As we have reached the year 2017 I would like to take the chance to reflect back on the year I had in 2016. It’s been one hell of a year for me and I never really had the chance to just sit back and see where my life has taken me. All I know is that 2016 was definitely the year of travel for me as well as a year of taking chances. There are some things that I regret doing just as much as actions I wish I had done, but in the end I’m glad to have ended up where I’m at now by taking chances with a lot of risks. Lets take a look at what happened during my year of 2016 shall we.
Finally Left The Country After 3 Years
This was a big one for me as I’ve been itching to leave the country since my return back to the states during 2013. It was a good way to usher in the new year of 2016 as I decided to take a week vacation to Central America. In January I bought a flight ticket to El Salvador as it was the cheapest plane ticket to get me out of Florida. During my week there I was able to hit up 3 towns even though I had originally planned visit 4. As we all know when it comes to travel not everything goes according to plan.
First place I visited was San Salvador the capital city of El Salvador – though some locals will tell you the capital of El Salvador is Miami, Florida. Wasn’t my favorite place in the country as there wasn’t much to do besides just walk around the city in the heat. The bars were usually empty but the bartenders were friendly and up for a good chat. After 2 days I was off to Suchitoto which was my favorite place during my week stay there. During the day it was just a quiet little town but at night it came to life with festive music blaring, the whole town out drinking and dancing, and performances happening in the town square.
I met two locals at a rooftop bar who would end up becoming my close friends during my visit to El Salvador. I only spent the night and was off the next day but not after getting an invitation by my new friends back to their place in San Salvador – they wanted to throw me a good-bye party for my last day in their beautiful country.
The last place I visited was a small beach town by the name of El Tunco. I really wanted to go here as I’ve read so many articles about it being a favorite beach town among travelers as well as surfers. When I finally got there I could see why. There are only two main roads in the town which is filled with many restaurants, stores, surf shops, and hostels. The hostel I was staying at was awesome as it had a pool and hammocks for you to just lounge about if just wanted a lazy day. Ended befriending 3 Canadians who I would spend my 3 days there with – one of them even saved my life from drowning.
The beach here is beautiful especially with its black sand that has a bit of sparkle to it when the sunlight hits it. The vibe you feel there is amazing and at night the party in this town is something you don’t want to miss as it gets lively with latin music and all the locals that come to drink with travelers. The only drawback is that all the bars closed at around 1am so you you’ll have to continue the party at your hostel.
I spent my last day back in San Salvador where I stayed at my new friends place. They had friends over and they through me a party at their apartment. I don’t think I would ever forget my last night in El Salvador or the generosity that my new friends showed me. I definitely can’t wait till I make my return to this lovely country.
Living In My Car
In all my life I had never envisioned me living in a car so this was a surprise to me. Of course this was done by choice and not because I had no money and no place to live – I felt like it was one of the best decisions I made. The cost of living in Miami is high and I was trying to figure out how to save up for my big trip of traveling the world. I remember joking around telling myself well why don’t I just go live in my car which right after actually sounded like a good idea.
Right away I ended up doing some research and found ways on how to go about it. I even founded a site that really motivated me to go out an do it – Hotel Prius – as he had the exact same car as me even down to the color. Within a couple of weeks of getting rid of items I no longer needed and getting rid of my place I was finally living just out of a backpack and in my car. This was back in October 2015 but this journey lasted all the way to 2016 2 days after my birthday when I would get into a car crash which destroyed my home.
The first week or two was weird living in a car as it was a new concept to me as well as a bit uncomfortable. But once I got use to being outside my comfort zone I loved having my car as my home. Living in your car sure has a way of making you look at life from a different angle. The best part is the adventures you have as you can literally pick up your house and go anywhere. Weekday nights I would just cruise around the city at night seeing what was going on at different parts of town and on the weekends I would drive all through out South Florida seeing what trouble I could get into and discover new places.
When you’re living inside your car you’ll have to find ways to entertain yourself so you’re pretty much force to go out and explore. For my birthday I drove 2 hours to the west to some town literally in the middle of nowhere and went hang gliding for the first time. One of the best birthday I had in a while and I don’t think I would have gotten that experience if I was never living out of my car.
During the 5 months I was residing in my car no one knew I was living in it besides the Canadians friends I met in El Salvador. I told my friends and co-workers I was living with either my mom or sister and I told my family I was living at a friends house. I probably will tell them eventually but at the time I didn’t want anyone to worry. After the car crash and I was living with my sister it felt weird living inside of a house again. The only thing I could thing of was how I wish I had my car back – it felt like home and I miss the adventures that we would have. I think it’s funny how I actually thought of my little green Toyota Prius as home.
Started My Round The World Trip A Year Early
I originally planned to start this adventure sometime in 2017 after I saved up a years worth of money to fund it but after the car crash I had to make a decision. Mundane life was starting to bore me : going to work everyday, attending classes right after that, and being stuck at home most of the time I was starting to go crazy. Coming from going on mini adventures everyday with my car and going backpacking for the first time in January I couldn’t just sit still and live the average life society wanted me to live especially since it wasn’t made for people like me who are Autistic.
Two months of it and I was just about ready to rip off my hair. I knew a lot about traveling and did a lot of researched on how to travel with practically no money and with 2 free flights from my American Airlines Reward Program that was pretty much all the motivation I needed. It was time to live off of my wits and will. Just like that I quite my job, dropped out of school, and was on a plane for Malaysia in two days time – I regret nothing.
To think I only had enough money to last me a month in SouthEast Asia and it now has been 8 crazy suspenseful months. I’ve met some of the best friends I would have on this journey in Malaysia and a hostel that I would consider home and later return to work for before I start my new adventure. I learned how to motorbike in Vietnam and spent 3 months in this beautiful country. I even thought English to make some money to continue my adventure. Spent a week in Laos motorbiking and even trying a mushroom shake for the first time which resulted in a bad trip. Spent one month in the north of Thailand which was a country I would learn that I’m not really fond of besides the small village of Pai – well Chiang Mai did grow on me during the second week.
I had a lot of fun on this adventure as well as had a lot of downs. Majority of the time I had no idea how I was going to pay for my hostel stays or how I was going to be able to afford a new visa. I always figured things out at the end and I have been learning a lot on this adventure.
2016 hasn’t been a perfect year but I am glad that it has taken me to where I am now today. Now I’m ready for a new chapter which is 2017 and with everything I’ve learned from the previous year it’s time for me to make it a year of building the life that I want and accomplish goals and dreams that I have set for myself. Sometime it’s nice to sit back and reflect on life and see where you have been so you have an idea of the direction where your life is going. If any improvement needs to be made then this is the time to figure out how. I’ve hope you guys had a great year in 2016 and I hope 2017 is even better!