I Drank on a Bus

In 2016, I gave up my apartment. I gave away almost everything I owned. I put the rest in storage and reduced my life to two duffel bags.

On December 31st, I flew to Mexico City and spent my first new years away from home. Away from friends and family. Away from everything I’d ever known.

In month one, I went on a side trip to Cuba and pissed off everyone I traveled with.

In month two, I took an ill-advised road trip through Colombia and, at one point, genuinely feared for my life.

In month three, I got into a drunk screaming match with someone over a game of tejo, causing a rift in a friendship that would take months to repair.

In month four, I said something terrible to someone in anger and alienated myself from many people in my Meraki tribe.

In month five, I froze my ass off in a cabin in the Argentine Sierras.

I month six, I had to dip into my savings while trying to afford life in Buenos Aires. I paid over $800 in bribes to get a laptop out of customs.

In month seven, I had an incident at work that was so catastrophic I thought I was going to be fired.

In month eight, I suffered multiple fractures of the distal humerus–I shattered my elbow.

In month nine, I had two plates and seventeen screws surgically implanted in my arm.

In month ten, I had my heart broken.

In month eleven, I went on a weekend bender so bad I don’t remember half of it.

And in month twelve, I had to say goodbye to so many people that had become my family over the previous 11 months.

2017 was arguably the worst year of my life.


Old Havanna

In month one, I had the most amazing meal of my life at Quintonil. I visited Cuba and got to experience its majestic beauty along with the darkness of its past. I helped make someone cry in the best way. I ate ants and crickets. I drank on a bus.


In month two, I road-tripped to Barranquilla for Carnival and dove into the sights and sounds of a Latin American festival. I got to see and experience the diverse landscape that is Colombia; mountains, jungles, deserts, and beaches. I met dozens of people from other Remote Year groups and made some lifelong friends. I got sprayed in the face with foam. I got drunk at a pool party. I drank on a bus.

It’s nice up here

In month three, I went on a jungle hike. I spent a weekend in Cartagena. I partied on a boat. I climbed over 700 steps to one of the most incredible vistas I’veever seen atop Guatape. I rode on top of a hippie van. I drank on a bus.

Triple ceviche!
Incan farmland
Man-made islands
Condors riding the wind

In month four, I hiked Machu Picchu. I surfed down a sand dune. I saw the sun set over the Pacific Ocean. I stood on a man-made island constructed of nothing but reeds. I ate more ceviche in 28 days than many people will in their entire lifetime, and it was all amazing. I saw a canyon twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. I saw condors up close. I ate guinea pig and alpaca. I drank on a bus.

No wine left…
Sunset in the Argentine Sierras

In month five, I solidified a friendship that will last undoubtedly last for the rest of my life. I drank amazing wines. I hiked through the Sierras. I learned new knife skills. I was taken in by a local family for an evening. I ate empanadas. I drank on a bus.

You can hear a pin drop
Argentine Andes with fresh snow

In month six, I danced on a rooftop. I enjoyed a wine tour in Mendoza. I took a ferry to another country just for the passport stamp. I snuck into a abandoned bullfighting arena, and it was awe-inspiring. I touched snow in June. I drank on a bus.

Becky, my love!
July 4th beer brats

In month seven, I drove four hours one-way just to find bratwurst for July 4th. I road tripped through Germany, Austria, and Italy. I watched the sun set over the backdrop of Prague from a hilltop beer garden. I had a love affair with Becherovka. I saw castles. I drank beer. Lots and lots of beer. I drank on a bus.

Croatia, before the fall
What have I done?

In month eight, I explored a multi-millennia-old castle. I kayaked. I danced in the rain. I jumped into a river. I finally watched game of thrones, and I stood where Khaleesi stood. I partied on another boat! I was reminded about the spirit of remote year when everyone from different groups came together to help me when I needed it most. I drank on a bus.

Everything is better with beer
Spanish coast

In month nine, I found a new surrogate family. I made all new friends. I was taken in by good people. I felt loved. I made a triumphant return to my Meraki family and I felt whole again. I drank on a bus.

Supertrees in Singapore
Petronas Towers viewed from KL Tower

In month ten, I witnessed someone I love find her happiness. I discovered the wonders of Asia. I changed my mind about a great many things. I ate durian. I made new friends. I dined in the dark. I rotated atop one of the tallest buildings in the world. I drank on a bus.

We found an island eventually
Lantern Festival

In month eleven, I saw lanterns float across the sky by the thousands. I ate all the khao soi. I ate lots of Mexican food, believe it or not. I ate many toasties. I never drank a small Chang. I partied on another boat! I took over an island (it wasn’t an island). I made more new friends. I went to a creativity workshop. I had duck for Thanksgiving dinner. I was an accomplice in stealing a golf cart. I drank on a bus.

Farewell party with my fam
I got Iced

In month twelve, I cried. I laughed. I reminisced. I walked through random doors and found amazing hole-in-the-wall bars. I ate sushi. I ate gyoza. I drank free beer. I finally went to the workspace. I helped publish a yearbook. I celebrated Christmas with fifty of the best friends anyone could ever hope to have. I played with deer. I saw cosmic Buddha. I saw Mount Fuji with my own two eyes. I rang in a new year. I drank on a bus.

2017 was undeniably the best year of my life, and I am forever grateful to everyone who shaped me, molded me, kicked me, and pushed me to make this all possible, from my parents on forward.


Countries – 17
Cities – 36
Flights taken – 36
Flights missed – 6
Buses – 12
Ferries – 2
Party Boats – 4
Rental Cars – 3
Beds – 42


I probably shouldn’t be allowed on buses.

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