When I saw the size of the package, I realized that I had made a grave mistake. Does one bar of soap need to be in a box that big? While unboxing my hygiene product I realized that I had accidentally bought an 8-pack of bar soap. I just wanted one. I suppose I got a little too trigger happy with my Amazon shopping and forgot to read the fine print.
Normally buying in bulk is advantageous, but I just wanted one bar because I had plans — big plans. Nothing was written in stone, but my planner-oriented brain was already scheming up an adventure at the end of 2020. I wanted to pack my bags and see the world, meet new people, and learn new languages.
Well, fast forward to November 2021, and it turns out that bulk purchase of soap wasn’t the worst idea after all. The last bar is currently sitting in my backpack that I just checked on a plane headed to Rio de Janeiro. After scrapping my travel plans for more than a year due to the pandemic, I am ready to rekindle the fire and go abroad.
As my last piece of soap dwindles to its sudsy demise, I step into the next stage of my life. I decided that the time had come to pursue other goals that have taken a bit of a backseat during the last several years. I’m going to travel the world and leave behind the comfort of home. To the contrary, I am going to seek out discomfort, inserting myself into the unknown.
For the first time in my life, my future is an open book, free for me to write. There is no job awaiting me on Monday morning, no school to return to at summer’s end, and financially / institutionally speaking this is the least amount of responsibility that I have ever had in my adult life. I am looking forward to it, but I wouldn’t be human without the inevitable doubts that squirm their way into my mind.
The human brain has evolved to seek comfort and avoid risk. It’s a practical survival tool. If you have a safe shelter from predators near reliable water and food sources, why venture out into the danger of the unknown unless you are forced to?
While the world isn’t nearly as dangerous today as it was to early homo sapiens, these evolutional traits manifest in a similar fashion: Do I have enough money? What if I can’t find a decent job when I’m back? (Lord, please do not make me work retail ever again.) Am I making a mistake?
These feelings are only natural and, at least for me, they are easy to suppress by recalling past experiences. Taking those calculated risks and launching yourself into the unknown are often the most formative experiences in life. (At least in my experience. I can’t speak for everyone.)
As a result of pursuing a previously dormant set of objectives, I must bid farewell to my beloved home of San Diego, for now. It’s crazy to think that I lived more than a decade in the city. I’ve gotten to know the ins and outs of its nooks and crannies, whether by surfing all up and down the coast, biking around the city streets, exploring its remote mountain wilderness, or mastering the tricks to crossing the US / Mexico border. I’ve grown to be spoiled by San Diego’s world-renowned weather, and somewhere along the way I gained a disdain for the brain-freezing water of my natal northern California. It’s been a ride.
This doesn’t mean that I’ll never come back, but it really sinks in when I realize that I haven’t left this city for more than several weeks at a time for so long. In San Diego I’ve spent nearly my entire adult life, had my one-and-only professional job, and formed many lifelong relationships. However, that chapter has come to an end and it was time to welcome the next. I was longing for the learning experiences of inserting myself into the unknown.
I am not exactly sure what the next months of life have store in for me, but I intentionally have planned very little. I will see where the twists and turns of life take me — a luxury and privilege that I’ve never had before.
I am simultaneously excited and nervous, but I am definitely looking forward to filling in the blank pages that are soon to be written on this adventure. Stay tuned.
12 thoughts on “So long, San Diego”
I guess this is the only way to contact you.I’ll keep this short, and if you want to pursue further communication, I would love to do that. I’ll leave my e-mail below.
My name is Mike Hansen, and I am a 1st cousin to your dad, and your uncle Lee.I just found out about their passing yesterday.My deep condolences go out to you and your family. I won’t detail here some of the great times that we had together in our younger years, but as I said above if we continue the communication I will share as Many of those stories with you as my ” one remaining brain cell” will allow.
I love your spirit of adventure! Looking forward to being drawn into your experiences and seeing your fabulous photos again. All the very best!
Beautifully written! Good Luck on your next chapter Evan! It was a pleasure working with you at the ISA back in the day…
This was Liam BTW…
Can’t wait to see where your journey takes you! Enjoy. Love you!
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What? No more desert pics? Darn. Well, good luck and take lots of pictures in Rio and surrounding areas. There’s a beautiful desert called Lençóis Maranhenses on the North-Eastern coast (I’m sure you already know about it). Take care.
Unfortunately I am going to miss out on this desert hiking season, but trust me I do miss it! I’ll try to share my hikes in Brazil on here too.
As someone who left my home country and came to America to start a new chapter I can tell you are doing the right thing. I never regret all the experiences and memories I did so far way from everything I knew in my comfortable zone. I am exited for you. Keep us posted with your amazing journey!!! Good luck 🍀
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Excited for you on your upcoming adventures!! Can’t wait to hear or read about them. You surely will be missed here at Casa Fenton❤️ Safe Travels✌🏼
“ Not all those who wander are lost”
I am excited for you. Let the journey take you. We will look forward to your stories and pictures. You always have the comfort of your family and our love. ♥️ Hopefully, we will meet along the way.
I miss you already and hold you in my heart. Happy trails to you, Mom
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