It’s me again.
Paul. Paul Austin. The author of this blog.
After rising from the dead last week, I made it a priority to get a blog post up before taking off on my next trip.
Let me tell you: There’s nothing quite like being dead for two months, buried in worm-infested soil, decaying one day at a time.
But, really, in all seriousness, there have been a number of adjustments in my life as of late, and unfortunately, writing for this blog took a back seat.
Just to give you all a quick rundown, the last two months of my life have been some of the BEST I’ve ever experienced.
- I returned home from Turkey on June 22nd, where I taught English for one year.
- After catching up with friends and family, attending a Dave Matthews concert in Alpine Valley (a gorgeous setting to see Dave), traveling to Northern Michigan to hike Sleeping Bear Dunes with a number of friends (an upcoming post will give you all the wonderful details), and working for four miserable weeks in a factory, I am now preparing to take the trip of a lifetime.
- I also FINALLY made it to the Upper Peninsula (first time in my life: My mom claims I went to the UP at the age of 7, but since I have absolutely no recollection of said trip, I’m obligated to disagree). There will be an additional upcoming post about my travels in the UP, including details of where I went (Marquette and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore) and what I did.
None of the above “hashes” extrapolate on WHY the last two months have been the best of my life.
I’ll try to explain.
I believe I’ve finally found my purpose in life – every morning when I wake up, I know what I want to do, and what I’m working towards. When one has a fulfilling purpose to work towards, everything in life tends to come together quite well.
The longer explanation?
I want to be an entrepreneur. I want to set my own schedule every single day, by working on meaningful projects that bring joy and happiness to both my life and the lives around me.
But, I also want to be more than an entrepreneur.
I want to be an adventure seeker – someone who is constantly looking to expand his comfort zone, by taking on tasks and goals most would never dream to accomplish.
What are those tasks and goals?
Well, this summer I committed to practicing my violin for at least 90 minutes every day.
Why did I do this?
Next summer, I plan on touring part of Europe as a street performer, playing my violin a few hours a day to earn enough money to cover expenses. With my free time, I will read and write for at least 4 hours each day (2 writing, 2 reading), committing to the advice Stephen King set out for any wanna be writers (to directly quote him: “Read and write four to six hours a day. If you cannot find the time for that, you can’t expect to become a good writer”).
After Europe, I will tour Australia and New Zealand with my violin.
But sacrifices must be made in order to make this dream a reality.
After returning from my ten week trip (which I’m about to give you more details about), I will have to take private lessons for seven months before setting off to Europe.
I will also have to practice AT LEAST 5 to 6 hours EVERY DAY. This is in addition to daily activities like meditating, writing, taking classes (I’m going back to college to take one last semester of classes), and spending time with those close to me.
Bottom line: it’s a huge commitment and will be the first real test of who I will become, and if I’m cut out for a life of disciplined and focused work.
Once I begin my walk down this path, I will publicly announce my intentions and garner as much support as possible.
HOWEVER, HOWEVER, HOWEVER – my walk down the violin path will not commence for another TEN weeks.
So, what am I doing for the next ten weeks?
Here’s the quick itinerary:
1. Leave September 9 from Grand Rapids, Michigan and fly to Edinburgh, Scotland, arriving at 6 p.m on September 10.
2. Spend three nights couchsurfing in Edinburgh, one night in Glasgow, and then take the critically acclaimed “Best Rail Journey” from Glasgow to Fort William, located in the Scottish Highlands.
3. Hike the Highlands for 5-6 days, going from Fort William to Inverness, along the Great Glen Way (wild camp the entire time).
5. Take train from the Highlands down to the Lake District of England. Explore the Lake District for four to five days (wild camp the entire time).
6. Take train from the Lake District to Liverpool and Manchester. Spend one week between the two cities and stay with couchsurfing hosts.
8. Hitchhike to London and spend five nights in London, where I, again, will stay with a couchsurfer.
9. Fly to Girona, one hour outside of Barcelona, and explore Barcelona and the surrounding Catalan region for 7-8 days (wild camp part of time).
10. Take a train to Madrid, and explore Madrid for 2-3 days.
11. Fly home from Madrid, back to Chicago, stay in Chicago for three nights.
12. Fly from Chicago to Kathmandu, and take on the Everest Base Camp trek. I will spend a total of three weeks in Nepal.
13. Arrive back home in Chicago, just before Thanksgiving, to spend time with family over the Holidays.
Expect many detailed posts upon my return from Nepal, giving you all the nitty gritty on the Scottish Highlands, the Outer Hebrides, the Lake District, the Cotswolds, and the Catalan Region.
Okay, I’ve peppered you with enough material for now. Expect another blog post before I leave detailing my packing list, including:
- How my total pack weight is around 10 lbs for a 10 week trip, INCLUDING my sleeping bag and a shelter
- What items I’m packing, and the cost of each item
Thanks for reading (if you made it this far), and I can’t wait to tell you more about my upcoming trip!