Did you know that you can get free accommodation at this particular hotel? With breakfast, lunch, and dinner provided, free of charge? Sounds interesting? They can even pick you up and give you a ride straight to the hotel.

Sometimes they even come knocking down your door and take you back to the hotel, free.  You get a friendly little pat down upon arrival as they relieve you of all unpleasantries such as your belt and shoe for a more comfortable stay.

They even provide a beautiful 24-hour photo and fingerprinting service while you wait.

You can have a pleasant conversation with your chauffeur about your life choices before he processes stuff and takes you to your room, complete with metal bars to keep you safe from the rest of the world.

Here you’ll chill for a couple of hours in benches while other guests arrive and keep your company just in case you get bored and lonely.

Several hours later, your clean-cut, uniformed chauffeur will come back and check on you to see how you’re doing, and with a smile, it’s not often you get that level of service anymore.

On The Road, Watching Vernazza

Watching Vernazza

On The Road

While you marinate in the cozy rooms with interesting but never dull characters, the uniformed staff arrive with a feast on a tray and give your first free meal.

Scrambled eggs?  Absolutely.

Oatmeal?  Yep, present!

Milk?  Uh-huh!

Hash browns?  Boo yeah jackpot!

While the meals themselves might have come from the trash bin of the local hole in the wall restaurant, you at least get to share it with your new-found mates inside that cozy room while one them relieves himself from the conveniently available latrines.

It sure makes “going” efficient, and you don’t even have to flush.

At Atacama

Atacama Desert

When the room gets too crowded, no worries, you get transferred to another place where they give you a beautiful little bracelet memorabilia, and you join a group of people wearing orange shirts and pants.

They’re a lively bunch, talkative, some may yell and shout and curse at you, but they mean well.  Once you’re settled in, you have the new room to enjoy for another 12 hours before you sober up from the previous night’s festivities and contemplate the meaning of life.

The hotel?

You still don’t know what this hotel is? Let me preface it with a little story. A story of how I started traveling.

Three years ago, I slammed a vehicle I was driving into a parked car at midnight.

The police came and sorted the situation and determined I was driving under the influence.

They slapped me the handcuffs, threw me in the back of the police car and chauffeured me to the 1-star hotel mentioned, otherwise known as the Sacramento Jail.

There I would spend the next 32 hours in what I would consider hell on earth.

That night started like any other night. I worked that day the same as any other day.

A shift at 8-11 hours toiling inside gray cubicle walls doing functions that have no significance in the scheme of life — a career that paid the rent and put food on the table but a job of monotony.

I’ve been doing it so long that had stripped the passion that used to course through my veins back when I was an idealistic college student.

The race to get to the top of the corporate ladder was all that’s left of the fire and desire that was once there to make a difference in the world.

On The Road, View Of The Carpathians

View Of The Carpathians

What have I been doing for the last ten years? I often ask myself. My life has been spent pursuing the so-called American dream that society has ingrained in me since my induction into American society.

Get a better job that pays more so you can buy more. The media and TV is a constant barrage of 30-second snippets of products and things you don’t need but convinces you that you need the product before it hits the allotted 30-second mark.

Buy this and buy that. Can’t afford it? Here’s a new credit card with zero percent interest for six months. Buy this new product. It will improve your life and make you happy.

You need to make more money to buy more stuff. You need to work longer hours, so the corporations selling you all the crap and products you don’t need can get richer and richer.

Those 30-second snippets will repeat for the next 30 years of your life, brainwashing you to stay within the system.

On The Road, Touristy But Worth It In The End

Touristy But Worth It In The End

Climb the ladder long enough, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll see the reward at the top and perhaps give meaning to the 30 years you’ve spent climbing it, and you can tell yourself that it was all worth it in the end.

Like a rat in an experimental cage following his nose in the maze to get to the cheese at the right exit.

You justify the hours spent on those cubicle walls doing menial tasks that don’t make a difference in anyone’s lives by buying yourself something, like a new 60” Flat screen TV or a more beautiful car.

Maybe the bigger house or the new fancy couch will make you happy. At least a justification for the 10 hours a day you’ve worked for it.

Maybe all these things can fill in the void that’s been missing in your life since you signed the contract to sell yourself as a slave to the corporate world.

But no matter how you compute it, whatever it is you’re doing is just making the man richer than he already is.

No matter how you justify it, not if it matters in life. Not long hours. The fancy cars. The big house.

You won’t remember any of it when you’re on your deathbed.

But you will come to regret the things you didn’t do, and at 38 years old (2013), you start to think about those things you could have done.

So you numb yourself.

You numb yourself from the divorce, the mortgage, the multiple car leases, and all the material things you thought made you happy. You numb yourself from the broken dreams. Dreams to see the world. The dream that was never fulfilled from having to work to pay off the debt at the get-go.

Right at the start of your career, I became a slave to the system. The better part of my life was spent pursuing things that the system made me believe I need to have a “happy” life, the proverbial “American Dream,” so to speak.

Always Wanderlust Torres Del Paine: Day Three image 4

Torres del Paine

So it wasn’t a big surprise that I hit rock bottom. I didn’t even panic. I didn’t feel the need to worry. I accepted my fate.

It was all my fault — a lapse of irresponsibility. I was very fortunate that no one got hurt because I wouldn’t know what to do.

So, when I got out of the county jail, I consulted my lawyer to have him motion a stay on the case for six months while I figure my life out.

I got rid of all the furniture and big items and locked everything else into storage and purchased a one-way ticket to France.

Always Wanderlust Chasing Japow in Hakuba image 10

Snowboarding in Japan

Was I running away?

Yes. I ran away from the 9 to 5 that I will do for the rest of my life and where I will lay on my deathbed many years from now regretting all the things I should have done but have not.

I ran away from the desire to purchase the new car or the bigger house because my next-door neighbor bought a bigger car and added a new garage to his home.

Allegre And I

Horse Riding in Cusco

I ran away from the constant barrage that the media or television feed you that somehow having more things or having a shiny car gave your life meaning.

As if having a billion dollars is better than living a life full of amazing experiences.

Well, here’s a stark realization. No amount of money can ever buy back time.

When it comes to time, no one is richer than anyone.

We all have a finite amount of it. I ran away from the life I didn’t want and ran into a life I wanted — a life of adventure and experiences.

On The Road, Wengen, Bergen

Wengen, Bergen

The “free” accommodation cost me 12 thousand dollars. Not so free. One year of DUI courses with a bunch of repeat offenders (and I promised myself never to become one).

One month of a work project. I had to install an interlock device in my car, and it won’t start unless I blow into it (annoying as fuck). I can’t go to Canada without paying a massive fee and lengthy appeal because DUI counts as a felony there.

The moral of the story.


Always Wanderlust Why you should travel alone (at least once) image 2

Paella Cooking Class in Barcelona

I’m glad it all happened. It was a wake-up call. I needed to change my life and stop being a slave to the system. No more accumulating things that tie down from travel. No more putting up with a two week a year vacation.

There will be a paradigm shift where the money isn’t the goal — no more excuses why I can’t travel.

I don’t care if I have to live in a shack as long as I can feed my new found addiction, the travel addiction. I will live a life of seeking experiences, not things.

A life of Always Wanderlust.



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