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I am writing this in a hostel in London. My feet are sore, my back hurts and I still want to sleep after having slept for 10 hours. I’ve just finished the big World Travel Market show in London and I’m exhausted.
I’ve been to 35 countries and territories this year already. That includes a 12,000 mile road trip this summer which took almost 3 months. Last year I visited 44 countries.
I’ve now been traveling for 2,793 consecutive days. Over the last 7.5 years I’ve been to 175 countries and territories. Not only do I travel more than most people, I travel more than any other blogger or travel writer that I know of.
That isn’t a complaint. I’ve seen and done more during that time than many people do in their life. I’ve swam with sharks, bungee jumped and have had the pleasure to have taken amazing photos from all 7 continents. The decision to travel full time is probably the best decision I’ve ever made.
However, it hasn’t come without a cost.
I’ve reached a point where spending more than 2 nights under the same roof is something of a luxury. My health is suffering from the constant time zone changes, lack of sleep, and a diet consisting of mostly of junk food. I haven’t been to a dentist or doctor in years.
My personal life is almost non-existent. I’ve lost touch with most of my pre-travel friends. I haven’t been on anything resembling a date in over a decade.
I constantly pass on business opportunities and fail to execute on projects because my travel schedule gets in the way. I have an agent who has been waiting on a book proposal for over 4 years. The list of projects I’d like to start keeps getting longer, yet nothing ever gets started because I’m constantly moving. I have over two dozen unpublished blog posts sitting in WordPress that I’ve never bothered to publish.
I’ve talked about slowing down in the past, but I’ve never been able to do it. In fact, it has become a running joke amongst people I know because I’ve been saying this for years, but I keep on plowing ahead. I’ve compared my situation to that of an alcoholic at an open bar: I have countless opportunities to travel and visit new places, and it is very difficult for me to say ‘no’.
My current pace of travel is simply not sustainable and I’ve known that for a while now. I’ve been planning to slow down but it just never seems to happen.
This time, however, I’ve drawn a line in the sand.
The last few months I’ve been completing trips that I had already planned but I’ve made it a point to plan nothing after World Travel Market in London, which ends on Thursday. I’ve said no or been non-committal to everything and just haven’t pursued any travel opportunities in 2015. The last thing I’ve made plans for was at World Travel Market, and now that is done.
Outside of going to Haiti in February with G Adventures I have no future trips planned after today. Nothing.
My plan is to go to Girona, Spain after London and stay there for 2 months. I’ll be exploring the region, but I’ll be staying put and getting some work done. Here are some my goals I’d like to get started on or achieve during my hiatus.
- My primary goal is to get my book proposal done. Once it is done we can take it around to publishers in January in New York. The benefits of letting the book stew in my head for so long is that I now have a very clear idea for what I way to say and I think it is something which there is a great deal of need for in the marketplace. I also have a much larger audience than I did 4 years ago and many more contancts to really put together a powerful maketing plan for it.
- I have a podcast I’ve been wanting to do for years, but I’ve never been able to get it off the ground because of my schedule. It isn’t going to be your typical travel podcast. In fact, in many respects, it won’t even be about travel. (By the way, if you know anyone who is interested in being a producer for the podcast, let me know!)
- I have over 10,000 photos on my laptop which I still have to process. Many of them were taken in early 2013. I have enough unpublished photos to keep everyone entertained for several years.
- I’m going to get my diet in order and try to develop some semblance of a routine. Since I’ve started traveling I’ve gained 30 pounds (13.6kg) primarily due to the horrible diet I have from eating in airports, gas stations and hotels. I’d like to get rid of all the travel weight I’ve gained and then some.
- I’ve let my email newsletter stagnate. I’m compiling a brand new, bigger photography ebook for everyone to download and I hope to get newsletter up and running again in 2015.
- Write more. I’ve become very reliant on my photography. Almost too much. I have hundreds of stories I’ve never written about and almost 2 dozen unpublished blog posts that I just haven’t finished. You’ll be hearing more from me over the next few months, not less.
- This website hasn’t been updated in 5 years. It’s clunky and in desperate need of an update which I hope to get done.
Other than the Haiti trip, I have some conferences I’ll be attending in Q1 2015, but no major trips planned until next summer at the earliest.
Just so I’m perfectly clear, I am not going to stop traveling and I’m not going to ‘settle down’, which is something I’m constantly asked by people. This isn’t a retirement announcement. (I mean, how exactly do you retire from traveling??)
What I will do is figure out how to balance travel and life, which is something I haven’t been doing the last few years. It may result in my getting an apartment somewhere, eventually.
I will be visiting fewer places per year going forward, but I hope to do a better job covering them and providing all of you with great the photography and information you expect and deserve.