thoughts from a pre-traveler

Everyone who travels the world seems to have a great story about quitting their job to follow their dreams. My friend Cliff, a born and raised New Yorker, is about to embark on a life of world travel at the end of this year. He didn’t technically quit his job to follow this nomadic life, but he is a great example of things falling into place when you want them to. And he’s kindly agreed to share his thoughts on beginning the journey.


How the decision came to be:

In 2009 I experienced my first transcontinental trip to various parts of Asia and I was hooked. Traveling has turned into a passion of mine–falling in love with experiencing other cultures, food, and meeting people.

I’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to leave home and travel around the world, and that opportunity arrived when I found out my company was doing layoffs. Despite the layoff, everything feels right about these next few months as I prepare to take a trip of a lifetime. Timing couldn’t be better!


Prepping to leave home:

Luckily the hardest decision I would have had to make–leaving my job–was done for me. After that there’s been quite the to-do list, which has taken a significant amount of time. I had doctor checkups, vaccinations, sorted out bills and housing, downsized and stored belongings I wouldn’t be needing… Planning for a minimalistic backpack life couldn’t be more exciting.

The easiest task was opening Google Maps and letting my imagination run wild on which country to visit first. I decided to follow the warmer months throughout the year, starting in Ecuador in December to begin a journey through South America—but of course, planning on a whim is part of the fun. I’ve planned to stay at a mix of hostels, Airbnb, friends’ homes and volunteer programs.


The plan so far:

I’m looking forward to learning new cultures and meeting new people, from locals to honeymooners and fellow travelers. I am also participating in various volunteer programs through organizations such as International Volunteers HQ, GoEco, and GoVoluntouring.

My first adventure with this will be spending a month in Madagascar participating in a marine conservation program. I’ll be able to help educate villagers about the importance of our environment and assist marine biologists with their research.

But whether it’s volunteering, viewing local art or taking part in adventures like fishing, diving and hiking–I’m looking forward to experiencing everything. And I love cooking, so thinking about tasting foods from their origin is getting my palate excited.

I’m also hoping to encourage my family and friends to join me for parts of my journey!



Follow Clifford’s world tours on his blog! (All photos courtesy of his Instagram account.)

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