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It's Been A Year Since My Trip Around The World Ended

I can't believe it. It's been a FULL year since I returned from my walkabout around the world that to
Living My Legend
It's Been A Year Since My Trip Around The World Ended
By Nico Atienza • Issue #5 • View online
I can’t believe it. It’s been a FULL year since I returned from my walkabout around the world that took me to 21 countries in 387 days of nonstop travel. This trip was the climax of my 19-month sabbatical that began back in 2015.
There is is so much to reflect on from this once in a lifetime experience that I have put it off for a whole year but I’m going to try and start now.

April 21, 2017 (Los Angeles Int'l Airport): All my bags before I boarded my final flight. I only had half of this stuff when I started.
April 21, 2017 (Los Angeles Int'l Airport): All my bags before I boarded my final flight. I only had half of this stuff when I started.
The Final Countdown
I had arrived really early at LAX and the check-in counter for my long flight home wasn’t even open yet. I was hauling all my bags while I tried desperately to find a free seat in the busy terminal.
A seat opened up and I firmly planted myself there until the check-in counter opened. A brief respite. Phew.
After I caught my breath, I called my girlfriend on the phone and there was relief in her voice. I was finally coming home and we were making plans to attend events and catch up with friends, the things that normal couples do.
I eventually boarded the plane, crossed the Pacific Ocean and landed in Manila, Philippines after spending way too much time in planes and airports. 
After I landed and cleared customs in Manila, I looked around and realized that this was the exact terminal I flew out of when I first started this journey. I had come full circle and accomplished the goal I set out for myself: a full circumnavigation of the globe.
It wasn't pretty but that sure looks like an around the world trip to me ☺️
It wasn't pretty but that sure looks like an around the world trip to me ☺️
Life Post Awesome Adventure
I may have landed in the Philippines to close out my trip but I had one more flight left that I needed to make and that was a flight to Colombo, Sri Lanka, my new home.
Colombo was where I was going to rebuild my life with all the clarity and lessons I learned from an almost 2-year sabbatical. I didn’t really need to unpack my bags so I greeted my family and also said my goodbyes again as I got ready to leave for Sri Lanka a few short weeks after arriving in Manila.
As soon as I arrived in Sri Lanka, things moved fast, faster than I would have liked. Within a couple of weeks, I landed an amazing opportunity with a software company in a new role that was a big step up from what I had in my career thus far. A week after that, I signed a lease for an apartment after being a nomad for a seemingly long time. 
I was fortunate that I could delay my start date with my new job which gave me an opportunity come up for air and enjoy the last few weeks of my sabbatical. Oy vey!
A year later and much of it still holds true.
Relief, Surprises + Disappointments
The adventure I went on will probably be what I want etched on my gravestone. It was an experience that I don’t think I will ever top in my lifetime (unless I go to space somehow..) so I was really curious to see how my “normal” life would play out in comparison.
Almost immediately, a sense of relief came over me. I didn’t have planes or buses to catch every few days and I now sleep on the same bed every night. It was also wonderful to be able to spend time with my girlfriend in real life after only being relegated to only hearing her voice for most of my trip.
The biggest surprise to me after coming back was not falling into a post-high depression of some kind. Nonstop traveling becomes a drug and even with the toll it took on my mind and body, I still wanted more of it. Days turned into weeks, months, and quarters and there were no signs of depression. I definitely missed certain aspects of traveling solo but I never became depressed about it.
Without a doubt, the biggest disappointment after coming back was not telling my story online. I had grand plans of writing blog posts till my eyes bled and editing all the video footage I took on my travels, but all of it remains imprisoned in my mind or in digital jail cells in my hard drive. 
The ulterior motive of this sheepish admission is mostly for me to get off my ass and do the work to tell my story but it would help if you could remind me too. This is a story that I need to tell.
The Sahara Desert made me feel like I was in Mars
The Sahara Desert made me feel like I was in Mars
Any Regrets?
I’m surprised that no one has asked me this question yet.
Looking back, nope, I have none. Going on this trip was literally a dream come true with so many moments that will forever be etched in my mind. 
I lived 2 years of my life in a very unconventional way where I made my own rules and forsaken all the things my mother told me to do in order to be a successful adult. And you know what, I kind of dug it.
The biggest lesson I took from this whole experience is the power of freedom on the human spirit. From now on, I’m on a mission for true freedom so I can live a life that I truly want to lead and relish all the triumphs and perils that come with it. 
Make of that what you will. It is clear in my mind.
My best,
Nico

PS - R.I.P. Avicii. I was stunned when I heard the news. Your music will live on! 🙏🏼
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Nico Atienza

A third culture kid discussing expat life in Sri Lanka, technology, travel, and food.

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