“Welcome to Kyle Goes Global!!” – My First Video Blog!

Welcome to Kyle Goes Global! I leave in less than 24 hours and wanted to introduce myself to all of my current and future readers! A giant thank you to my family, especially my parents for raising me so well and instilling confidence in me to know that I can do anything I set my mind to. To my sisters for being supportive and excited for me. My friends – thank you for the farewell parties and all the great times! Chicago has been incredible, I’ll be back in the future, but for now, the next year or so belongs to Central and South America and a never ending exploration of the volcanoes in Central America and the jungles of South America! Stay in touch and I’d love to hear all of your comments – that’s why I’m doing this blog – as a way for you all to follow my journey, but also has a self made journal of my trip, and ultimately, I want to inspire each and everyone of you that you can travel too! Set your mind it, save a few dollars each week, and it will become a reality before you know it. Enjoy my posts, photos, and videos and WELCOME TO KYLE GOES GLOBAL!! The adventures begin tomorrow!! -Kyle

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Less than a Week til my RTW Trip

Less than a week…..6 days….143 hours.

Wow. Wow. Wow.

It feels like a lot has changed in the past month since I wrote Less Than Two Months til my RTW trip, but at the same time like almost nothing has changed. As far as progress on my trip planning goes, its been pretty much set and untouched for ages now.  I’ve made a few purchases this past month, but not nearly as many as I should have – hopefully will do that …. tonight??

Purchases & Decisions made this past month:

  • Purchased ASUS Android Tablet / Lap Top
  • Case for ASUS
  • Purchased Olympus Tough TG-810
  • Extra camera battery / accessories
  • Decided, I think, on taking my 40 liter pack
  • Two more pairs of Exoficio boxers – to bring my trip total to four
  • MSR Travel Towel
  • 16GB SD Card – Decided against getting an Eye-Fi card

Purchases I need to make still:  (Would love your advice / opinion on all these)

  • A day pack to attach to my pack – or bring an old school backpack?
  • Two more moisture wicking shirts – to bring my trip total to four
  • Chacos / Tevas Sandals vs. my Rainbow Flip Flops – I LOVE them and already own, but unsure how suitable they are for off the beaten path
  • Zinetic Pocket Slippers – to let my feet breathe on long bus rides
  • GoPro 2 or GoPro3 – Will likely wait for price drop on the new GoPro3, hope for it as a gift, and also see if I find myself in many situation where I wish I had one vs. only my Olympus
  • Utility Knife
  • Whistle / Compass / LED Light – All in One
  • First Aid Kit
  • External HD Case
  • Head Torch?
  • Travel Lock
  • Duct Tape?  (Seriously, I’ve heard of so many travelers swearing by it for anything)
  • Travelers Health Insurance – yikes, just remembered that now!
  • Flickr vs. Picasa?
I will update you with my packing list and pictures in the next few days…in theory anyway, I have so much I need to do still, and I leave in SIX days.
I’ve been saying my good-byes for a bit more than a week now, starting with one of my sister’s leaving for university, I had my farewell, Kyle Goes Global, party last Saturday and saw all sorts of friendly faces – I really appreciate you all coming out!  I’ve been getting drinks with other friends and former RTW travelers who I met at Meet, Plan, Go – thank you Bessie, from @OurOwnPath for all of your Latin America insight!

My pic for “10 Days to Go til My Trip!!” with downtown Chicago in the background

As a note to upcoming extended travelers – the last few weeks are expensive, buying gear / last minute supplies, and all of the dinners/drinks add up quick too!  Account for this in your budgets.
Other things going on this week – I managed to self host my blog, and you will see minor changes in the near future – as long as I’m able to successfully transfer for my domain and articles.  I also upgraded themes, and then realized that I was stressing far too much about all of its formatting and learning an entirely new theme, that I’m going to postpone any theme updates for a few months and try and utilize plug-ins to make my blog as user friendly and interactive as I can.  I would love ANY advice in this regard!
On this note too – please resubscribe to my blog via email at the top of the right side bar, in the self-host transfer, I lost all of my website views as well as subscribers, and I’d love for you to stay up to date with each and everyone of my adventures!  (It’s supposed to updated anyway – I’m having some MAJOR issues transferring my ‘name servers’ because my account is not ‘active’ despite saying it is ‘active’ – but also saying “Transfer pending”)  Any help here?
On Saturday afternoon, I Skyped with a new friend, Lauren, @LaurRAINS – an amazing girl, lover of micro-adventures and always on her feet living an active lifestyle!  She is the editor and founder of www.OutdoorMindedMag.com.  OMM is filled photo essays, interviews, stories, and exclusive series from individuals who see outdoor travel as more than just an activity, but an identity and lifestyle.  I will be featured as the Latin America Ambassador on OMM, contributing regularly about my escapades and adventures.  Be on the look out, I’m really looking forward to it!
Now… I leave in 6 days – kind of crazy.  I went out with friends who have known me for 20 years last night and one of them asked me if I was worried/stressed.  I insta-responded, “Nope.”  I’m not really stressed at all, minus when I was trying to transfer my blog to its new theme, but I’m not stressed because I know everything will fall into place.  And if it doesn’t, I’m going on the journey of a lifetime!
A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.
-Lao-Tzu
I have a few more things to sell, I’m hoping to sell my bed on Craigslist this evening, let’s hope the person doesn’t flake like so many other Craigslisters have.  As a whole though, it’s been a great experience, and I will have made over $1,500 by Selling My Life on Craigslist over these past four months.  In addition, you can meet some great people – two awesome tales – I sold an old suitcase that I had acquired to a girl who was leaving in the morning for six weeks in Africa.  This past weekend, I sold my dresser to a couple, and his former coworker quit his job to motorcycle around South America for three years.  Who knew CL could provide so much networking?!

I hope you’ve been able to follow this post – I’m well aware it’s been all over the place, but that’s a direct correlation to how my life has been these past few weeks.  Between giving my two weeks notice, I’m working right up until this Friday and leave Tuesday morning, to selling my things, to moving unexpectedly– it’s just been crazy!  I’ll cap off my post with my first week of travel plans….

(nothing… nothing… nothing…)

Chichen Itza, Mexico

Tulum, Mexico

Oh that’s right, I don’t really have plans?  I’m flying into Cancun, arriving at 1pm, so I’m debating not even booking a hostel for night one.  Kick off my adventure with a bang, why not?!  Over the next few days, My plan is to trek out to Chichen Itza, possibly Merida, a quick pit stop in Playa del Carmen where I may have connections there through the Dunkin Donuts manager (What a great story in itself!), and heading towards Tulum.  I’m going to try and make a few more posts this week, capture my thoughts, whether they’re at a mile a minute or not.

Any last minute tips or advice?  I’d love to hear it!  Wish me luck!

-Kyle Goes Global…..in Six Days.

Categories: Pre-Trip | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

Meet, Plan, Go – RTW Travelers Unite!

I experienced my first ever Meet, Plan, Go on Tuesday – a national event that I have been looking forward to for 6+ months.  I discovered it via other bloggers and from Bootsnall’s daily emails.  Essentially what Meet, Plan, Go is is a convention of former and future Round The World (RTW) travelers who are looking to share as well as gain knowledge about life on the road.  It’s about inspiring future travelers to take the leap, go on their career break, and make it happen.  It’s a room full of like minded people who “get it.”  Everyone understands the concept about a ‘Career Break’ or long term travel and the aura of the entire room is overwhelmingly positive.  The returnees cannot wait to share about their explorations and how it is possible for each and every person in the room to follow their dreams of extended travel.  The future career breakers are all ears – soaking in every word from the panelists.  Their knowledge gained and the positive reinforcement will have them on their own quest in the near future.

I had an incredible time at Meet, Plan, Go – as I said, I was looking forward to it for months and bought my ticket the day they went on sale.  Friends and family love to hear your travel stories, but after a while interest may feign.  At Meet, Plan, Go, EVERYONE loves to talk about travel!  There was so much inspiration throughout the night which was lead by Lisa Lubin (LL World Tour) and several panelists returning from their respective RTW trips.  I hope that this post will capture my experience as well as encourage you to attend MPG in the future and look into achieving your own career break! Tuesday, October 16, 2012 I arrive home from work just in time for the weekly Tuesday Travel Talk on Twitter (#TTOT) travel discussion hosted by various twitter users around the globes.  (To be explained in a future post)  I make my way to Bar Louie and see this final Tweet from Josh & Caroline from Traveling 9 to 5:

I make my way to Bar Louie and I am greeted with a line waiting to get into MPG – I could already feel the positive vibes emanating from the room.  I was welcomed with a warm smile from one of the panelists, attach my name tag with an ice breaker which included:

Name

PreviousTravel Destination

Future Travel Destination

I make my way to the far side of the room and I’m greeted instantaneously by the ever so sweet, Ann Becker, who immediately recognizes me only from our previous Twitter discussions and I have been looking forward to meeting her for quite some time now.  She is an expert in Costa Rican travel as well as consulting.  We share a few pleasant words before she resumes conversation with a fellow traveler and I introduced myself to another young aspiring traveler, Amber. She was the perfect person to attend MPG – ready to travel, wanting to travel, but she had a few questions and concerns before being fully committed and confirming that travel was the right decision for her.  They were very reasonable concerns – she asked many of the same questions I had only a few months back – prior to my decision to take the leap.   As a whole, with a little encouragement and the reassurance that Meet, Plan, Go provided – I have no doubt that she will be exploring the world in no time!

While Amber and I were speaking, I received a tap on my shoulder, I looked over and I was asked “Are you Kyle Goes Global?”  A giant grin overwhelmed my face as someone who I had never met before recognized me from following my blog.  Montana was a fellow Illini grad and looking forward to traveling soon too.  After a brief conversation, it was time for MPG to officially begin.  Lisa introduced herself and the other panelists who each gave a word of advice and a tale of their adventure and then she captivated the audience with an inspiring speech and video about all of the positive aspects of RTW travel.  I could feel the excitement in the air, I knew MPG would live up to the pedestal I’d put it on for months and I was eager to meet more travelers!

Lisa introduced the crowd to each of the panelists who spoke about their respective travels.  They each addressed various concerns that your everyday traveler has and spoke about how they were easily able to acclimate back into their former or new career fields.  Next, we were introduced to the Family on Bikes via Skype, who biked from Alaska to Argentina with their two sons between the ages of 10 and 13 while on their three year journey.  What a story!

As we broke into small groups for more Q&A and information, I introduced myself to Kyle & Bessie Crum, from @OurOwnPath.  It was great to put a name to a face, as Bessie and I had been tweeting about Spanish language schools in Guatemala just a few weeks earlier.  They have an incredible story being on the road traveling, living and working for 4.5 years!  Next, I introduced myself to Ryan and Laura from @RoundWeGo and told them how I’d been tweeting with Josh and Caroline from Traveling 9 to 5 in #TTOT just prior to MPG.  They met at MPG in a previous year and stayed in touch ever since.  MPG provides these opportunities – it’s such a great place to learn about travel and meet people who have actually done it and arrived home safely with stories to last a life time! We spent the next ~hour in three separate breakout sessions of our own choosing about travel insurance, housing, TEFL, volunteering, social media, and solo travel.  Each group had various panelists leading the discussions and I was able to learn more from travelers who have made their trips a reality.  I spoke in the second discussion about how quickly I have learned about the power of social media and how I’m ridiculously new to this myself, but how it has completely changed the way I look at travel just over the past two months.  The last (personal) highlight before the grand prize giveaways was in the final discussion group about solo travel when one of the panelists, Leora, saw my name tag and recognized me from social media and I was able to speak briefly again to our small group.  I gave the group a ten second synopsis of my travel plans and how I’ve structured my life style to make my Latin American adventure a reality.

One of my personal goals for my trip is to inspire as many other people to follow their dreams, and explore the world at their own pace.  Whether it’s from my blog, inspirational quotes, storytelling, or guiding them in person – I want everyone to take the leap. Meet, Plan, Go was such a rewarding experience.  The wealth of knowledge contained within each traveler is so immense.  In today’s day in age, it is easier than ever to share that with others and Meet, Plan, Go has provided this to so many travelers since its founding.  Lisa closed up a great evening with some giveaways, and I was fortunate to win one of the raffles for ten of my closest friends for dinner & drinks at Bar Louie in the near future – which, given I leave for Central America in 12 days…Saturday is looking like a great day! As the event closed, further intermingling begun.  I spoke to Megan and Val whose stories I’d read in the past, and it was great to pick their brains in person.  Putting a name to a face is such a great feeling and to know that you can count on them for trustworthy advice and guidance.  I spoke to Eric who drove a motorcycle across Siberia in February in -30 degree weather and loved every second.  I heard about Christine and Mike’s adventures and am looking forward to hearing more in the future! However, the conversation that stood out the most at the end of the evening was as follows.  Two separate future travelers approached me and told me their respective stories.  One who was ready to go at a moments notice, however, he was saving for a plane ticket and just going to leave as soon as he could afford his flight.  He knew he’d have to make ends meet, make money somehow, but at least he’d be seeing the world.  The other, Rachel, commuted four hours just to attend MPG and she was also ready to go at a moments notice.  She’s seriously considering showing up at the airport and finding a reasonable flight to a place she’s never heard of before and figuring it all out when she arrives!  I loved hearing this – I told them both to go for it and I’m looking forward to hearing about their adventures soon!

If you’re on the fence, and seriously looking to go on a trip, contact me – I promise to devote my time to you and answer your questions that I have had answered by others.  It means the world to me to inspire others to take their dream trip as well.  Feel free to reach out, comment below, and I look forward to interacting with you as we work together to make your dreams a reality! I really can’t say enough how great of an experience Meet, Plan, Go was as a whole.  I truly hope and believe that attendees to MPG were inspired and much more likely to chase their dreams now.  The little extra push that the evening provided is enough to jump start travel planning.  If friends or family have been holding you back, it introduces you to so many other, normal, travelers who have done the same thing before you and loved it.  I will always look forward to Meet, Plan, Go each October and I hope to one day be a returnee and a panelist myself!

Categories: Pre-Trip | Tags: , , , , , , | 9 Comments

A Tribute to Chicago

This post is a tribute to my home, the city of Chicago –

one of the finest cities in the world.

This tribute stems from an evening when I was leaving work and climbing the stairs to the “L” (Chicago’s Mass Transit – The Chicago Transit Authority or CTA) and I heard a 20-something female tell her friend on the phone say:
“I’m just getting off the L”
The wheels began turning in my head.  Only since November 2009 have I lived on the north side of the city near the iconic Wrigley Field home of the Chicago Cubs that I realized how great of a city Chicago is.

Wrigley Field

I’ve lived in Chicago my whole life, but spent my entire childhood, less ages 1 to 4, in the suburbs, I never realized Chicago’s full potential.  I have never been anywhere else in the world that is a better place to be than Chicago in the summer time.  There is a bar or restaurants every other business, patios and parks galore, incredible deep dish pizza, the ~20 mile lake front path filled with people exercising from sunrise til after sun set.

North Avenue Beach Volleyball Tournament – Chicago hosts several professional beach volleyball tournaments each year & weekly competitive tournaments.

This is my favorite view in the city – from North Avenue Beach where I spend most of my time in the
summer playing beach volleyball – looking southbound at the Chicago Skyline – highlighted by the
100+ story (1,127′ – almost a quarter mile tall) John Hancock Building.
There is beach volleyball and intramural sports galore!  Below is a view of Northerly Island compliments of Players Sports Facebook page from its annual Luau grass volleyball tournament overlooking Chicago’s museum campus, one of its harbors, and the skyline.
Other sites to see include Chicago’s  Downtown, known as “The Loop,” offers some of the best architecture in the world.  It also is home to the famous Michigan Avenue and the Magnificent Mile.  The Sears Tower (as Chicagoans will always call it), Trump Tower, the John Hancock building and its restaurant on the 96th floor over looking the lake.

“The Bean” in Millennium Park after I finished the Chicago Marathon with my friend Rachel.  It reflects the city skyline from all angles creating amazing photo opportunities.

There is Navy Pier with its tourist traps, the incredible Cloud Gate (“The Bean”), State Street, and the entirety of Millennium Park.

State Street in April

Post the Shamrock Shuffle – The World’s Largest 8K by Buckingham Fountain with the Sears Tower in the background.

Free Concert at Millennium Park – biweekly, all summer.

Chicago offers free concerts at Millennium Park, an incredibly large and diverse running community and host to one of the largest marathons in the world, with over a million spectators each year!  Chicago also has the largest 8K race in the world with 45,000 participants which is a site to see itself throughout the Chicago downtown districts each March.

Courtesy of Bank of America – Chicago Marathon

This image is post the Men’s Health Urbanathlon – a 10 mile race I completed in 2011 with 7 obstacle
courses and a 46 story equivalent stair climb within Solider Field – Home to the Chicago Bears.
There are neighborhoods of every imaginable ethnic background, and if I wanted to experience various cultures throughout the world, I could easily be a tourist in my own city and find authentic cuisine from dozens and dozens of backgrounds.  In addition, Chicago’s museum campus is second to none, and Chicago sports…you might have heard of them…just maybe.

Pre-Game for Chicago Bears Game

During my past travels over seas in remote areas where little to no English is spoken, I have said that I am from Chicago, and their response is almost always either “Michael Jordan” or “The Windy City”.  It’s such an honor to be traveling over seas and to be able to say, “I’m from Chicago,” never once have I received a negative response.

Michael Jordan – Chicago Bulls

Wherever you may live in the world, I cannot encourage you enough to visit Chicago on your next trip to the States or if you are a domestic reader to plan a visit to Chicago as well.  It may not receive the hype of New York City or L.A., but what it lacks in that hype, it more than makes up in character and personality.  The people from the Midwest are as friendly as can be and willing to help you out around any turn.  I’ve personally had friends visit from England and Germany and each could not stop raving about how much they love the city.

“Wolf Point” of the Chicago River, Merchandise Mart to the left, and the sky scraper Trump Tower in the background

Come see for yourself, I promise you it will be worth it.  Chicago is unreal, I will miss it, however, I’m so proud to call it home and know that I can return at anytime – to the warmth, pleasure, and joys of The Windy City.

Kinzie Bridge and Sears Tower

I’ll miss you Chicago, you are the finest city in the world

and I’ll always call you home!

Categories: Pre-Trip | Tags: , , , , , , | 14 Comments

My Lease Ends in 8 hrs?!? Wait…WHAT!!

Yes, seriously.  This is what happened to me on this past Sunday, September 30, 2012.

A little background to this story – earlier this year I decided to go on this other worldly adventure – and thus, I needed to time my departure with the end of my apartment lease, vaccinations, money saving, and weather.  Originally, my plan was to depart on this adventure on October 2011, and ultimately, I chose to stay another year, earn another year experience in my profession and depart in October 2012.  This coincides with “summer” (the dry season) throughout Central America, and allows me the time to arrive in Southern South America the following summer in the Southern Hemisphere.  My vaccinations will be complete later this month and a week later, I depart on October 30th.  My apartment lease ended on August 1st, and I was going to move home to save more money, but ultimately found a cheap alternative in Chicago, allowing for a shorter commute, and to be around my good friends in Chicago until my departure.

This is where the story began, my friend was accepted to Physical Therapy school in Boston and she had three months left on her lease, ending at the end of October – perfect for me, perfect for her – a win win situation where I take over her lease and we each save money.  However, there were a few catches in this as well, she was not moving until August 24th, thus, we overlapped 3.5 weeks at the new place.  I had to improvise for this time period, I kept my bed, dresser, and majority of my things on the interior back porch – (which I wish I had a picture for you) and I slept in a whole variety of places – I made ends meet – anything to make my RTW trip happen.

Anyway, once I was finally moved in, throughout the month of September, the apartment was continually shown by the landlords agent – standard practice for Chicago apartment leases.  Anyway, Friday, September 28th, future tenants came through and were interested in purchasing my roommates bed, and she was out of town, so I knew it’d be awhile before she decided, plus we had a month (so we thought) left on our lease.  These two screen shots should explain my dilemma:


   

“Well we’re moving in tomorrow….”

That text, those five words – rocked my world.  I ran into the kitchen, found the lease (where I was actually subleasing – and thus under the pretense that it was a lease through October 31st) and on the lease says:

Somehow the girls I was subleasing with had unknowingly signed an 11 month lease vs. the standard 12 month lease.  I called my roommates, who were in Missouri and Florida, arriving at 6:30PM and 11:30PM that night respectively.  I also spoke to the girl whose room I was subleasing and she spoke to the management company – confirming our fear that our lease did in fact expire at midnight.

Thankfully, the year is 2012, and after a few texts and calls (side note: I was DYING of laughter at the time, laughing so hard at the ridiculousness of the situation) – I literally could not believe this, and there was nothing really I could do until I confirmed another place to live other than laugh it off.  Fortunately, I knew I could move home if need be – preventing myself excessive stress, but I knew I wanted to spend my last month in Chicago with my friends, as I have for the past three years.  I updated my Facebook status, talked to some well networked friends on the phone, and remarkably, within a few hours, I actually had four different options of places that I could move into that night.  I heard from people I had not heard from in 4+ years, people I barely knew in college.  The power of Social Media and Facebook in particular is unreal.

After my friend I know through beach volleyball, Caroline, saw my Facebook update, she texted / called me, to inform me of an open room in her place, I biked over to her condo a half hour later, worked out a deal, and began to pack up my life to move it all an hour later.

I had found a place a live – informed my friends – and the long night of moving began….

In the past two days, in my head, I’ve classified Facebook friends into various categories – those who comment on your posts, those who “Like” them, and those who simply see them.  Although, I do not fully understand Facebook’s algorithms, I had no idea the power of one status update and the number of people it could reach.  After all, people came out of the cyber woodwork to help me out – it was an amazing feeling and really confirmed how great of people I’ve befriended over the past years.

I want thank my friends so much for helping me out, specifically, my sister and two good guy friends, who in a minute’s notice, came over and helped me pack my things, rent a Zip Van, load it up and move to my new apartment.  The condo is incredible and the month of October is going to be a whirlwind.  It’s going to be great to have an amazing  home to return to – it is immaculate and the view is spectacular!!  What do you think?

I think I could get used to this.


It’s going to a great last four weeks before I embark on my trip.  This little move was all part of my adventure, part of my sacrifices that I’ve made to make this upcoming Latin American journey worth it.

In closing, I recommend to you to take each step of your life in stride – it’s all a part of the journey – laugh at the things that are challenging – make the most of a sour situation – and most importantly, enjoy your life, it’s a precious thing and it’s too short not to spend your time smiling.  😀

Happy Travels!

-Kyle

Categories: Pre-Trip | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

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