Being an errant adventurer and traveler is not a new addiction, but rather is one that perhaps I inherited. Both my grandfathers had seen the world, from the jungles of Sumatra, rickshaws of the Far East, Andean mountaintops of South America, and the cultured streets of Europe. My mom spent part of her childhood in Honduras and Cuba and my parents (who were both born in Las Vegas and lived within a mile of each other) met in Central Africa!
My real first trip abroad was when I was 17 years old. I spent 3 weeks in Europe with my cousin Dax who was my age and my older brother who was 19. I was too young then to appreciate fully what I was seeing…was more excited about the fact I could legally drink than by how many columns the Coliseum had. But nevertheless I remember noting in my journal that the trip “Was the most interesting thing I had done in my life”. I suppose that was where it all started.
When I was 21 I enrolled in a course with NOLS (National Outdoor Leaderhsip School) that took me to East Africa for 3 months. Three months living in tents without showers, beds, or toilet paper. Carrying 60 pound packs up mountains, across rivers, deserts, and sandy islands. Learning wilderness first aide, mountaineering, how to navigate using topographic maps, how not to be eaten by hyenas and lions (They were a very real and constant threat), and how to get along with your group members under such stressful conditions. I finished the course officially hooked on a life of adventures.
After University I spent a year alone traveling through Central and South America (2003-2004). I hiked through lots of jungles, climbed some big mountains, and scuba dived with sharks. I also worked in various projects as a volunteer… a national park and a reforestation project in Costa Rica, an orphanage in Guatemala, an agricultural project in the Peruvian Amazon, and an animal sanctuary in Bolivia (where my two jobs were taking care of monkeys and taking a puma for walks through the jungle). I picked up Spanish and along the way and officially fell in love with Latin America.
When I returned to The States after this year of travel in Mid 2004 the next decision was an easy one…work, save the money, and go. This time it was 3 and a half months in Southeast Asia with a stop in Japan. I did this trip with an childhood friend of mine and we were joined in this adventure at different times and for different lengths by other friends, my cousin, and my brother. A few highlights: Hiking to remote hilltribe villages in Laos, whitewater rafting in Thailand, floating down the Mekong from Vietnam to Cambodia, surfing in Indonesia, island hopping in Malaysia, and speeding 180mph (300kph) on a train through Japan.
Between 2005 and 2010 my time was spent in restaurant management school and in managing my families restaurant in Hollywood, California. When I wasn’t working I did a lot of camping, hiking, climbing mountains, and urban adventuring. However, I did manage to cross some foreign borders, just enough to satiate my addiction. I went back to South America where I spent four months in Argentina, 3 months living in Buenos Aires and one month camping and trekking through Patagonia. I also made some short trips to Europe, Mexico, Turkey, Venezuela, Colombia, and Moscow.