I don't know how they started. They just started. Somehow...
I always wanted to go to Canada. I don't know why but probably because of all the documentaries I saw on TV, all of the untouched nature. And all of these wild animals.
So in 2007 I decided to go to Canada. My then girlfriend who had just quit her job went there a few months earlier. She knew a few folks down there. Our plan was to meet up once I got there and then travel together.
I never heard back from her again after she left. I think we were together for more than two years. I don't know how I found out about it, I probably stalked her on Facebook (after she deleted me), but two months later she got married. I think at one point I was even considering to marry her...
And then I never ever saw her again. Well, actually, that's not true. I actually saw her one more time. A few years later. But that's for another time...
So when I was in Canada I bought a small mini van, an old Ford Windstar for $2000 and drove all the way from Montreal to New York, from New York over Colorado, from there to Utah and then to Nevada and then to California.
And then I drove all the way up to Oregon and then from Oregon I went up north to British Columbia. From there I went all the way to Alberta. And from Alberta I entered the US again through Montana and headed to Wyoming and then back to New York. And then Montreal.
Let me tell you this. It was a hell lot of driving...
And it might have been one of the craziest things I've done in my entire life. I was on the road for three months. I basically lived in that van and slept in it the whole time. I wanted to put in a mattress but ended up not doing it. Probably because I was too lazy. So I just slept on the rear bench seat for three months.
Sometimes I also slept at some random people's places who heard my story and let me sleep on their couches. It was winter. So it was pretty cold in most states.
I can still remember one night where I slept somewhere in my car in Colorado (engine off) and when I woke up a sign outside said some temperature in Fahrenheit.
I remember checking what that temperature meant in Celsius and it was below - 20 degrees Celsius. Before I left Germany I bought a sleeping bag that people use when they go to the Himalayas. And that sleeping bag pretty much saved my life.
In total I drove more than 25,000km. Had 5 tires blew up. And I visited almost every National Park in the US and in Canada along the way. It was a hell of an adventure. To say the least...
Another time I was about to meet up with another girlfriend of mine in Vietnam. She was already traveling for a while before we met. And it didn't come as a big surprise to me (even though I didn't expect it) that it was basically over when I met her the airport in Ho Chi Minh. She flew back home a day or so later.
And since then I've basically been on a constant adventure. Things change. Things come and go. Life is a constant coming and going. But even more importantly life is one big adventure. If you allow it to be. And the adventures only stop when you allow other people or things to stop your adventures. To stop living your life.
Life is one big adventure. And the end of one adventure usually marks the beginning of another adventure. But you've gotta make sure that you never stop exploring. No matter what. I know it can be scary out there. And challenging. It always is and it always will be. But at the end of the day it's not about how safe your ride was.
At the end of the day it's about what you did during that ride. The risks you took. The leaps of faith you took. The stupid things you did. The things that didn't go according to plan. The scars you got. The things you might maybe regret while you do them but are always thankful for having done them looking back.
Most things only make sense looking back. Not looking forward.
After all, it's the only ride you have. The only ride you will ever have. So don't let other people, things or events ruin that one ride you have. Just go with the flow, get a few scars here and there, get knocked out and then get back up again. Again and again.
But most importantly never stop going. No matter what you do, never stop moving. Never stop learning. Never stop experimenting. Make sure you never feel stuck. And if you feel stuck do everything you can to get unstuck. Your life depends on it.
That's how all big adventures start.
That's how all of my adventures started.
At one point you decide to just walk.
You put one feet in front of the other.
And slowly but steadily you gain momentum.
You get faster and faster.
And then you never ever stop again.
You tell your story.
And some people will join you.
They will join you and your adventures.
And then they will start their own adventures.
An adventure of a lifetime...