I traveled on a personal journey around the world back in 2002-2003, for the most part, alone. Looking back, it was a rough patch in my life. My marriage was breaking up, my dad was diagnosed with cancer, I was feeling unfulfilled in my media sales career, I wanted to be something greater than I was, and in reality, I was generally not happy with myself.
I went only to places I had never been before and vowed to mix it up with party time, adventure, introspection and volunteering; hoping I would find “the answers”. I was inspired by a couple of friends that did a similar trip a couple years before me. They came back changed people, with passion and direction. And I wanted that so badly at that time. I suppose I thought this was the answer. I asked myself: Was I a loser not facing my issues or was I a true adventure seeker wanting to see how the world could change me? At that point I did not know.
What next? I quit my fairly well-paying job, sold off a few things, deserted some responsibilities and charted a route to be close to the ocean (mostly) and enjoy the warmth of endless summer (kinda) with open mind and open heart.
Mind you, this was before smartphones and tablets and WiFi. There was no social media and the USA phone plans did not have the ability to text/SMS yet. I didn’t even own a digital camera (and you never would know if you cut off your head taking a selfie. No deleting and do-over options). Blogging was in its infancy. In fact, I had actually never heard of it yet. There were places called internet cafes where you could spend too much money per minute at a painfully slow dial-up ancient desktop computer trying to quickly muddle through emails and internet research.
There were many people who were concerned for my safety or just wanted to keep up with my journey. So I made it a priority to send out a group email to my Hotmail contacts as often as possible. The list was too long for the Hotmail system not to think of it as spam, so I ended sending it to 3 lists. Sometimes I would lose data and have to reconstruct a story. So some groups received slightly different versions. And sometimes dial-up was just too slow and I would walk out exasperated asking for my rand or bhat back. But it became a good self-revealing project nonetheless. Even if I did have to keep it the “G version”. After all….my parents were reading it!
I had a version of all the hard copies for years. Not sure where they are anymore after a dozen moves, and having never read them again. However, a friend of mine recently sent an electronic version of all the e-newsletters I sent from Katsjourney@Hotmail. I have decided to house them on this blog site. Mostly unedited (except for spelling mistakes, etc.). The writing is not very good, kinda coming from a younger version of me who had yet to see the more challenging parts of the world. But is is my personal journey and I own it.
A friend of mine met up with me in Melbourne, Australia two-thirds through the journey. I asked him what he thought of my updates. He told me they were fine if you wanted to read a travel guide. He said a good writer mixes in how your feel, so your reader can get more involved and empathize. It really isn’t just about what you see. It is about how you feel about it. How the experience changes you. I kept that in mind afterwards sitting in those internet cafes.
I am formatting these email newsletters now. It is a labor of love because I want to have photos accompany the words. That means digging up old photo albums, finding the right pictures, scanning, saving, cropping and then constructing the actual blog posts. All before I leave the USA later this month (can’t lug 8 giant photo albums with me back to Costa Rica).
This will be the project that FINALLY get Katsjourneyblog off the ground. Read as you like. Or not at all. I hope to start populating them in the next week.
Hugs across the universe,