4 Years Out of the Cubicle

Today marks the four-year anniversary of the start of my world travel.

Hard to believe, but it feels like just last week that I shook my manager’s hand as she walked me to the door at IBM and relieved me of my ID badge.

I walked down those steps toward my car like I had done every day for the last seven years with a torrent of mixed emotions. I turned around at the bottom and stood for a minute in the cold December sunshine just wondering if I was making the biggest mistake of my life.

Mistake or not, good or bad, I knew that whatever was going on in that instant was truly life changing and my legs were wobbly with adrenaline.

26 days later my plane was lifting off toward Bangkok. I had a one way ticket in my pocket, a stuffed rucksack in the cargo, a head full of dreams, and no bloody idea what I was doing.

After tasting the sticky jungle air and putting my bare feet on the ground happy every morning, it didn’t take me long to realize that this was big.  I was never going back to a cubicle.

Call it an epiphany, an enlightenment, mid-life crisis, whatever…but I feel like I’ve been given a second chance. I managed to poke the big tentacled corporate monster in the eye and slide out of grasp just as it was shoving me into a slime covered mouth.


It has now been 22 countries later (plus Alaska twice!) and there are no plans to stop. As long as these feet will take me I will keep walking.

As everyone knows, vagabonding isn’t always a day in Disney Land. There have been challenges. I miss paychecks just as much as the next guy, maybe more, and I’m ashamed to bring out what is now the archaic equivalent of a Motorola Flip phone to make calls while everyone else around me in the pub chats about their latest Apple Store download.

Yes, there are challenges.

Dreadful lack of techie toys aside, I couldn’t trade all the wonderful people I have met, the Komodo Dragons, the Grizzly Bears, or even the squat toilets for anything material.

If I keep surviving these close calls and manage not to turn into a senile, drooling, pooping, white haired lunatic, the memories I have invested in are mine forever — long after kids are asking their dad what a “HDTV” was.

So thank you to everyone who has helped me along this beautiful road — the strangers who gave me a place to sleep, the readers who kept me motivated (and sometimes even donated), the heroes, and even the locals for keeping me on my toes.

Life is good.

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13 Responses to “4 Years Out of the Cubicle”

  1. *big smile*

    Cheers to a magnificent marker..a brave wanderer..and a bright soul..

    I’ll meet you on that sunny road, any day! xo

  2. Congrats 🙂 I don’t want to go back to the Matrix either, the paychecks aren’t worth it. Cheers and wishing you the best of continued travels.

  3. Greg,

    You’ve helped many people realize their dreams as well. For those, like myself, that haven’t really started the journey; I now know it’s possible.

    I was stuck in a very bad situation in Iowa when I first stumbled upon your writing. A short time later I packed a duffel bag and went an Interstate on-ramp. I hitch hiked west in hopes of making some money to travel with. I had a great experience on the way out here. I ended up landing the best job I’ve ever had, but don’t worry my dream is still alive.

    I know now that I can live life how I want to, travel the world, see things other people only imagine, and do it without being rich.

    You helped give me hope.
    For this I thank you.

    Congratulations on 4 years!

  4. Greg, what a heartfelt post. I have a feeling my experience might be similar – just a glimmer of being trapped in an airless office, completing tasks I care nothing about for the rest of my life? Ugh, it’s horrifying. Lean, but fulfilling days on the road sounds heavenly to me.

  5. Where’s Brazil in your plans??

  6. your elder Cousin January 28, 2010 at 16:36 pm


    I can honestly say that I had great reservation about your decision at the time …. How could someone so freakin smart and fortunate be willing to “Chuck it All” for a trip to some 3rd world country where the plumbing was marginal or not available. Where you had to sleep in strangers houses or in somewhat questionable conditions. Where the food was not certified by the FDA !!!! lol

    But you know … now I tell friends and sometimes even strangers about my “little cousin” (I’m older than you ..you’ll always be my Little Cousin) who travels the world and writes about the people places and adventures that you’ve had. I sometimes elude to the exotic situations and not to mention Women that you write about and somehow live vicariously through you … SO … I guess I’m trying to say I’m proud of you and your bravery to say “I’m going to do this and make it work for me”!!
    Thanks for being you …..
    Love ya Brother ….

  7. Greg,

    I toast to you, your courage, the dreams you shared with us, the inspiration you provided, the kindnesses you showed and to those tireless legs and wandering mind. May always be a road … on which you find yourself at home.

    Thank you!

  8. Greg, I’m white haired, not yet drooling too much. Can still motate without a walker, and have travelled around the world a few times. But, I must say, reading your travel experiences and excitement about them get me fired up all over again. Happy trails forever.


  9. Congratulations on 4 years. 9 years ago I traded travel for a cube because I decided I needed some roots. Now I am thinking on giving up the cube and going again. But its scary as you know. yet, I know from past life its not really, you would thing having done it before would make it easier.

  10. Congratz on 4 years. Your has been (and will continue to be) an amazing journey. I read that you are in Kentucky. If you don’t mind me throwing this out there, I live in KY and if you’re in the Western area near Paducah, stop by Madisonville. You’d be an interesting person to talk to. Take care and safe journey.

  11. CONGRATZ Greg!! Wow 4 years, i am really impressed. i don’t want our RTW trip to end either i want it to be like yours, i can’t imagine how is going to be going back to the office, help!

  12. Greg, I’m glad I stumbled upon your blog. I’m looking forward to more posts. Journey well, Ellie


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