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Love for Travel

October 17, 2009


Last week I wrote my first travel verses for Travelverse. Unlike Darren and Jon, whose first blog entries explained how their interest in travel began, I dove straight into a narration of my family’s trips to Compostela, Nayarit, Mexico.

So now, in the following paragraphs, not only will I tell you how my love for travel was born but hopefully I can inspire you to do some traveling yourself. Bon voyage!

My mom recently called me a wanderer and a gypsy in response to the news that I’d be traveling to Seattle. And considering everywhere I’ve been this year, she’s really not far from the truth. Some evidence to support her claim:

  • December 19, 2008 – January 9, 2009: Drove from San Ardo, CA, to Douglas, AZ., where we crossed the border, then drove down Mexico’s west coast until we reached Compostela, Nayarit. Later on, spent a weekend in Puerto Vallarta.
  • April 26 – May 12: London, England; Paris and Versailles, France; Madrid and Barcelona, Spain; Venice and Rome, Italy.
  • June – August: Spent the summer in New York as an intern in Sports Illustrated’s photo department.
  • September 2 – 6: Five-day road trip from Santa Clara, CA, to Atlanta, GA, (crossed Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Alabama) then flew back to CA;
  • September 17 – 19: Las Vegas.
  • October 4 – 7: Seattle, WA.

So yeah, my mom was right. This year has been my breakout year for traveling, and man did I charge right out of the gate. But if there’s anyone to blame for my globetrotting ways it’s my parents.

One of my earliest memories happens to be my family’s customary road trip to Compostela. I remember sitting in the back seat of a gold-colored ’87 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera Coupe. Smashed between my grandparents, I sat with my five-year-old head sticking through the two front seats. As the car’s high lights cut through the pitch-black darkness and revealed the path ahead, I’d excitedly point and say, “¡Papi, papi, curva peligrosa!” (“Daddy, daddy, dangerous curve!”) I’d heard that phrase on TV, most likely the dubbed version of Speed Racer. Three hundred curves and shouts later, I’d definitely driven my parents nuts, but I didn’t care, it was my very first adventure.

My love for travel was pretty much dormant for many years after that. I had been back to Compostela a couple of times, but it just wasn’t as exciting as the first; besides Compostela, the only other city outside of California I’d been to was Phoenix, AZ. It wasn’t until I landed an internship for Sports Illustrated in 2007 that my love for travel came out of hibernation. I spent that summer in New York and impressed those at SI enough that the company chose to hire me as a reporter for SI and SI Latino. I then lived in Jersey City, NJ (just a little more than a stone’s throw from Manhattan) for two years, with my dream job in my dream city … until the economic crisis hit the country and aforementioned magazine brand laid yours truly off.

Though I was definitely saddened by the news, I left New York with three things that gave me something to smile about:

1) An important network of contacts and friends within the media industry.

2) An awakened desire for travel and the confidence that I could go anywhere and find my way around.

3) A severance package that I had decided would finance my dream tour of Europe, even if that meant I would be completely broke.

Thus began what is undoubtedly the best year of my life. Yeah I lost my dream job and yeah I’ve missed a couple of job opportunities (including one that would’ve seen me back in NYC), but on the other hand I’ve traveled thousands of miles by land and air, I’ve seen the crown jewels, stood on the Eiffel tower, stepped on the sacred turfs of El Bernabéu and Camp Nou, gotten lost in Venetian alleys and walked the ground that ancient Roman sandals treaded upon. I minded the gap, decided not to try escargot, learned that Spanish tortillas (omelets) are not the same as Mexican tortillas (corn or floury deliciousness) and that there is no soccer atmosphere better than Madrid’s when the Merengues play Barcelona, and realized that I’m not as big a fan of legit pizza as I am of legit gelato (Una di stracciatella per favore!).

I write this post as I lay on my bed in San Ardo, where things kicked off to a wonderful adventure on a cold winter morning just about 11 months ago. And as I lay here I can’t help but wonder what future travel adventures await me in the future. First off, I need to really experience everything Mexico has to offer, then definitely a South American tour (I drool over the thought of experiencing a World Cup, and Brazil 2014 sounds awesome). Southeast Asia sounds cool and I’d love to visit the Taj Mahal in India (speaking of Asia, follow Jon’s adventure in Vietnam). And a second trip to Europe, a trip to the Middle East or also one to Africa sound exciting.

There are thousands of places in this world that my Nikon and I – and one or two travel buddies – have yet to visit; hundreds of cultures yet to encounter; and dozens of grand adventures yet to be had. Hopefully you can accompany Darren, Jon and I as we embark on this journey to share our love for travel with you through reviews, tips and live on-site blogs with the aspiration to inspire a love for all that is travel in others.

Remember, it’s just as much about the destination as it is about the journey.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. ghettoblackify permalink
    October 18, 2009 2:30 AM


  2. jonmarcotte permalink
    October 18, 2009 6:55 AM

    Japan, China, and Peru are next on my list. Let me know if you want to go next year.

  3. October 18, 2009 12:07 PM

    Count me in. Japan and China sound interesting and I’ve wanted to go to Peru for the longest.

  4. Vicky permalink
    October 18, 2009 9:32 PM

    First of all, I would just like to say that your post was so motivating…and not just for travel. Reading your account of “the best year of your life” was inspiring. I want to start the best year of my life, so after I read your post, I stopped procrastinating and got to work 🙂

    Now, as for you travel bloggers, I am very curious… Let’s pretend that you were forced to travel ONLY to one more destination (Space does not cound, Darren). You each get one more country, all expenses paid, and you can take whoever you want. Where would you choose to go? I wonder if any of you will choose a place you have already visited…hmmmm….

    • darrenbrazil permalink*
      October 18, 2009 10:48 PM

      no space, huh? then i’ll take an around the world cruise… you can’t hold me down with your limitations, arafa!

      • jonmarcotte permalink
        October 19, 2009 3:59 AM

        I would love to spend months in Japan, but to see everything that I want to see it will probably require me to go t­wice (two different seasons). I do like Darren’s idea..

  5. October 19, 2009 1:18 AM

    If I’d have to pick one country it would be Mexico. One destination in Mexico would be the ruins at Teotihuacán (Aztec ruins near Mexico City) mainly because I’ve always wanted to visit and because I hear walking up the sun pyramid is a pretty sweet experience.

  6. Vicky permalink
    October 19, 2009 11:03 AM

    I really like Fidencio and Jon’s answers. I hope both of you get to visit your dream destinations.

    Darren, you cheated! Touche.

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