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The story behind my journeys

February 17, 2010

I’ve been boosted to write this post by a recent interesting comment, highlighting that I barely mention how and why I chose my destinations.

Ready to fly!

So… What’s the story behind my journeys? Well, I’d rather say there’s more than one. Big stories and smaller ones, that changed over the years and are intimately linked to my personal life.

As a student: around Europe backpacking and camping

As most people, when I was a University student I had little money and lots of time. I traveled through most European countries, backpacking and camping. No oversea journeys at that time, mostly because flights were far more expensive than they are today. Since I grew up in Switzerland, in a small village in the mountains, I was keen of visiting the main European cities. That was making such a huge difference! Moreover, I was (well, still am) passionate of art so I felt doubly excited: by the energy of the city, as opposed to the calm of my little village, and by the possibility to visit awesome museums, art exhibitions and historical landmarks.

Cappadocia lunar landscape, Photo by National Geographic

I discovered most of the main European capitals, traveled around in Spain, Greece, Turkey, France, the UK, the Netherlands, Austria, the ex-Yugoslavia. The Nordic countries were off-limits because far too expensive for Italians, even backpacking and camping.

Among the many travels of those years, the places that impressed me at most were Turkey (especially the lunar landscape in Cappadocia and the Ephesus archaeological site), Prague (communism was still well in place, and tourists were strictly controlled), Spain (so many architectural jewels).

First job in Investment Banking, the seek for adventure and remote countries

Prayer flags in Nepal, Photo by National Geographic

Don’t imagine lots of money pouring down on me. That was not the case. I started from the lower level, which means with the minimum salary. However, although in the early years money was little it was far more than I was used to, so I began exploring new countries overseas.

In fact, the major force driving me toward faraway countries was the nature of the job. Investment banking is hard work and long hours, only a few weekends out and months without a single free day. When I could finally take some holiday I felt so tired and stressed that I was longing only for one thing: going far away, in a place totally different, where space and time do not have the same meaning and, clearly, where no-one could reach me. That’s how I chose to explore Morocco, then Yemen, Nepal, Thailand, Guatemala. True that I could have pointed at easier and more relaxing destinations, let’s say Maldives, or the Caribbean. The fact is that the bank is one of the most formal working environment, and holidays to me meant also being myself  and keeping things cool. That’s also the time when I started traveling alone. The relationship with my partner was over and there was no way of finding friends ready to stroll around with a girl who was never sure to leave until the day before departure.

Second job as a PR, in love with nature, outdoor and sports

Akakus Desert in Algeria, Photo by Simon

The year 2000 was a turning point. I started a new job, I got scuba diving certification become passionate of the amazing underwater  world and I fully realized that I really didn’t like living in a city and was always striving for outdoor activities. I began to escape. Short escapes in the weekends, longer ones as soon as possible.

Nature and sports became often the main drivers in the choice of the destinations, as I started looking for places combining awesome scenarios, outdoor activities and different cultures and traditions. In the recent years I discovered the Grenadines by sailing boat, I visited Bali and then admired the islands around Komodo experiencing a scuba diving live-aboard, I traveled Peru and had a few hikes in the Andes, I enjoyed the beauty of the Algerian desert camping every night in a different place. And then other journeys to Philippines, Venezuela, Indonesia, Brazil, Australia, Egypt, Sudan.

And now…

I’ve been lucky enough to see and enjoy awesome places, but there are still so many to discover and I know that one single life won’t be enough!

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. February 18, 2010 1:41 pm

    I studied abroad as a student in undergrad and I plan on doing it again when I’m in grad school. I wish my job took me all over the world. Although it might be a little stressful working and trying to explore a new place at the same time. I’d probably have to give up on traveling just to keep my job. But I guess it’s easier for people living in Europe to travel to different places. In the US, our closest neighbors are Canada and Mexico.

  2. February 19, 2010 5:39 pm

    Fabulous! You’ve been so many places and seen so many wondrous things. Looks like you’ll have very few regrets in the future.

    • waitinginthedark permalink*
      February 24, 2010 10:47 pm

      Mmm… You know, in Italian there is a famous saying that is ‘la fame vien mangiando’… Tentative translation is ‘the more you eat, the mosre you get hungry’… It’s true that compared to lots of people I’ve been very lucky and I’ll probably have few regrets. But the curiosity hasn’t change, as the passion for discovery (no matter if it’s a place, a culture, an emotion…)

  3. unbjames permalink
    February 24, 2010 7:45 pm

    I have also made the leap from a boring corporate existence to a career driven by sports/recreation … it’s great to be free from having a job for the sole reason of chasing $$$$’s!

    • waitinginthedark permalink*
      February 24, 2010 10:34 pm

      I guess many people – whether forced or not – did that choice. What I can tell is that I certainly earn less money but I also am far more happy!

  4. March 7, 2010 4:45 am

    Hi Simone, It’s great to read this post. Like you and so many others, I started traveling with a backpack and then, as life evolved, so did my travels. It was fun to learn how your life evolved and the new directions your travels took along the way.

    • waitinginthedark permalink*
      March 7, 2010 8:38 am

      Hi Janice, it’s nice to know that you enjoyed the post. Indeed, I got the inspiration from the Global Bloggers Network and the precious advices and encouragements of its members. So… you (and Keith) bear the greatest responsibility for this sudden inspiration 🙂

  5. March 16, 2010 4:51 pm

    Great account of your journey to be an adventurer – loved the progress from impoverished student via the world of finance to today. (Fab photo of balloons over Cappadochia) I too started out physically journeying as a student – tho I had travelled a lot in my mind before then. Thanks for sharing this Simone 🙂

    • waitinginthedark permalink*
      March 16, 2010 5:10 pm

      Hi Zoe, thanks for your lovely comment. Yes, the photo of balloons over Cappadocia is amazing! As are all pictures taken by National Geographic!
      What I tried to express (not quite sure I succeeded…) is that money – although a little of it is necessary – is not the most important thing to go and travel. Being a traveler (at least in my opinion) is first of all a mindset. No matter going far or near. There’s everywhere something awesome to discover, it’s just a matter of keeping one’s heart open. Ehm… I may say it just a matter of being… quirky… 🙂

Trackbacks

  1. Story Behind Journeys | Global Bloggers Network
  2. The Top 5 Adventure Travels on my wish list « eXplorer

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