I'm a rocket man. Sitting in an aisle seat on a 13-hour flight from Jordan to DC, I have some time before a very average dinner is plopped in front of me. Which I will consume completely, by the way. Tonight (2:25 am) is some form of chicken.

The pickiness of food is gone, the complaining about the uncomfortable seats has disappeared. I have traveled a lot in the last 15 years. Really, only for the last five years am I completely aware of what a luxury it is to do it in any fashion.

There was a window when my career as a world champion Highland Games athlete vanished due to my failing right knee, that I had accepted that my years of adventure were long behind me. Now, in 2023, I'm years on the other side of that identity crisis, depression, and fear of normalcy. The appreciation that my life still involves consistent voyages to faraway exotic places is not lost on me. This life is more than I could have ever asked for and still feels like all the other work I do is some sort of scam to justify this lifestyle.

The truth is I love travel. Like most men of my age (40 now), I was and still am highly influenced by the impression that Anthony Bourdain left on me. What a life it must be to see the world like that? Well, it's not been a disappointment.

This adventure is the longest I have ever left the country. Bon and I have been gone 5 days short of a month. It’s been a real ass-kicker as well. Starting with 10 days in Uganda helping support my best friend's nonprofit Fight for the Forgotten, then 11 days in Egypt with 20 folks bold enough to travel with us supported by a great company, Trova Trip. Then finally one for Bon and me to explore Jordan.

Those three places alone bring a smile to my face. Sitting in this cheap uncomfortable pleather seat that’s closer to a torture device, I'm grinning at the idea of telling younger versions of myself, especially childhood me, about the adventures you'll be going on. Like a fever dream my young mind thinks of tribes, pyramids, and ancient places shrouded in mystery. Well, I tell you what. That’s closer to reality than I thought possible. HOW DID I GET HERE?

While I'll dive into my own thoughts of each place another time, right now I’m reflecting on the changes in myself. First of all, there was a point where first-class seats were important to me and all my miles would’ve been spent to make my journey more comfortable. As I am such a seasoned traveler, I am owed such status. Fuck me to tears, how intolerable that version of me seems.

Unless by a miracle outside of my own choice, I’ll never fly anything but coach. Why? Self-punishment? Nope. Humility? You know by now that’s not it. It’s more about quantity. Every upgrade is at the cost of another economy flight. That allows me to have Bonnie with me for everything, and more often than not, Brandt, my trusted media guy and creative partner.

What’s the experience if you can’t share it with those you love? To me, that’s everything. It’s about the experience more than anything else. Every time I travel out of my known areas of comfort, I come back a little different. These last few trips to Uganda bludgeoned me in the face with how fortunate I am to get to travel like I do, have the time for it, and much less be fucking paid to do it. Meeting people who have nothing and will likely never be on a plane makes it easy to keep my fat American privileged mouth shut about the trivialities of how comfortable my chair is. I mean, for fuck's sake, it’s a leather seat that kind of reclines and has 100 movies to watch. Not to mention wifi and a hot meal or two. No complaints from me outside of the slight grumpiness of dealing with airport security pretending to keep us safe by taking our fingernail clippers, reviewing my passport no less than 8 times, and making sure the alabaster crocodile I snagged in Egypt isn’t a weapon.

But here we are. Chicken now in front of me. I am a happy man. This adventure comes to a close. What did I learn this time around?

More time for being present in the moment clears a lot of the fog from my mind and keeps me from ruining my own time fixated on bullshit.

Make damn sure I am listening to what the Universe is telling me. This trip reminded me that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I feel at the edge of another chapter shift and new opportunities emerging. The desire to write more is back in full force. Three books that

March 08, 2024