Why am I taking off more than a year to travel around the world?

Why is a man staring down 40 going on a trip that most people usually do in their early 20s, right out of school?

One obvious reason is that even though I often thought about it, I didn’t do it in my 20s, so better late than never.

Another simple reason is because I can.  I am fortunate in that I am currently at a place in my life where I am able to go on such an adventure.

However, the true reason is I don’t know.  That is not to say that I don’t know the reason; I literally mean that the reason is “I don’t know.” I don’t know my purpose in life even as I approach middle age; I don’t know what the future holds; I don’t know why things are the way they are; I don’t know nearly enough about the wider world.

I hope that as I wander through the world over the next several months some of these questions become answered. Yet it is more likely that I will continue to be just as ignorant as at the beginning.  But least I will have experienced more of this world that we all share.

My plan is that the majority of this trip will be spent working on a variety of volunteer and service projects in different areas of the world.  That is not to say that there won’t be selfish travel adventures purely for the experience, because that is definitely a goal as well.  Yet, I do want to spend most of my time feeling trying to be constructive and not just being a tourist.

This leads to an important note, “voluntourism” is a cottage industry that has really grown over the past decade.  However, because of this the efficacy of this phenomenon is rightly questioned.  Oftentimes, at best, the volunteer is doing little or no actual good.  Other times, it can actually be counter-productive, by denying locals employment opportunities or even worse causing exploitive situations such as “orphan renting”.  Because of this, I am trying my best to investigate the projects in which I plan to participate in order to ensure that they are truly beneficial programs.  I also am well-aware that I will have very little actual impact myself (if any at all) in my short time of supporting these projects.

Instead, I hope to have slightly more impact through this blog.  My goal is to share inspiring stories of what is happening around the globe and how people are striving to make this world, which often seems so dark and brutal, a little brighter for the future.  When telling these stories, I plan on sharing information and links about the programs so that if you are so inclined, you may be able to support their efforts.

Thank you for reading and if you continue to read about my travels in the future, even more thanks.  But what I will appreciate even more is that if you are inspired by a certain program or story that I share, please try to support that program, or search for some similar way to help in your local community.

Here’s to a smaller and better world!