Heading to the Motherland

“Wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it.  Right is right, even if you are the only one doing it.  Always do what you know in your heart is right for you.”

It’s so good to be blogging again!  I look forward to hearing more comments from everyone.  If you haven’t hit the Follow Rob button on the right side of the blog, just give it a little tap so you can get these posts delivered directly to your inbox.  My goal is to update the blog twice a week, and I should be able to include more pictures this time because I’m bringing a laptop with me.

After about three months in the States, I’m off to Europe.  I threw this trip together at the last second because I was evaluating whether or not I wanted to buy another Anytime Fitness in the Milwaukee area, but it just wasn’t in the cards.

So what’s my game plan this time?  While it was awesome to prepare very little and be spontaneous in Central America, it also had some downsides.  I probably could’ve more carefully researched what I wanted to see, and I would’ve gotten more out of the trip.  What I’m going to do in Europe is plan ahead more, but still reserve the right to take a detour or stay longer whenever I want.  All I’ve done so far is figure out which countries I want to visit, so here’s a rough itinerary:

Poland: July 26th-August 1st

Czech Republic: August 1st-August 5th

Germany: August 5th-August 11th

Netherlands: August 11th-August 16th

Back to Germany: August 16th-August 17th

Switzerland: August 18th-August 25th

Italy: August 25th-September 1st

France: September 1st-September 7th

Spain: September 7th-September 12th

If you are going to be traveling in Europe and you think the timing would work to meet up, let me know!

I wanted to see Poland because I’m 50% Polish, and I figured I should witness the motherland at some point.  The rest of the countries came highly recommended from other travelers, so I threw them in the lineup.

I’ll be gone about seven weeks, the longest I’ve ever traveled without having a home base.  Since my three-week trip to Central America went well, I’m not too worried about anything.  My biggest concern is that I’m going to be in a lot of countries where I don’t speak the native language.  In all the other travel I’ve ever done, I’ve been able to communicate well with English or Spanish, but I’m sure I’ll have a harder time in some countries in Europe.

A lot of my experiences in Central America were doing something, not seeing something.  I really hope that Europe holds enough hands-on activities because a lot of the time I find sightseeing boring.  If you have any suggestions for fun activities in the countries that I’m visiting, please let me know.

Random side note – I started the trip at 199.9 pounds.  Do you think I’ll come back heavier or lighter?  Before you answer, a few things to consider: I’m not planning on going crazy with drinking, but I’ll certainly be stuffing my face with novel European food.  In Central America it was really difficult for me to have a constant lifting schedule, so that might be the case in Europe too.  Anyone want to place a bet?

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to do when I get back from traveling.  I still don’t have any answers, but I have pondered some other things too.  I believe that people don’t put enough thought into their major life decisions and how they live their life.  Hold on, I know that statement sounds ridiculous.  Let me explain.

I think that many people make life decisions based on societal norms, which might not necessarily be best for them.  For instance, if you got married today, would you want to buy a house shortly after that?  Is that really the best thing for you and your spouse, or is it a knee-jerk reaction because society tells you that owning a house is the next step after getting hitched?

Here’s a personal example.  I have a crappy car, and I know it.  If I had a quarter for every time my friends told me I should buy a new one, I’d be able to make a down payment for the Lexus I want.  But to me, it’s almost become a game now.  The more people who tell me I should get a new car, the more I want to prove them that I don’t need it, and the more I want to keep my current car.  Is this the decision that most people in my position would choose?  No, probably not.  But it’s the right decision for me.

I really think you should challenge your own beliefs and decisions for almost everything in life.  This will help you find what’s best for you.  I hope I don’t offend you with the following questions, but here are some things that I think you should be asking yourself.  Not all of them apply to me, but some of them do.

Should I get married early in life?  Or even at all?  Is buying a house (and all the responsibilities that come with it) a good idea for me and my spouse?  If I buy a house, is bigger always better?  Would I be happier with less material possessions instead of endlessly accumulating them?  How often do I honestly wear each article of clothing I own?  Do I believe in my religion because my parents instilled those beliefs from when I was young, or have I taken a careful assessment of what they mean to me later in life?  What do I spend most of my time doing?  Does that make me truly happy?  Do I enjoy going to work every day?  Do all of the people in my life make me happy?

If you read some of these questions and you were unsatisfied with your thoughts, it might help to contemplate those topics some more, or discuss them with a good friend.  Take your time; there is no rush to reach a decision or conclusion.  There are some questions on that list that I’ve thought about for days on end, and I still haven’t solidified my thoughts.

What I ultimately believe is that if you seriously consider what you want out of this life and follow your heart, you won’t be wrong often, and you won’t have many regrets either.