One-year anniversary of kissing the old life goodbye

I still don't know the name of that fruit

It’s been a year to the day since I officially started My Backpacking Life and hopped an international flight from Chicago. I’ve been on five different continents since then, produced a small amount of reporting, bummed about working when I could, volunteered as a teacher in rural India and a conservationist in rural Ecuador and smiled too much for my own good.

I encountered the limits of freelance journalism and discovered that I don’t have the hustle necessary to pay the bills that way. I also learned that I want to play a more active role in helping the planet and its huddled poor. I’m ready to take off the neutral observer hat and put the gloves of a fighter (even if it means going to graduate school).

I became what amounts to a dual citizen of both the U.S. and India. I’m moving back to Delhi for another extended (indefinite?) stay in a few weeks.

I learned to dive, fell in love with the sport and became obsessed with the oceans. I can’t now foresee a future where I’m not diving regularly. I learned how much I love sea turtles.

I’ve taken more than 16,000 photos.

I lost more than 52 kilograms (about 115 pounds). I had become incredibly overweight and was eating and drinking myself to death. Now, I’m vegetarian and only occasionally go near alcohol. I jog and am seriously contemplating running a half-marathon yet this year.

That’s not to say I don’t miss people and places and things from my old life. I have many fond memories and no real regrets.

But in the photo above, I am tired, sweaty, muddy, smelly and sucking on the remainder of a strange jungle fruit in the Ecuadoran Amazon. I’m also immensely happy with that new me.

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5 Responses to “One-year anniversary of kissing the old life goodbye”

  1. David Chen Says:
    September 3rd, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    Awesome to hear that you’re loving life. Traveling the worlds sounds amazing. Take care!

  2. Daniel Says:
    September 4th, 2010 at 5:14 am

    Adam, this sounds like a fabulous brief summary of an eventful year. Actually, all what you did (and not just what you wrote) seams not to fit into the time -space of 12 months only. In my opinion, it’s always great when we are able to take opportunities to change something completely (to the better, I should add). Often we are too afraid to dare something and to lazy or inert to tackle a new life. Your remarkable list of what you’ve seen and done in the last year should give others who are still caught in the squareness of their lives hope and a signal. Keep on, tons of luck, interesting encounters and mindblowing insights. But between friends: choose a better location than Delhi!

  3. Jan Says:
    September 6th, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    Adam, congrats on all that you have seen, done, experienced, etc. Awesome doesn’t even do it justice, does it? I’m in awe of you. Radical, inspiring changes. I hope that we get to see the new you for a few hours this month before you head back to Delhi. Would be a shame if you family didn’t get to enjoy you and hear about your life and experiences straight from your mouth…although, I, of course, love reading your blog. Love you.

  4. kelly Says:
    September 13th, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    l’chaim! hope to see you uh, tomorrow, actually! neat.

  5. Elie Says:
    October 1st, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    This all makes me smile too. Keep being an awesome human and inspiring others to do the same.

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