How The Hell Did I End Up Here? And Other Memories From 2011

The 2011 year has raced by faster than any year I can remember.

It has been one of the most eye-opening, inspiring, life-altering years of my life in so many ways.

This blog hardly begins to scratch the surface it all.

But what makes me chuckle often are the moments when I say to myself “How the hell did I end up here?”, because it always represents such a drastic change from what came before.

Like when I was stuck in a taxi at 1 am in the middle of downtown Bogotá with a heavily buzzed Swede, when practically neither of us knew where we were, and neither of us had the Spanish to communicate with the cab driver.

How the hell did I get here? I chuckled to myself.

A few more moments…

1) First weekend out in Medellin.

I had just taken my first solo bus trip to a city I didn’t know, and had set up shop in my first hostel stay ever. (I only started this year, remember??).

Anyways, I went out partying with some folks from the hostel, and after seeing some of the most beautiful girls I’ve ever seen in my life at an upscale venue, somehow ended up piling in a taxi with 4 other guys and ending up at this private party somewhere up in the mountains of Antioquia. On top of not knowing where I was, it was about 4 am, everything was so pitch black and the music was so crazy, I chuckled to myself, “How the hell did I get here?”

See, 12 months prior to this, I had no idea I would be doing anything remotely like this. Not remotely like it!

I hadn’t been outside of the country for an extended time, I’d never traveled alone or stayed in a hostel, and I’d had limited exposure to foreign women, etc… So when the whole scene hit me that night, I had to throw my head back and laugh.

2) Sipping a martini on a party boat in the Vancouver waterway.

Of course, my laughs of incredulity didn’t stop… Only 3 months after that first weekend out in Medellin, I found myself in Vancouver, British Colombia of all places. (Vancouver?? I know, I know, what the hell am I doing in Vancouver??)

Now, in case you didn’t know, Vancouver happens to be one of the most expensive places to live in North America per square foot. It is a major tourist destination, a beautiful city, and home to a great deal of moolah. You go there if you have some $$ to spend, not if you’re some poor internet entrepreneur trying to make the dream happen.

Yet there I was, sipping a martini on this multi-story party boat with a bunch of cool people. And the best part? All this was free.


When this happened, I had to look up and just laugh… “How the hell did I end up here?”

Not only did I get to Vancouver using a bunch of frequent flyer miles so my flight was free, but by being a travel blogger I got to attend the TBEX conference for a ridiculously low price, including lodging. And when I got there, turned out I got a bunch of other free goodies too, like this free party boat ride.

3) Riding behind a Lambourghini in South Beach, Miami.

I know, I know. This would read better if it said “Riding in a Lambourghini in South Beach, Miami.”

Nevertheless, I was just in Miami prowling around South Beach in my awesome sauce 2001 Toyota Camry when I found myself in the shadow of this dude:

Not only have I only seen, like, one other Lamborghini in my life, but here he was right in front of me, and I am in SOUTH BEACH…

How the hell did I end up in South Beach??

Again, a year ago, I had no idea I would be doing crazy lifestyle moves like this. I literally drove 700 miles that day to get done what I needed to get done so that my travels would open up over the next few years. When a car worth well into 6-figures ends up in front of me in one of the liveliest spots on the east coast, I had to chuckle and ask myself “How the hell did I end up here?”

The fact of the matter is, I have no idea what my life will look like 1 year from now.

All I know is that I am having the time of my life and I don’t want it to stop.

  • Nice wrap up Ryan, definitely some interesting moments for you in 2011.  Here’s hoping for more in 2012.  Adelante! =)

    • Gracias, parcero! Ojalá nos vemos en Colombia este año.