When I sat down to write this post, I thought “Gee….I didn’t travel so much in 2015. Maybe I should stop writing these annual summary posts.” Now that I’ve found a home (base) in Peru, the idiom of full-time traveler doesn’t resonate as much with me as it did over the prior eight years of living on the road.
But after I tallied my country and mileage count, I realized that in the grander scheme of things, I covered some decent ground in 2015…including three new countries in my repertoire, and a couple of new locations within pre-visited countries.
All in all, I hit up six countries and traveled 55,760kms (just shy of 35,000 miles): This was 2015!
January: Peru, Colombia
I rang in the new year in Peru with a bunch of friends, dancing the night away in Cusco. Over the next few weeks I continued to explore my backyard in the sacred valley leisurely, including visiting Pisac Ruins which are practically on my doorstep but which I hadn’t seen up close and personal yet.
Towards the end of the month, I hopped on a plane to Colombia, where I visited a family friend (and her giant Colombian posse of a family) in and around Bogota.
February: Colombia, USA (Florida, Colorado)
I spent the first half of February exploring Bogota and its surrounds. My Dad was a wee bit concerned about my safety in Colombia given its former reputation as the murder capital of the world, so I wrote a post publishing my humourous correspondence with him while I discovered this country that has changed dramatically over the last few decades.
Then, I briefly visited a friend of mine in Hollywood Florida enroute to a new US destination for me: Boulder Colorado. Boulder was a curious and quirky place, and it was my first taste of winter in almost 10 years (and the last one I need for another 10 years), so I even strapped on some skis and tumbled down some of Colorado’s most famous peaks.
In February, I also launched my latest book: Working on the Road: The Unconventional Guide to Full-Time Freedom. It was a fabulous launch, and the book continues to be a great success that makes the 18 months it took me to write it well worthwhile.
March: Costa Rica, USA, Peru
I spent most of March visiting friends on the Osa peninsula in Costa Rica. After my slightly chaotic month of February (with a fair bit of travel and a book launch), I took advantage of the beautiful and serene setting to enjoy a bit of a vacation (yes, even full-time travelers need vacations). I tried my hand at surfing (I suck at it), went on nature walks (I’m better at those), and just plain relaxed (even better yet).
At the end of March, I returned to Peru, again via my hospitable friend in Hollywood Florida.
There is seemingly no end of things to discover in my little (big) backyard in Peru, so I took April to do just that, with the general theme of the month being an exploration of street food in Peru.
Part of my Peruvian explorations all the while had been of the inner/spiritual nature, as I was doing some intensive work with a shaman working with plant medicines such as san pedro and ayahuasca. In May, I announced something I’d been doing for a while already, but for which I’d been trying to find the right words: I’m apprenticing with a shaman. This is a new direction in life for me (and continues to be one), and I’m transitioning from being a full-time traveler to having a home base in Peru while exploring this new career and lifestyle.
June: Peru (A Month in the Jungle)
Peru is an amazing country of contrast, with beaches, deserts, high plains, deep canyons, (really) high mountains, and jungle. So I took the month of June to live in the jungle near Iquitos, while furthering my shamanic studies with a plant diet. If you’re headed to the jungle any time soon, check out my post on what to bring and expect from the experience.
Yes, Peru is officially a theme in my travels and life on the road, and July held the pattern. I needed a couple of weeks to recover from my time in the jungle – which was not only intense for my body and spirit, but also devoid of any internet connection or time on my laptop. After that, I participated in a plant medicine retreat with my teacher, which involved 12 days of intensive work and plant medicine ceremonies.
August: Peru, Canada
Just in time for the “winter” chill to set in in the Peruvian Andes, I took an opportunity to enjoy some summer heat by popping back up to Canada to visit my hometown family and friends. After all those months in Peru, I noticed some curious differences in daily life between Peru and Canada. For example, I actually felt guilty throwing toilet paper in the toilet in Canada (something you can’t do in Peru). Who knew.
September: Peru, Bolivia
Since the only South American countries in my repertoire were Peru and Colombia, I decided to expand my horizons with a quick trip to Isla del Sol on Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. It was a gorgeous trip, and I enjoyed some of the subtle differences between Bolivian and Peruvian culture.
Unfortunately on my return from Bolivia I got a little bit of grief from Peruvian immigration authorities and decided I needed to expedite my plans to apply for Peruvian residency.
The first step to my application for Peruvian residency entailed another trip back to Canada to organize some paperwork, and thus I spent the month of October back in my hometown doing just that. It was an unexpected surprise for my family and friends who had just seen me less than two months prior, but lovely for all involved. After all these years on the road, I know the scoop on how to get the most out of hometown visits without going crazy, so it was a good month all around.
I spent November reacclimatizing to Peru (for the first time feeling a bout of altitude sickness that set me back for a few days), and assisting my teacher with a plant medicine retreat (something that will be an emerging theme for me next year, with this lifestyle change of mine). I also got as much (computer) work done ahead of time as possible, knowing that for most of December I would be offline doing another shamanic plant diet.
I published my annual Travel Gear roundup too, featuring a variety of test-driven travel gizmos, accessories, and clothing that made the cut – and that also make for excellent gifts.
I spent December furthering my shamanic training by doing another plant diet (similar to the one I did in June in the jungle, except this time from the comforts of home). It was a long and hard, but cathartic, process. After three weeks of severe dietary restrictions, I wrapped up the diet just in time to share a large Christmas pot-luck dinner with the beautiful community of people living here in the Sacred Valley. New Year’s went out with a bang – and a dance party.
Changes at The Professional Hobo
With my announcement in May that I’m stepping into a new vein in life, I’ve made some adjustments as to how I work online so I could free up my schedule (and brain space) to embrace this new element. Thus, you may have noticed this year that I’ve reduced the number of times I post on this site to once per week from my previous 2-3 times per week.
Also, after six years of featuring 155 long-term/full-time travelers in my popular week-in-the-life series, I drew it to a close in favour of a new and exciting series that I launched in August 2015: Financial Case Studies. These bi-weekly interview posts feature full-time travelers who earn their living on the road in various fashions, and share the details of their careers and incomes with you. (If you’re interested in being featured in this groundbreaking series, feel free to contact me).
So although I’ve shifted my focus in travel (by establishing a home base), and life and career (by becoming a shaman), I’m still here, and I’m still a traveler, and most importantly – I’m still here to support you in your own travel dreams and endeavours.
The beauty of lifestyle design, as I discovered once again this year, is that you get to call the shots. What is your dream for travel, career, and lifestyle? Whatever it is, it’s yours to create (as I’ve done a few times over), and I’ll do whatever I can to help you do it too.
Yours, from The Professional Hobo headquarters,
Previous Annual Travel Summaries:
My First Four Years of Full-Time Travel (2007-2010, including Canada, Hawaii, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, USA, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, Germany, France, England, Scotland, Ireland, Nepal)
What I did in 2011 (13 countries, 73,000 kms, including New Zealand, Canada, USA, Sweden, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Russia, China, Vietnam, Grenada)
What I did in 2012 (8 countries and 20,000 miles, including Grenada, St. Martin, BVIs, USA, Switzerland, France, England, Canada)
What I did in 2013 (12 countries and 29,000 miles, including Grenada, USA, Canada, England, Scotland, Holland, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Ukraine, France, Panama)
What I did in 2014 (7 countries and 34,000 miles, including Panama, USA, Canada, Peru, Spain, Gibraltar, Italy)