list:
- The honour of meeting inspiring people who are living a life that matters.
- The joy of trying new foods (Istanbul was my favourite).
- Nearly getting robbed of my main bag in Denmark – I spotted the guys and prevented them from doing so.
- Meeting my second cousins Malgosia, Jan and Kasia for the first time.
- Being stunned into disbelief at Auschwitz and Birkenau.
- Marvelling at the beauty of Sweden, Poland and Budapest.
- The simple joy of a cold beer and good food sitting by the Blue Danube after a hot day.
- Meeting fellow travellers and sharing stories of life on the road.
- Missing the Istanbul Airport terrorist bombing by a few days – 44 people died where I had been.
- Meeting Darborah and Raechel in India for the first time.
My Video Diaries
I took a bit of gear so I could spend time writing, reflecting, videoing and interviewing people. I decided to make short, organic video diaries of each country I went to. Mostly for friends and family. But I was surprised at how many others found them interesting and inspiring.
For the record, although I had a Canon DSLR, tripod and digital audio recorder for the main interviews, the video diaries were all shot on my iPhone 6.
In my opinion, the first two are not so interesting, but then I ramped it up a lot! My favourites are Poland, Istanbul and India.
Here they are in order:
If you’d like to ask me anything about before, during or after this trip – it could be about the gear I took, how I packed light, currency, where to visit, how to video, safety issues, AirBnB and so on – send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll respond.