From the beginning of this trip, I kept having these inner battles with myself deciding what path I needed to take in my life. Leaving a solid newspaper job to go freelance and travel in South America for half a year wasn’t the safe thing career wise to do. And my peers and advisors cautioned against it. Looking back I don’t regret my decision for a second. Along the way, a face in passing gave me this story as a means of meditation on the journey. I thought it to be the perfect fit for a closing thought for my trip and for anyone who, like me has struggled with indecision. I share it here with you now. Until the next adventure. -Mike Greener

In Passing – by Sterling Hayden, Sailor 1916-1986

To be truly challenging a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise you are doomed to a routine traverse… the kind known to yachtsmen, who play with their boats at sea—”cruising” it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen and to the wanderers of the voyage who cannot, or will not, fit in. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about.

“I’ve always wanted to sail to the South Seas, but I can’t afford it.” What these men can’t afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of “security.” And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine and before we know our lives are gone.

What does a man need—really need? A few pounds of food a day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in—and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That’s all—in the material sense. And we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention from the sheer idiocy of the charade.

The years thunder by. The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed.

Where then lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of the purse or bankruptcy of life?

Panama came and went. It wasn’t it’s fault. Unfortunately we had no choice but to quickly make our way through it. It is another country that deserves another look for another trip. Beautiful when it wasn’t pouring buckets of rain. This morning Eric and I arrived in Chicago from Costa Rica, to be greeted by the folks. As a whole, Eric and I both felt that our journey has been an epic adventure. But I think everyone who has ever been on a long trip grows anxious at the end to come home to the familiar. When you run out of money, it is amazing how quickly the outside world crashes back into your life where thoughts of the journey, excitement and the unknown give way to the responsible thoughts of getting an income and supporting yourself. It is a bitter taste after 5 months of so much freedom. But in the end, it is a temporary pause for work, that once completed, allows you to get back to a point when you can let the travel bug loose again. I can´t wait.