itting at the airport in Rome, Italy waiting for my connecting flight, I pulled out my phone and started aimlessly browsing through the apps to kill time. As I was going through my phone’s gallery, reminiscing the trip that just had been, I realized something and said to myself, “Hold on a second, there’s a story behind each one of these pics – of the joy upon seeing a place I had only seen in pictures until then, of the fear I felt just before jumping off a rock, of the last day vacation blues, of the gratification from completing another trip – stories that will eventually be forgotten as time goes by.” I had an inexplicable urge to not let that happen, not this time. And in that moment, The Transit Passenger was born.
“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”Ibn Battuta
I spent most of my life living (what I call) the template life: go to school, get good grades, go to college, get a job, go to school again, get an even better job, get married, have kids, teach them the template life, die. I chased all these things (well, most of ’em) that I had come to associate with happiness. I simply did not know any better. Every next level of the template life sucked a little bit of energy out of me until, finally, the pursuit left me lost, broken, and unfulfilled. The wheels started coming off, and quickly – my partner called it quits, my relationship with the family soured, I was fired from a project that I had started, and for months, I was driving to work thinking I am going to get fired. The fear of losing everything I had worked so hard for led me to make poor choices. Fear is not the best motivator and I learned that the hard way as some of those poor choices led to health issues. In short, I had hit rock bottom. What’s worse? I didn’t even know it.
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust the dots will somehow connect in your future…”Steve Jobs
But even in that rut, I kept believing that there’s more to my story, there has to be; I didn’t come this far to only come this far. So I started with small changes – books I was reading, videos I was watching, and people I was connecting with – changes that made a big difference. Listening to the likes of Jay Shetty, Tom Bilyeu, Gary Vaynerchuk, Tony Robbins, Lisa Nichols, and many others gave me a new perspective. But there’s one thing about change: it doesn’t happen overnight; it’s a process. I was still looking for an escape to break the monotony which is when I bought the plane ticket as a gift for myself, for my milestone 30th: a trip that ended up changing my life because somewhere along that journey, I started to rediscover myself.
“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
As I share the stories from my journey of self-discovery, my favorite remains the one I tell myself every day: I am not a product of my circumstances. I am what I choose to become. From roaming the streets in a foreign land to interacting with strangers despite not speaking their language, from missed connections to near-death adventures; these experiences taught me and continue to teach me valuable life lessons that no school or job ever did.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”Lao Tzu
I invite you to be a part of this odyssey and I hope, through my stories, you find not only useful resources on traveling the world but also the inspiration to follow your dreams to live the life you’ve always imagined.