January 14, 2012— by Cha Jones
I was about three month’s old when I took my first trip to
Mexico and before I was even a year old I had traveled with my paternal grandmother to see my aunt in . So, actually I have been traveling all my life. I guess I didn’t have a choice in the matter, I just learned to live the life that has been given to me. Detroit, MI
I turned thirty-three years of age two days prior to me moving to
to teach English as a second language. On the brink of turning thirty-six I am trying to decide my next steps, but I know that I am in no position to give up this life of adventure and travel. There is so much of the world to see, and I have only taken my first taste of what the world has to offer. Korea
Walking in their footprints
Even though I am not the first person in my family to travel and/or live abroad, I am the first and only person to travel and live abroad without any support system. My aunt traveled to
Africa when I was in high school, and I had an uncle who was in the marines who has lived in many countries. However, when you fully submerse yourself into a culture and actually live abroad it is totally different than visiting and/or having any government support backing you. When you live in a country and you become part of their economy you get to see the country just as the locals see it. We actually have a saying for the military who reside in Korea, “We live in Korea while the military lives on .” There is a huge difference. When you live in the country you use the money, you live in the hosting, you pay bills, you eat the food (well most people do, just not me), you pay taxes, you interact with the people, and even though many military people do some of the things I’ve listed, the biggest difference is that they still have a safe haven to return to, the military base, where they can get everything they need and want just like living in America. Korea
I will never forget when I took my first vacation in
. During my summer break a co-worker and I went to what Korean’s believe to be their Hawaii, Jeju Island, which is a decent size island just southwest of the Korean peninsula. It was a wonderful trip. Korea
On our second day we decided to take a day tour which took up to a place called
. Sunrise Peak is about a twenty minute climb up the side of a small mountain. The hike included walking in the pouring rain, up some very narrow and steep steps. As I took each step I thought about all the people whom I was carrying on my shoulders, the people who would never leave their cities, states, and not to mention their country. I was taking these small steps in a foreign country for all my relatives and friends. Even the pictures I took were more for those whom I would be providing a small glimpse into another world. It’s my hope that as I venture out of my comfort zone, I not only open a window to the world of travel, but that I am able to inspire so many more people to do the same. Sunrise Peak
Making the choice to travel
most people travel on vacation and many people don’t really travel outside of the popular tourist spots because of time and/or money. For me, I believe it was my destiny to travel. I have lived in all the American cities that I have ever desired to live in, and I have actually been to thirty-nine of the fifty states as well as America, Puerto Rico2x. I simply love traveling.
At the age of twenty-five I thought that I wanted to settled down and do my part by buying into the whole “American Dream.” So, I bought a house and started a business, and lived a semi-stable life for about four years, but there was always something missing... a void to travel. In the four years I was decorating, throwing parties, planting seeds and watering grass, but I was also unfulfilled. The only time I was able to travel was on my birthday to
Miami, FL and to visit my mother in Nebraska Other than that, I was too busy trying to secure my next check or making sure I could keep up my investment, all while thinking to myself, “Is this what they call the American Dream?” more like, “Suffering in contentment.” .
However, I remember my first trip to
Maui when I was eighteen; I told my aunt that I should be a nomad and island hop. Aren’t we so perceptive in our youth? If only I had known then what I know now, I would have followed the dream that I wrote out on the napkin while sitting on the beach whale watching. At eighteen, I had a plan and it involved the adventures of traveling, and a little hustling, but that wasn’t the important part. The point of the matter is that in my own little way I knew that I was suppose to go places, see things, and experience what this huge world has to offer.