The Why

I'm not really an existential sort of guy. A couple folks at work have joked that I'm going on the road to "find myself",[1] whatever that means. I've put very little thought into the "why" of this trip, almost no thought really, so here's me, putting in a little thought. In the grand scheme of things, it didn't take me long to decide that I wanted to go on this crazy trip. This thing, that deviates so dramatically from the decorum of the American dream, took me all of a couple weeks to decide upon. In 2006, I spent a week or two intently reading "The Global Trip" (sorry, seems to load slowly), a blog with extensive details on the day to day of a guy who did a similar trip. I mentioned it to Jordan at the time, she thought it was... interesting. After another week of reading I began to think that this is something I might actually want to do, I told Jordan. It went something like this:

Daniel: I think this is something I want to actually do.

Jordan: <Unenthusiastically> Alright.

Daniel: No, really, I'm pretty sure I want to do this.

Jordan: Ok...

Daniel: Seriously, I don't think we can get married if this isn't something you want to do.

Jordan: <Crying>

Keep in mind we're both about 21 and in our third year of college at this time. We had discussed marriage, it seemed to be where we were heading, we'd lived through 2.5 years of the hell that is a long distance relationship, we had known each other about 7 years at this point and I dropped this on her. Until that point I must have seemed at least reasonably sane.

I left it alone and only mentioned it again after about a year, saying it was something I was still interested in pursuing. Having given her ample time to actually process the information (apparently the generous 15 minutes I allowed previously wasn't sufficient), Jordan was much more amenable to the idea this time around. She began reading "The Global Trip" and just about any others she could find on the topic. We discussed timing, goals, even the budget that we've used as a goal to this day. The trip was born.

After all that, over 5 years of planning, waiting, working and this is all I can muster to answer "Why?": Because it's there.

That's it.

There's this whole world out there with so MUCH. All these cultures with different traditions and interests, thousands of artifacts from human history, with mountains and deserts, penguins and monkeys, and amazing foods. I've experienced such a small fraction of what the world has to offer. In 27 years I've spent 99.4% inside a 160,000 square km chunk of land primarily comprised of Zanesville, OH, Rochester, NY, and Chicago, IL. That's roughly .03% of the Earth's surface. (Note: Percentages in this paragraph exhibit false precision)

Think of all the cool things that exist outside that little bubble.

If I were to have any kind of altruistic goal with our trip, it would be to spread that curiosity, that desire to know and understand the world we live in a bit more. If I could show just one person that they should deviate from the accepted path and see more of the world, I'd be elated.

But mostly, I want to see cool shit.

[1] I've used and will continue to use logical punctuation, deal with it.