The Hard Truth About the End of a Trip

Four friends facing away from the camera, sitting staring at the ocean from a grassy knoll in Bocas Del Toro, Panama.I haven’t been writing much lately, I just haven’t had much to report. It’s been a bit like groundhog day out here – surf, sun, cards, reading, napping, beers with friends and reggeaton all night. I’ve purposefully sat still for over a month, creating a vacation from my vacation in one of my favorite places – Bocas Del Toro. Having hit my 6 month travel anniversary last week I’m feeling content – extremely pleased with all I have seen and done over the last six months, happy with how my Spanish has developed, blessed to have made so many great friends and at peace with my looming return date.

I’m excited to go home, excited to see friends and family I have been missing over the last six months. Excited to share the unedited stories of my travels in verbal form. I’m actually excited to decide what the next step in my career will be and I’m looking forward to developing a routine (gym, diet, stable friendships).

I’ll miss the road forever. It’s in my soul to want to move around, I realize this. Some people, before I left for this trip, advised that it’s a great time in my life to be traveling as it would give me a chance to “get it out of my system”. And although I am happy with this trip, content to go home, it’s not out of my system and I doubt it ever will be. The draw of the world will always be there for me, haunting and tantalizing, making me wonder what’s just around the next unexplored corner. Who is there? What are they doing? How does the language sound and what kind of exotic foods do they eat? What kind of beautiful things exist in the world that I don’t even know about yet?

And I’ll miss my travel friends the most. The people you meet on the road are unlike any you’ll come across at home simply because you know, before you even open your mouth and introduce yourselves, that you share the same spirit, the same heart. You’d never ask a fellow traveler why they are traveling, the answer is implicitly understood. And if the question were ever asked, the answer would be a shrug of the shoulders with palms open to the sky, a big grin on the face and wandering eyes scanning the surroundings as if to say “just look around”. Meeting these individuals will reaffirm all that is good in the world- their kindness and sense of humor will overwhelm you and their departure will tear your heart out. If anything, this experience teaches you how to love and let go, over and over again. It teaches you quickly and acutely that nothing last forever, that each moment is where life is lived, that you must appreciate the things worth appreciating in the here and now. With the best of friends you depart with vague plans to rendezvous, plans that both parties know may never materialize. But it is ok because you both know you made the best of the time you had together.

I know that this trip is over, but my trip, my journey through life is ongoing. The same things that make me happy on the road can help to make me happy at home. Meeting new people, learning new things and pushing my comfort zone help me to engage more fully with life so I will think long and hard about how to continue doing those things from a more stationary position. And I will continue to travel, whether it be shorter trips around North and Central America or another extended trip in a few years, I cannot sit still. And I’m going to keep writing – the blog will not end just because my trip is over. I’m going to work on being even more honest and more useful as time goes on. I’ll write about incorporating lessons learned from the road back into everyday life and I’ll share tips to make traveling more simple and rewarding. So stay tuned!


  • Erika M


    Its been so much fun reading your blogs and checking out all of your amazing photos on facebook! I feel like I got to experience a little bit of what you experienced through your words and photos. You are probably right that the travel bug never really leaves your system… I know it hasn’t left mine! We miss you and are looking forward to seeing you when you get home! – E

    • Brandon

      Thanks Erika! Definitely looking forward to seeing you, Jeff and Finn!

  • Mary Spallino

    Brandon~ I Love this blog, and your introspective insight. While I know you will miss your journey in points south, we will rejoice in having you around here, sharing yourself and your stories with us. “Life” truly is the journey and the destination~ no matter where you are or what you are doing. You will travel through your daily life and always “arrive” somewhere. Whether it’s your physical destination, an emotional “aha” destination, or a spiritual place of comfort, your life will always be that journey and arrival. So just keep on enjoying it! I’m proud of you nephew and can’t wait to see you! Love you~
    Aunt Mary

    • Brandon

      Thanks Aunt Mary, glad you enjoy the blog! The journey is definitely what matters!

  • Satish

    Great post brother, really felt what you said. I’m hoping to be able to join you on one of your travels, or maybe you can join us. Plenty more of India to see, Thailand needs to be expereinced, and South Africa beckons… UIntil then, I think a weekend roadtrip is in order in the near future.

  • martha martel

    You are amazing!! Love you. Happy Easter!!!

  • Yo dawg, let’s drink a beer. Call me

  • Kerry Perez

    Brandon, this post gave me chills. You painted a picture that is so vivid, elicited feelings so palpable, and conjured up visions so desirable… it made me want to hop on a plane tonight and begin an indefinitely long adventure. Thank you for sharing.

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