3 Life Lessons From a 21-Day Journey Around the World
It was almost exactly 5 years ago this week that I returned from a 21-day journey around the world.
There were four of us on this journey. Together we met, interviewed and filmed developers, engineers and educators. These hard-working, passionate people were building amazing software and hardware in 7 different cities across the globe.
The people we met were all unique characters, shaped by their upbringing and culture (and obviously their genetics). Regardless of our cultural differences, it was amazing how much we all had in common. Our similarities easily outnumbered our differences.
People. The ultimate energy source.
This was 21 straight days of getting up around 6am, getting gear ready, traveling to multiple locations and shooting until the light went down. Then offloading that footage and reviewing what we shot. Followed every single night by eating and drinking way too much and going to bed way too late.
Yet, I was almost never tired. It’s amazing the energy you receive from meeting, talking with, and learning from people.
We would spend 3–4 days in each country, then move on. There was always something new to look forward to.
Lighten your load. Physically, and emotionally.
On this 21-day journey I brought only a small duffel bag and a backpack. The duffel carried my clothes and toiletries (what strange word “toiletries” is by the way. What does a toothbrush and razor have to do with a toilet?). The backpack held my camera rig, two camera bodies, 5 lenses, and a laptop.
Carrying this light of a load was an intentional decision. And, honestly, a bit of a test. Could I travel to 11 countries in 21 days with only two small bags? The answer is, unequivocally, yes. When it was all said and done, I could’ve even brought a few less things.
Our 4-person crew on this 21-day got along magnificently. But, of course, frustrations always arise between people. We had one or two of those frustrations, and after many beers in Tokyo, they came out. It was emotional for me personally, but I’m so glad we communicated about it. We did and got past it. These are some of my favorite people, ever. It’s an amazing feeling when you have a team of people that work together so well.
Whether it’s physical or emotional baggage, you just can’t hold onto things. They weigh you down. They slow you down. They get in the way of moving forward.
You can’t hold onto things. They weigh you down. They slow you down.
There’s a clear (but not always easy) way to get rid of emotional baggage. Communicate. Address what’s bothering you with the people who are bothering you. Let it out. Let it go.
There are a few ways to get rid of physical baggage. One is to not care that you wear the same 4 shirts over the course of 21 days. Another key to a lighter load is using laundromats in whatever city you’re in. It also helps to find one with a pub nearby. We discovered that in London, and as we waiting for our laundry, we were able to meet even more great people.
My three life lessons?
I believe the goal of every journey is this:
- Meet as many people as possible.
- Take as little as possible with you.
- Keep moving forward.
I also recommend wearing comfortable shoes.
About me: I’m a Partner/Creative Director at Teak in San Francisco. I’m from Colorado, moved to Chicago for 8 years then settled down in San Anselmo, California (the birthplace of mountain biking) with my wife to raise two amazing kids. I’m a huge fan of the Chicago Cubs, Denver Broncos and Peet’s Coffee.