FITNESS AND TRAVEL: PASSION AND LIFE-SAVER
Fitness and travel are not two words that you would put together, but I would like to think that they mesh together quite nicely. Before I get into my blog and my adventures, I think it is important to understand my motivations and why I love fitness and travel so much.
I remember when I was 18 years old, I told my Mom and my brother, Zack, that I never wanted to leave the country again. My family had been on cruises to the Bahamas and I had done an exchange in Paris for two weeks when I was a freshman in high school, but I was against traveling. Fast forward 4 years, 30 countries later, and that is a completely different story. I thought that I had everything I needed here in the US. There was no reason, in my mind, to go abroad for an extended period of time and expand my horizons. Zack was a huge influence on me though. I remember looking at his pictures of him exploring Thailand in 2013 and I decided I wanted those same experiences. So in August 2014, we decided to do a backpacking trip for two weeks in Spain and Portugal. I was nervous to go and see a whole new culture that I had never been in before, but I was open minded and was ready for an adventure. It had to have been the fastest two weeks of my life and I hated leaving. To say I was hooked was an understatement. There was no going back. I loved everything about traveling. The people, the food, the cultural, the unknown… it was all exciting and invigorating.
I needed more. Since that fateful trip in 2014, I’ve studied abroad in Berlin for 6 months and returned this past summer for another 3 (Obviously, I hate Berlin…:)), I’ve traveled most of Western and Eastern Europe, Israel, Southeast Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam), and Japan. I could not be more excited to head down to South America and then work in Australia on a one year working holiday visa! I’ll get into more details about how I travel later, but I have to say Couchsurfing is on
e of the best sites I have found to explore the world. I have met and hosted some incredible people, had experiences I would have never otherwise had, and gained friends for life all over the world. Traveling is now more than a hobby for me, it’s a passion. I am so lucky to be able to travel to places that people
can only dream about and I do not take it for GRANTed (wow bad joke..) at all.
Fitness, on the other hand, has been something that I have always been interested in. I played pretty much every sport growing up. Baseball, basketball, soccer, football. Overall, I was your all American boy. When I was 15, I started getting into lifting weights. At first, it was about getting stronger to play sports, but the secondary motivation was girls. We were hitting that point in our lives were girls no longer had cooties and we started noticing girls for the first time. I remember every Saturday two of my best friends, Marshall and Cole, and I would lift and go play basketball at Lakeshore Athletic Club in Chicago. It was our routine, but soon it would be my lifeline. When I was 16, in July of 2010, my parents separated and my world was completely flipped upside down. My world as I knew it had completely changed. I had become an adult overnight with everything that had happened. Things at home had gotten worst. At school, everything was okay because I was surrounded by others and I was distracted, but when I came home, I was alone with my thoughts. I had every type of emotion. Sad, angry, confused… I had no idea what to feel and at first I confronted these emotions head on. Soon though, I would try to mask the pain by drinking copious amounts of alcohol and sometimes I was drinking by myself. I also got into drugs at the time. As a result, I was having anger issues and I was often lashing out at my Mom. I distinctly remember the moment when my Mom told me I needed help for my anger and that’s when I realized I needed a change. I dedicated more time to the gym and staying in shape. It was my sanctuary and my safe space. When I am lifting, I need to be by myself. It is my time to be alone with my thoughts and release anger in a constructive, positive way. Just like traveling, I was hooked. I loved the feeling after an intense workout. I loved seeing my body and mind change. I was more positive, confident, and ready to take any challenge head on. Of course, there is a vanity aspect to it (Who doesn’t like to look good naked?!), but there was so much more. I honestly believe that fitness has saved my life and kept me from going down a dangerous path. It’s not a part of my life that I have talked too much about, but if anyone has any
questions or can relate to my story, I would be happy to share more information or talk about dealing with these issues because I have been there. I know what it is like to lose hope and lose yourself in the process. Overall, fitness and traveling are huge passions of mine. I look forward to sharing with you the knowledge I have accumulated and to show you that anything is possible with the right attitude, a game plan, and hard work. Keep calm and carryontravelfitness.