As I was sitting on the plane on my way back to the USA from my new home in Medellin, Colombia (for my first extended stay in almost 24 months), I was inspired to put together a list of a few things (65 of them to be exact) that I have learned over the course of my journey that I would like to share with all those who are close to me. Thanks to all of the amazing people I have met and the impact you have had on my life forever.
Over the past 24-ish months of my life, I have learned...
1.) How to say “no” and not feel upset about turning people down. I know I’m not going to please everyone and sometimes people are going to be unhappy with me. It’s better to be honest and direct from the start.
2.) I am perfectly okay with who I am, right now and forever.
3.) Being selfish can be a very good thing.
4.) Shitty and judgmental people exist in every country and you’ll find them wherever you go. You have to roll with the punches and practice diplomacy.
5.) I like to have my own space.
6.) Personal autonomy is the most important thing to me in my life right now.
7.) It’s hard to maintain a healthy diet when you’re living in different countries and trying to blend into a new culture.
8.) It’s easiest to experience a different culture and start blending in right away if you go out for drinks and get hammered with local dudes.
9.) It’s hard to explain to your new local friends the sad truth that you don’t like to routinely drink as much as you did that one Saturday you met each other at the club when you were half-naked on the dance floor, beasting with a bottle of Rose in your hand, smoking cigars together.
10.) The best things to experience within another culture are found outside of activities that involve heavy drinking.
11.) More than half of the foreigners you meet when living abroad kind of suck.
12.) I have become a completely different person than I was three years ago (physically, mentally, spiritually, in every way).
13.) I am okay with the fact that not everything in my life is planned out and I have learned to live with ambiguity.
14.) I’m addicted to dating foreign girls and the emotion of love conquers all language barriers.
15.) I am more creative than I ever gave myself credit for and need to lean on that skill more often.
16.) I really enjoy writing something to start my days.
17.) I am most productive at the beginning of my days between the hours of 7AM and 10AM after a 45 minute walk, a creative burst, and cup of Colombian brewed coffee.
18.) I’m a one hundred percent better person when I haven’t had too much to drink.
19.) I am obsessed with hiking….usually by myself.
20.) I can either be incredibly outgoing or incredibly shy depending on the situation.
21.) If you’re scared to do something in life, you should probably do it.
22.) If you ask other people for advice, most likely you are just looking to validate what you’re going to do anyway. Just go ahead and get on with it.
23.) The only emotion in the world that matters is love. Nothing else is real.
24.) People get really confused when they meet me and try to figure out what I’m all about.
25.) There are at least two other people in the world that have the same birthday as me (Michael Quinn and Darren Moon).
26.) I love spending time alone watching documentaries.
27.) I want to get married and have a family someday.
28.) I want to travel even more and do greater things with my life.
29.) I need to focus on being me and going all in on my strengths. I am capable of creating anything that I wish to manifest.
30.) I’m really afraid of heights and don’t like paragliding (though I’m headed Skydiving tomorrow!).
31.) I’m a hopeless romantic.
32.) I get really annoyed when people try to make me take shots when I am out at a bar and I’m not in the mood.
33.) I have mostly a hate relationship with loud clubs and discotecas (expect on occasion)…I’d prefer a date and a nice calm evening almost every time.
34.) I am a natural born runner and regardless of whether my knees give out on me in a couple years, I will keep chugging along as long as possible.
35.) I want to inspire people to stop living mundane and mediocre lives by sharing with them what I have learned and helping them to overcome the common roadblocks that hinder people from achieving their true potential.
36.) I am really good at meeting dudes and talking forever. I am less good at holding long conversations with new girls that I meet…haven’t put my finger on it yet.
37.) When I’m in the mood and take my time, I am capable of creating great art.
38.) Acquiring a habit of consistent mediation has quite possibly been the most beneficial thing for me in life.
39.) Learning about the world through direct experience and prolonged periods of foreign residency is the only way to truly gain an understanding of another country.
40.) Saying goodbye never gets easier and I want to do less of it. I’ve cried more times than I want to admit about parting ways with the incredible people I have met over the past 24 months.
41.) You’re never too old, broke, or stuck in a situation to take chances. There’s always an excuse to not do something. It takes a true warrior to look at the maze of life and figure out how to transform it into something that you want it to look like.
42.) Being a tall white guy on the stage at a club in Gangnam is quite possibly the biggest ego boost in the world.
43.) It’s easier to pick up Korean girls when you roll to the club with 7 Korean guys.
44.) Korea quite possibly has the widest variety of food on the planet.
45.) Spending time at a couple Buddhist temples can change you forever.
46.) Dog meat doesn’t taste good.
47.) Korean people generally don’t get enough recognition for how warm hearted they are.
48.) For such a small country, Korea has more natural beauty to offer per square mile than most places I have ever been.
49.) I don’t want to be a scuba diving instructor. Scuba diving everyday in the most beautiful part of the world actually gets boring if you do it three times a day.
50.) You’re an asshole if you say something like the statement I just made in 49.
51.) How to classify and correctly identify at least 10 types of coral and 50 species of fish is a neat piece of knowledge to have.
52.) Living on an island for more than a month, away from civilization WILL drive you insane and you will start to hallucinate.
53.) Taking a shit and turning around to find a snake in the toilet bowl will make you a “hoverer” for life. Andrew Stock
54.) Chasing monitor lizards out of your kitchen so you can make breakfast is not cool.
55.) Bintang is one of the worst beers that I have ever had.
56.) The most beautiful girls in the world live in Medellin, Colombia.
57.) Cartagena is a great city for a weekend visit but it is too damn hot.
58.) The most enjoyable parts of Medellin, Colombia are actually found outside of the city.
59.) Most of the Colombians I know don’t actually like coffee. They drink hot chocolate in the morning.
60.) Aguardiente sucks. Sin azucar o con azucar….it doesn’t matter. Ugh.
61.) American dance moves don’t impress Latin women. It amazes me how different USA and Latin culture are in that regard.
62.) I can’t salsa dance at all.
63.) I need to learn how to salsa dance.
64.) Bandeja Paisa is best served without the Chicharron.
65.) I’ve learned that I am not done growing and becoming a better person. I’ll continue to have ups and downs in my life but I’ll never stop moving forward.
Thank you to everyone who is an important part of my life and has helped me to become the man I am today. The amount of happiness and love radiating from inside of me is a direct result of the influence that you have had on me and the blessings you have shared.