The last post. Six months, 26 countries later, and with absolutely zero money in my bank account, my trip around the world has finally come to a conclusion. Written now almost five months after the end of trip, I don’t intend for these paragraphs to perfectly summarize the last eleven months, but I do think it is important to end with a reflection.
I started this website almost a year ago as a way to keep track of where I was and keep others updated regarding my trip. It began with light videos about food, spending time with my brother, and post designed to reassure my parents that I was safe. But as the days turned to week, and the weeks to months, this website became much more personal to me. Shallower posts about food and the excitement of travel transformed into more sincere reflections on traveling alone, and before I realized it the website really became a living journal. A testament to the journey.
Before leaving in the very beginning for South Korea, I hastily posted a travel quote to headline the “About our Trip” page on this site. It was picked almost at random from a list of travel quotes and read, “Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” Before leaving I thought I understood this quote by Terry Pratchett, but looking back I now know I did not have the faintest idea.
For me I thought that leaving would cause me to think about the world differently. I thought the quote (and really the trip itself) was about me learning new cultures, and gaining a new understanding of global perspectives. Both the trip and the quote were about understanding other people. But what I never imagined is that by learning about other people and other ways of life, I learned just as much about myself, my upbringing, and my own culture. Not only did I see the place I came from with “new eyes and extra colors,” but I really saw a lot of my old life through this lens. For me this was probably the most unexpected and powerful thing about my journey.
It took traveling 75,000 miles (three times the distance around the world) to really understand the place I came from. In fact, I think my travels had a much more profound impact on the way I think about my life then it did how I think about life in other countries. This trip made me appreciate things I take for granted daily, it showed me how to be self-sufficient, and perhaps most importantly it reminded me of the value of both family and friendship.
I cannot neatly conclude maybe the most complicated six months of my life, but I think that this post may be as close as I ever come. Lastly, I want to take a moment to thank everyone who helped make this past half-year possible. For 180 days, I was the lucky beneficiary who got to travel around the world, but it would not have been possible without all my friends and family aiding me in countless unseen ways. To everyone who helped me when I was lost, gave me money when my wallet was stolen, or encouraged me when I was homesick, thank you thank you and thank you again. To celebrate this trip, below are some links to a few of my favorite posts from various countries. This post signifies the end of my travel adventure, but as I move to begin work in San Francisco next month, hopefully it also marks the beginning of a whole new journey. A journey I now see with new eyes and extra colors.
– Robert Yeagle
- Personal reflections about traveling for three months alone: http://yeagletravels.com/the-beginning-of-the-end/
- A post about probably the most impulsive decision of the trip, deciding to go to Romania: http://yeagletravels.com/heads-we-go-tails-we-dont/
- Reflections about what it means to visit the place you want to visit most in the whole world: http://yeagletravels.com/a-dream-come-true/
- A post I did about surviving the Bangkok bombing on our street: http://yeagletravels.com/gratitude/
- A top ten list from the first three months of the trip: http://yeagletravels.com/top-ten-the-trip/
- One of my first posts ever, a reflection about my time in South Korea: http://yeagletravels.com/reflections-on-korea/