Traveler Interviews – Chris
Who are you and what is your motivation to travel?
I was born in Pasadena, California, but I grew up and I have lived most of my life in Chile. I have been traveling for about 6 years now, and since I was a kid I had been interested in traveling. As a child, I practiced and was a fan of everything that had to do with skateboarding and always in the movies you could see places where I imagined being there. On the other hand, as I had a father who lived in the US, I always received gifts from my family, so from I was very young I was aware of the world and of course, I wanted to now it.
Related to the question about motivation, I would say that at university I felt very demotivated and I felt that I was wasting my time, and when traveling, I found the possibility of having new experiences, and it was motivating since, under my philosophy of life, the only thing that matters is the experiences you may have. When you die, the only thing that will be valid will be what you lived. All the money and everything else will go on, but life experiences such as knowing different places, different people and even different languages, is something much more valuable. It is also an opportunity to face oneself, to overcome all those fears and barriers that your mind creates and in the end it allows you to know yourself more deeply and finally become someone better. That is something that I really appreciate about traveling. While you never stop learning and I certainly lack much, compared to how I was before, I feel that I have grown a lot and I certainly owe it to traveling.
What do you feel that has changed in relation to the first time you traveled and what was the most difficult about it?
Now I feel much more confident, since I already crossed those barriers in relation to the fear of the unknown, about what will happen, and on the other hand also to overcome certain people who tell you not to go, to follow the established path by graduating from a career, earning money, buying the house and to do what most people are basically looking for. It is quite difficult since you usually have many fears and you often find in those comments the excuse for not doing what you really want to do.
Facing a new country, leaving behind the family and friends and confronting new people, often even with a different language, do your best to get a job. At first, it is difficult to deal with all this, but once the big step is taken, one realizes that it was not so difficult, one realizes that things can be done and that fears can always be overcome. You live only once in a lifetime and if you don’t do things at the moment that life gives the opportunity you can regret that. Now I can say that I have achieved one of the biggest dreams I always had, for this reason, it continues motivating me to continue with this life.
It is important to live in the moment, and I feel that now it is what motivates me to live. I feel tremendously grateful for the things I have lived thanks to traveling. The experiences that life has given me, and who I have become thanks to all this. I also believe that there have been costs in this, such as having a more stable life, but I always think about the present and that is what I feel I have to do at this moment. I feel there is nothing cuter than traveling. Meeting people, new places, being able to face your fears. Those are things that many people do not do during their life and most of the time they end up being people who do not react to life, and that often do not live or enjoy their life. Now I am going to New Zealand in a few days, a new country, a new experience and a completely new challenge for me. So I live it intensely. I already have some experience on this and I feel very confident that things will work out well. I think this is the stage of my life that I want to live, and we’ll see later if I look for something more stable in some moment, but for now, I just want to live this experience as intense as I can.
How have you done it to travel so much? What advice would you give to other travelers who want to travel?
Well, in general terms, I can say that by having a US passport I have been fortunate because I’m not only being able to travel without problems but also being able to test my luck in places like New York or Hawaii, experiences that clearly not everyone can have. Even so, and despite my luck, I think it is possible for anyone to live this kind of experience. If it is not this place, it may be another. Anyway, these experiences demand you to work hard. Many mistakenly believe that by going to another country things will be easy, when in fact, it can often be a very difficult experience. You have to fight and work hard to get the things you want, although logically there are countries where for the level of wages and quality of life, you can get things much easier and faster than in other countries.
It is normal and natural that at times you may want to give up and to return to your home country, but you must have the mental strength to persist since sooner or later there will come a time when you will feel very gratifying to have overcome all difficulties. You have to work hard, but I assure you that the reward will be gigantic, especially because they know that very few have achieved what you have done. You will remember me when I say that you will live unique and unforgettable experiences that will remain in the heart until you die. Those are things that nobody can take away from you and that you cannot buy with money, those are things that you need to live.
What is your favorite place in the world?
I would probably say Japan because it is a country very different from what we Westerners are used to. The mixture of the old with the new is something impressive. The respect for the elderly is at another level, and it is a very different world. They achieve a mix of new technologies, keeping certain old traditions and knowledge that makes it a very special place. It has a very different environment and system compared to what we know. It is a country that gives a lot of value to respect, and you can see it for example in the service you receive when you go to a restaurant. It’s one of the best in the world. On the other hand, Hawaii is also a place that I love in the world. I lived there for a long time, so I have very good friends. It is a place open to different people, there is no racism, and you live slower. Also, I love it because it has allowed me to do the two sports that I love, such as skydiving and surfing, which are two things that I love doing above all the other things in life. The nature present on the island is impressive, and mixed with the possibility of sharing with different races such as Filipinos, Maori, Samoans, is something quite unique. Well, both are islands so I guess I’m an island man, but both are more than recommended. They are obviously not perfect places, but they really special.
What does traveling mean to you?
I think it’s the most successful thing I’ve done in my life. If you asked me if I would change any of these decisions I have made, I would say no. The decision to leave everything behind was the right decision, and I feel very proud to have lived the experiences that I have lived. Having the possibility to meet people who think totally different from you, is something unique, in which you realize how conditioned we are living in a normal society. Traveling, and being in another country, is something unique and although it is not perfect, and often you may suffer, as anywhere else. But being in another country, far from home, being able to overcome the obstacles that arise, helps you to strengthen the mind. You must overcome the fear because it will always be part of the process and it may become a great obstacle that sometimes makes you feel paralyzed and that some times limit us from doing the things we really want.
How do you see yourself in the future?
I see myself still traveling, although for natural reasons you get older and things may become more difficult, so it is recommended to travel when you are young, and you have more energy. I hope I can reach a moment where I can share all the knowledge that I have been acquiring over the years, and try to create a business related to tourism. I hope to continue surfing and parachuting and to meet up with the friends I’ve made along the way all over the world. I hope at some point to have children, motivate them not only to travel but also, to learn the same or more than me. I hope to continue working on my personal growth, to become the best human being I can be, living in peace with the universe, animals and everything around me.