For those of us in the United States September 11th has a fairly profound meaning, for me it also marks the date I started my year of unemployment (in 2016). I kept finding excuse after excuse of why I couldn’t or shouldn’t quit my job and take some time off, but finally after my failed attempt on the Colorado 14ers in 2016 I realized…there would never be a perfect time or situation, and sometimes you just need to take a leap into the deep end and see what the life takes you. Leaving a job where I enjoyed the work and the people was hard, but it was time for a change, and there was simply too much of the world out there which I had not experienced and explored.
It’s impossible to fully summarize everything that’s happened to me, all the people I’ve met or everything that I’ve experienced, but I can say that it’s far exceeded any expectations I could even have dreamed of. I’ve wandered the 1000year old temples of Angkor, swam with bioluminescent plankton, glimpsed the Milky Way shining above an 8000m peak (and watched an avalanche rage down it), climbed to 5416m altitude and was mistaken dozens of times for a Nepalese guide, volunteered in a Nepalese school, watched sunrise/sunsets from the temples of Bagan, was invited to dinner (3x) by Burmese people with whom I shared no common language, watched lava flow into the ocean, had all my identity/credit cards/cell phone stolen, spent six weeks running around Patagonia, got to live and work in Torres del Paine with the rangers and build trails, wandered the Atacama desert, played Tejo (look it up, its awesome), ran around the slot canyons, redwoods, Glaicer NP and Canada, watched a total solar eclipse (unreal) and visited many old friends and made countless new friends.
There are so many clichés that are applicable; YOLO, carpe diem, wanderlust, and on and on…I would not have traded this year off for anything, and hope that many of you out there have the chance to experience even a little piece of the journey I was so fortunate to have been on. Just remember, if you’re waiting for the perfect opportunity, it may never come, but if you put yourself out there into the unknown I highly doubt you’ll regret it. And for those asking, yes I’m back looking for jobs in the Boulder, CO area so if you know any immunology/cell biology labs hiring, hit me up. I’ll let the following collection of some of my favorite photos from the travels tell the rest of the story…and yes it was even more amazing than the photos.