There wasn’t much of a celebration upon reaching this milestone. In fact, I didn’t even know that I had reached 5000 days when September 4th came around. I was with my Wandering Earl “Wander Across Romania & Moldova” tour group at the time and we were in the city of Chisinau, the capital of Moldova. We spent most of that day walking around town before eating a late lunch. We did happen to finish off that lunch with several rounds of vodka and we also happened to continue drinking vodka back at our hotel later that evening, however, the vodka had nothing to do with any celebration for being on the road for 5000 days. We were simply in a part of the world that drinks vodka and so, naturally, we wanted to participate in this activity as well.
It wasn’t until a week later that I received the first congratulatory email from a reader of the blog. “Congratulations on 5000 days!” is exactly what it said. A few days later, in came another email, and then another, followed by a couple of messages on my Facebook page…and that’s when I finally took a moment to acknowledge the situation.
Yes, since December 25th, 1999, I have now been traveling, living, working and volunteering around the world for over 5000 days. Never thought it would happen, never even had this as a goal, never imagined that such a ridiculous thing was even possible, or an option, for a regular guy from a regular family who grew up in a regular town.
Apparently, it is possible. It’s certainly not as easy to achieve as many others like to claim (as in snap your fingers and voila!), but it absolutely is possible without a doubt.
At the same time, I must say that this lifestyle is not for everyone. While 5000 days on the road might seem like a dream come true, a dream that you would love to achieve yourself, a life of constant travel does not always match people’s expectations. It’s a far, far stranger and more challenging existence than most imagine to just pick up and go and go and go and go…
And that’s why it’s important to realize that the length of time a person travels really doesn’t matter. It’s the actual travel experiences – the interactions, the education, the life-changing moments – that count, regardless of whether you are on the road for 5, 500, 5000, or even more, days.
Like I’ve said before, I certainly had no idea my 3-month trip to Southeast Asia was going to turn into 14 years and counting, and at this very moment, I have no idea if my trip is going to involve 14 more years, or maybe only 14 more days. Who knows? But even if my travels had ended after one month or one year, or if they end tomorrow, I’d be fully satisfied with my journey because my focus has always been on the experiences, not on trying to travel for as long as I possibly could.
So, the point of this post is that, while 5000 sounds like a nice big number, it’s really no big deal. It just happens to be how my life has unfolded. And while I certainly do very much appreciate the congratulations and kind messages I’ve received this month, I would also like to offer my genuine congratulations to every single one of you who has taken that first step already, to all of you who have traveled, who are currently traveling and who will be traveling soon, whether it be for 1 week, 1 month or more than 1 year.
Your own stories are what inspire others. Your own stories help us realize that our goals in life are achievable. Your own stories show that once the adventure begins, the effort and determination required to reach that point was, without a doubt, completely worth it.
Once again, CONGRATULATIONS to all of you travelers and soon-to-be travelers! We should all be celebrating together!
Are you traveling right now? How’s it going out there? Will you be traveling soon? Where are you going? Have you traveled before? What kind of experiences did you have?