My name is Jesse, and I’m 27.
I was born and raised in a rural northern Texas town called Nocona. I spent most of my childhood in an extremely active state, and occasionally spying on, and rummaging through my two older sister’s things. I’m 96% sure that I was a real ninja. OK, you got me…97% sure.
Despite the entertainment, I found myself in a constant state of day dreaming. I imagined myself anywhere except in Nocona. I was a pirate sailing across the pacific. I was an animal living in the amazon. I was a knight battling foes in midevail France. I didn’t care much for school. Who has the time when you are exploring the world and slaying dragons all day!?
The day dreams didn’t subside any as I got older, I merely transformed them into what I considered more realistic feats. Such as, becoming a professional skateboarder or moving to Hollywood to act. Then came girls, I forgot what I was supposed to be doing after that.
The college years were amazing! Except for one little thing, I never went. Instead I moved to a college town when I was 19, started partying non stop, meeting new people, and never sleeping. During this time, I became quiet well known as a photographer and day dreamed about working for Nat Geo one day!
Somewhere during this time, I found a new hobby. I started focusing on making lots of money! I had no long term goal anymore. I was just making money to make money. For the first time in my life, I was just doing what everyone else was doing, without questioning it. Also, I was pretty good at networking jobs.
Then in 2009 I landed the big one. A position operating natural gas processing facilities for a large company only 15 miles from my hometown. This was the most money I’d ever made, and I went crazy. I bought fancy clothes, ate out every night tipping excess amounts, I even bought a sports car. I was on top of the world, or so I thought.
2 years into my new life of constant partying, and excess spending, I found my joyous mentality fading. I had everything I was supposed to want, yet I found myself bored and disconnected from the world. Things were the same everyday, seeing the same people, having the same conversations. I was buying things I didn’t need, just to buy them. The dreams of becoming something more, of bettering myself were replaced with material possessions.
Finally one day, without warning, it all came crashing down on me. My worry, my fear, engulfed me and I broke down into a panic attack. The American dream had been shoved down my throat my entire life. Here I was with the successful career, the money, the possessions, and I wasn’t happy, in fact I was miserable. I tried to ignore the way I felt until eventually I was living in an extremely depressive state, isolating myself even more. I felt as though I was dying, or going crazy, or both.
One dream I’d had since childhood, that never seemed to change, was a desire to see the world. In these dark times, I thought about it a lot. Before now, I was always telling myself “someday that will happen”, “after this, after that” or “I can’t now, I have this, or that”. I knew I had to change my life, and how I was living it, but how? How could I travel the world? I was great at making money, but horrible at managing it. In two years, I had blew through everything I’d earned, and then some! I was 40 k in debt.
Almost overnight, I reached the decision that I didn’t want the life I was living anymore. So I changed everything. I moved back to Nocona. I sold the sports car, I donated all of my clothes, I gave away or sold off all of my possessions. I quit drinking, quit partying. I quit eating any food that contained a label and started exercising 6 days a week. I began reading and educating myself on anything and everything that helped me grow. Anatomy, Theology, Paychology, Philosophy, nutrition, meditation and so on.
For the next 2 years I lived this way, in isolation. I payed off all of my debt. I saved 3/4 of my monthly income, every month. I studied world geography, researched cultures, and became a member of online travel societies.
Then, One day in April 2013, I decided I had been there long enough. So, I quit my job, sold the rest of my belongings, and caught a Greyhound bus from Dallas, TX to Destin, Fl. 7 months and thousands of miles later, I’m bouncing around Cambodia, dodging stray dogs and motorbikes alike.
I’m not lucky to be here, to be traveling the world, to be living this way. Luck is another bad excuse.
These are my stories, my lessons, this is my life.