June 2014 to June 2016 I lived the life of travel.
When I started this adventure I was acting upon a lifelong dream of dedicating a significant amount of time uninterrupted to seeing the world. But where it led me, what I learned, who I encountered, and how it affected me I never could have predicted.
The first year I was abroad I followed my initial goal. I wanted to see countries I had never been to before, ones that were so different from my own, that would push me outside my comfort zone and challenge me to live life in an alternative way. New languages, new landscapes, new cities, new people, new experiences – each day would be a discovery. And, as I made my way through South America, New Zealand, Australia, Southeast Asia, India, and Japan, each day was.
I grew to want no other life than one that was dedicated to exploration, so, after a brief summer hiatus back in the US, working a couple of odd jobs to replenish some of my savings, I set out again – this time to Central America. I hopped on a one way flight to Mexico City and let the wind direct me. It directed me to Antigua, Guatemala, a town that I couldn’t bear to leave for 7 months.
When I did leave, I began my my final installment of this story. June 2016 to October 2016 was dedicated to battling cancer. I used my blog as a way to keep my friends and family updated, but also as an outlet to process what I was going through. These posts aren’t as numerous as the ones dedicated to travel, but they are just as necessary to the story of this phase of my life experience.
I started blogging about my trip from the early planning stages all the way through returning, both times. I knew I wanted to document as much as possible – for myself to look back at when it was over, for friends and family who may be curious where I was along the way, and for anyone else who may have questions about anywhere I happened to visit. I kept blogging through my surgery and recovery for the same reasons – information for those close to me and those I have never met who may need to know that they are not alone.
So please, take a look around. Each section documents a different portion of my saga: the Round the World drop-down menu links to my original itinerary, the planning process, every country I went to in the first year, and the recaps and reflections of returning home; the Round the Central America section follows a similar format, but only goes so far as Mexico and Guatemala since that is where I stayed for so long; and The Tristen Phase tells the story of my confrontation with cancer.
I hope you enjoy reading about whatever it is that brought you here – whether curiosity or consolation – and thanks for visiting.