Two Years on the Road: A Summation

Two Years on the Road: A Summation

As I write this article, I'm sitting in the room I grew up in. I spent the first fourteen years of my life in this rickety old house before I shipped myself off to boarding school. If history proves anything, it's that I have a track record of getting out of dodge.

It's never been easy for me to stay in one place; I actually attended two high schools and four universities. So it wasn't all voluntary, but it's not like I'm known to stick around.

Before I left home I held a reputable position at a very reputable company here in Boston. But, the recession had just hit, my salary was about two-thirds of what it should have been, and I could see the rest of my life disappearing down a computer screen and swallowed up by the endless array of cubicles I was destined to spend my adult years inhabiting.

After not being able to study abroad (due to extenuating circumstances I won't publicly disclose on the internet), I had this crazy idea to go travel on my own terms. This was a much scarier notion, considering my choice destination was on the other side of the world.

There was something about Australia that drew me to it. Nothing could possibly be farther away and I was intrigued by the idea of hiking through the outback, wrestling crocodiles and swinging from vines in the jungle.

So most of those things didn't happen, but I did know that I couldn't prepare myself in any way for the journey that was about to ensue. I was ready to learn about life, to live on my own terms and do some fairly awesome things along the way, but I couldn't fathom what I would inevitably do and discover. I put my game face on, packed a single backpack, and left town. No biggie–I was only going away for six months.

Well, that was two years ago. 25-and-a-half months, to be exact. And I'm still not done.

Sunset in the Town of 1770

My six-month stint in Australia ended up taking a full year and, instead of buying a two-thousand dollar plane ticket home, I paid a hundred and fifty bucks and flew to New Zealand…where I forfeited another year of “real life.” It was the best decision I ever made.

Since I've been gone I've done some incredible things (by my own standards). I've been skydiving off the coast of Australia, bungee jumping (naked) in the canyons of New Zealand, and white-water rafting down rigorous Queensland rivers.

Bungy Jumping, Queenstown, NZ

I've been sandboarding on Kangaroo Island, four-wheeling in Cape Tribulation and jet boating in Queenstown.

Shotover Jet

I've gone kayaking in the Abel Tasman National Park, sailing through the Whitsunday Islands and scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef.

Abel Tasman National Park

I spent three days driving and camping on the biggest sand island in the world and two weeks hiking through Tasmania.

Tasmania

I've cuddled koalas, hugged kangaroos and gone cruising with crocodiles.

Kangaroo, Australia Zoo

I've snowboarded the backdrop of The Lord of the Rings and I've motorcycled into the Australian sunset.

Town of 1770

I've gone hitch-hiking and road tripping. I hiked a freaking glacier!

Hiking, Franz Josef Glacier

I've laid on the most opulent beaches, I've learned to surf and have even seen where two seas collide.

Bay of Fires, Tasmania

I've met people from all over the world. I've slept in hundreds of beds and on countless sofas, sometimes alone, sometimes with international women.

I can safely say that I've partied my freakin' ass off.

I've gone hiking through sacred Aboriginal grounds in the Australian outback and have camped directly next to the Tasman sea. I've even met the real Tasmanian Devil.

Camping, Tasmania

And that's only a very small portion of it, my friends.

I've acquired a new skill and have found a new direction in life. I left home as a recent college graduate working in the IT field and have returned as a skilled traveling cocktail bartender, having worked at some of the finest establishments New Zealand has to offer. I began working as a glassy/barback at one of Australia's dirtiest, most well-known nightclubs. From there I climbed the ranks, starting at the bottom and finding a place at the top.

I found jobs at clubs, cafes and beachfront bars. I worked on a party bus! Life was colorful, carefree and intoxicating. But, as chance would have it, I ended up training with a man who has worked at London's most prestigious and exclusive cocktail bars who kicked my ass to become the best. Though I still have a long way to go, I take what I do seriously.

I am not a man who will pour you the strongest Long Island Iced Tea you've ever had because you want to get totally freakin' wasted, dude. I am not that man who will pour vodka and juices into a glass, call it by a fancy name and serve it up as a cocktail. I am a man who will determine what you like and mix you one of the best drinks you've ever had. And I will tell you exactly what's in it, the history of every ingredient, and why each of them gets used in that drink.

Now, I don't mean to sound pretentious–I only mean to convey that I am not some idiot pouring Bud Light or the international equivalent into a glass (anymore). I am not a bartender at a pub (anymore). I am a professional barman. And one day I will open a place of my own.

And through this profession, I have learned to be the center of attention. But, in the past two years, I have also come to understand the true meaning of loneliness. Helplessness.

I am more refined, yet more awkward and vulgar than ever. I have loved and lost again and again and again.

I have learned of the impermanence life can bring and found the true beauty in every passing moment.

I've found bliss on the beach and despair in a bottle.

I've made incredible friends, only to say goodbye forever.

I've fallen down and barely found my way back up.

I've been broke. I've borrowed money. I've been frustrated, lost, bruised and battered.

I've made friends who became family.

I've built a life. I've found new hobbies and interests.

I've pursued my dreams, aspirations, and goals.

I've done the unspeakable. I've done the unthinkable.

I've been up, down, sideways, backward and inside out.

And I have never been happier in my life.


READ NEXT: How Traveling the World for Four Years Will Change You

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20 Responses to Two Years on the Road: A Summation

  1. Bobbi Lee Hitchon May 22, 2012 at 9:09 am #

    What an amazing two years!!! I love that you’ve picked up a new career that you love during your time away. I know so many people who switched majors multiple times in college and still had no idea what they wanted to do with their lives when they were done. I feel like travel allows for opportunities to try things you normally wouldn’t and actually try them hands on. You’ve done so much! Keep going. Here’s to two more years!

    • Jeremy May 23, 2012 at 5:57 am #

      Amazing is an understatement! I never thought I’d find myself where I am today, but if I hadn’t gone traveling it never would have happened. Two more years!? I’ll cheers to that! x

  2. Amanda May 22, 2012 at 1:06 pm #

    I loved this post, Jeremy! I’m so glad you’re loving your awesome, crazy, unpredictable life!

    • Jeremy May 23, 2012 at 5:58 am #

      Couldn’t be loving it more! The unpredictability is what makes it so awesome and crazy!

  3. Lindsey May 22, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

    Good on you for discovering something you love and translating it to something you can do back at home as well as when travelling. Sounds like you had an amazing two years! I’ll have to trawl through your archives and read all about it 🙂

    • Jeremy May 23, 2012 at 6:11 am #

      I know, right!? I’m so lucky it’s worked out this way. I’m ALMOST location independent!

  4. Annette | Bucket List Journey May 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

    Hol Crap! You have more adventures in two years than most people will have in their lifetimes!

    Can’t wait to read about what the next two years will bring.

    • Jeremy May 24, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

      And I’m not even done! 🙂

  5. Ayngelina May 24, 2012 at 4:03 am #

    Incredible story, isn’t it amazing to look back and see just how much you have done.

    Congratulations

    • Jeremy May 24, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

      Truly remarkable to look at my life now vs. two years ago. Such a change!

  6. Nora - The Professional Hobo May 31, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    Dude. What a great story. Very inspirational!

    • Jeremy May 31, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

      Thanks! Really glad you enjoyed it. It’s been an inspiring couple of years!

  7. Matt July 19, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

    Incredibly inspirational read mate. It’s the lows of traveling as much of the highs that add to the journey and help to create a stronger, more rounded person. Thanks for sharing your two years!

    • Jeremy Foster July 20, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

      No kidding! I’ve had some of the worst times of my life these past two years but, all in all, they’ve been the best two years I’ve ever lived.

  8. Beverley July 19, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    Ahhh you’ve done so much! Congratulations on two years of travel, can’t wait to see what you get up to next!

    • Jeremy Foster July 20, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

      Thank you! I can’t wait to find out either! But that’s half the fun–never knowing what’s next!

  9. Jaime July 19, 2012 at 7:04 pm #

    Wow what an amazing story. I’m new to your blog & reading this really helped me catch up a bit. Love what you are doing man. One of my dreams is to live/wok in Australia for a year, but not sure yet when I will do it. I know I need to do it before I’m 30 so I still have 4 more years to figure out when, but oh I will. Congrats on the two year mark & cheers (literally) to many more.

    • Jeremy Foster July 20, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

      Thank you, Jaime! My time in Australia was a dream come true. Double check the visa requirements, though–you might not be able to get a working/holiday visa after a certain age. I hope you make it there someday!

  10. MKI January 9, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

    Would love you to mix me a Mai Tai, here in Israel they need great bartenders and if its adventure and excitement you want its even more vibrant than anyone whose swam with the crocodiles in Kakadu….

    • Jeremy Foster January 13, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

      I do make a good Mai Tai! Israel is a place I would love to visit. And if you say they need great bartenders, maybe I’ll make it one of my next stops!

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