And the photos I took along the way
(For those who aren’t in the know, I completed a years long dream of traveling around the world. I flew from Los Angeles to Denmark, rode trains from Denmark to Germany, and then flew from Germany to Japan, all in 23 days. I took over 3,500 photos and panoramas along the way)
“Are you nervous?” she asked.
“I was, and I thought that I would be up until I got through security. But really, ever since I left work last night I’ve felt fine.”
And I did feel fine, one bag in hand, as I stepped out to the curb at the Tom Bradley International Terminal and walked through the automatic doors, past the check-in stands, (Pro-tip, cause now I’m a pro, don’t ever check bags. It’s the greatest time saver you’ll ever experience on a long trip), through security in less than ten minutes (I showed up two hours early FOR TEN FUCKING MINUTES OF SECURITY?!?!), checked in a beer (one beer for each airport), boarded my super gay plane, and I was off. With the roaring of two jet engines, g-forces pushing me into my airline seat, Los Angeles International Airport and the backdrop of the city behind it rushing past at hundreds of miles per hours; my dream had become a reality.
Dreams get such a bad rap, in my opinion. They're dismissed so easily. They are considered unattainable by so many. Many other times dreams can be looked upon so enviously or jealously when the dreams are someone else's. I’m lucky. At least, I’m lucky every now and then. For instance, when I woke up one morning and said to myself, “Flying around the world would be amazing, let’s try to make this happen!”, I didn’t automatically snub myself by saying, “Not possible because of work, or money, or family, or children, or stress, blah blah blah.” I don’t have a lot of the ties that bind others. So right from fruition, this dream was, at the very least, attainable.
But that’s another thing that a lot of non-dreamers seem to have trouble comprehending. Dreaming isn’t easy. At least, I've never found it to be easy. We don’t just build up lofty dreams and goals out of thin air. There are usually sparks that have been embedded in our psyche for sometime, and a small experience or a large event can ignite that spark into a dream, a fascination with what can be, an obsession with what will happen, a love for the mental visions that fill our cranium until we're left researching, planning, saving, and lusting after that ignited dream. And even then it's not like that glorious little bit of DNA in our body that makes us dream makes any of the dreaming any easier. All of that fascination, all of that obsession, all of that love; it all takes time and concentration. Not easy, especially in a world where we're over stimulated on a day-to-day basis; when we're told over and over again that our dreams are there for us in our work life or hidden away in our credit card limit. And so each step of the dreaming process has a hurdle, each little thought is met with fear, ideas of inadequacy and trepidation. It can be the hardest thing for someone to ignite a dream, and then bring it to fruition.
All that I needed for my dream. Now, "Let's do this."
The Futility of Communicating Dreams
If you're on my list of friends on Facebook, then you've already experienced a good chunk of my 23 day trip. My apologies for the duplicate photos. You have my permission to skip this blog post entirely. As I've stated before, I try to keep things fresh in these posts. But this trip was a bit different in that I wanted to tell a story, mainly through Facebook, about my trip through the photos that I'd taken. I didn't get hung up so much on which photo was a better angle or had a nicer framing, and tried to pay more attention to how the photos expressed the thoughts and feelings I was experiencing where and when I took the photo. I’ve vacillated between a few iterations of this post. Eventually I decided that I couldn’t really narrate the trip properly here on my own blog. I feel like my initial plan was for the story to be told through the photos that I took while I was traveling, and that was a viable idea when a conversation was able to be had through the comments of Facebook. This page wouldn't be able to keep up with that, so I figured instead to create a bit of a hybrid.
I’ve decided upon this format; a mix of small descriptions of where I was when the photos were taken and small libraries of the photos themselves for you to enjoy. And if this doesn’t do a well enough job of conveying the wide range of emotions that overwhelmed me while I was flying and hiking and backpacking around the northern hemisphere, then instead of reading and viewing this and being all judgemental, I’d advise that you look into buying your own damn airplane tickets, maybe a nice backpack, and do a little dreaming of your own, Judgy McJudgypants.
Around the World in 23 Days
The flight back to Los Angeles was quiet and uneventful. I had first dreamt up this trip to be a flight around the world. From LA, to Europe, to Asia, back to LA. Here I was, completing that dream, staring out of the airplane window at the city that I call my home, and listening to the girl next to me freak out about how her iPhone was dead but she needed to call her father once they were on the ground. "Welcome back.", I thought to myself.
To say that I circumnavigated the world (even if I did later realize that it was just across the northern hemisphere. No small feat, thank you very much) is something I had thought would be a high point of my trip. A badge of honor I could display proudly in the pages of my life's accomplishments. But it turned out that Shepherd Book, per usual, is a very wise man.
Kaylee: How come you don't care where you're going?
Shepherd Book: 'Cause how you get there is the worthier part.
Without any thought, my trip had immediately turned into not "getting around the world", but more about "how I got there". It was an amazing trip, filled with long-lost friends and new ones to boot. Picturesque views of city and mountain, sky and ocean. Bullet trains and ferries, bikes and hikes. There was brewery after brewery after brewery after brewery after brewery after brewery after brewery and every single location I was in offered amazing food. I never coasted through any part of my trip as though I was just sight-seeing and taking tourist photos, and I still look back fondly and know that I absorbed the culture of the countries I visited. I was able to learn and love the new locations I visited and hopefully respect and honor the cultures that graciously allowed me to do so. To quote myself. . .
I can't express through words the love and affection I feel towards the friends I saw, met, and made along my 23 day trip. I've found it hard to describe my feelings about the people and places I visited, although I'm sure most of the people I've spoken to about the trip will gladly tell you that I tried.
Hopefully these photos properly conveyed the wonder, happiness, empathy, and other strong emotions I felt across my journey. Hopefully these photos will help everyone feel a bit of what I experienced and inspire some to go on their own adventures.
To immediately contradict myself, I'm going to give my shout out for this post to the friends I saw, met, and made along my 23 day trip. I've tried to think of a way that really conveys how appreciative I am of all of the people who I met along my travels, but nothing has really seemed to bear the weight of how important and meaningful it was to see each and every one of you. Whether I was being allowed to crash on a couch, or getting to know you as an AirBnB host, or meeting you on a train through Berlin, or listening to prog metal and discussing barrel aged beers in Tokyo, yelling, "Skål" in Denmark or, "Prost!" in Hamburg, or meeting new family members in Tochigi, riding bikes after maybe a few beers in Copenhagen, or one after the other of amazing people I've seen and met in much to short of a time.
This couldn't have happened without you
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you so much
You made the trip what it was
It couldn't have happened without you
If you ever need a place to stay or a tour guide through Southern California, I'm your guy