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About Me: Go East, Young Man…

May 19, 2011.

If you know who I am, or the adventure I’m about to embark on for the next two years, you might call me overly cavalier, which is fair. Cavalier is a great synonym for stupid. My name is Steve—Steve McDonald—and at this fleeting moment, I am a disappointed, twenty-three year old waiter at a chintzy, godforsaken restaurant. Having recently received a hard-earned college degree in ~**~*arts~*~**~ (laugh, cry), I’ve come to a terrifying realization—a realization that most post-grads experience after being unscrupulously dropped into the horrors of “the real world.” That is: I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing with my life, and I’m shaking in my Converse. I guess I had always just expected something big to happen to me upon stepping through the grand archway of adulthood. But instead of Warner Bros swooping down from the heavens and whisking me off to fortunes and fame, I’m just kind of sitting here, on a degree, feeling as though Manifest Destiny has been foisted down my throat. It’s a cold feeling when you realize the apex of your professional responsibilities is serving Cape Cod Reubens and Wildberry Lemonades to the cantankerous senior-set. Sure, I have hopes and dreams, but mostly I just bring people extra ketchup.

I’m about to change all that, however. I’m about to do something momentous. Daring. Exhilarating.

You might even say, cavalier…

I can think of some other exciting words that suit me: Reckless. Irresponsible. Unspeakably good-looking. Bankrupt of any sense of reality. For all I know, this grand adventure that I, and hopefully you, are about to embark on could quite possibly end with me sprawled face down in some goat cave in Pakistan, sobbing like Nancy Kerrigan as a mob of Taliban zealots sodomize every orifice on my body to the tune of the Star Spangled Banner.  All of which is liable to be broadcasted on your local news. Alas, I’ve been lusting for adventure since I was little, sitting under the covers late at night, leafing through National Geographic like travel porn. I’ll be damned if anything stops me now.

I grew up, and still live in the gentrified, vanilla suburbs of Massachusetts, much to my dismay. And in February, 2012, I will quit my job, don a backpack, and correct the situation indefinitely. This website is the story of my hobofication.

My mission: To backpack across Asia, from Mumbai to Manila, alone, over the course of two years. There will be no plans, no reservations. Just a backpack. My trail starts in India, before winding up through tumultuous Pakistan to the frozen heights of Tibet, then big, red China, followed by Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Borneo, Brunei, and ending in the turquoise archipelago of the Philippines.

This blog is a story about a guy who packed a backpack and left everything he knew behind for two years. This is my ode to life, my manifesto to location independence, and my Motorcycle Diaries or Eat, Pray, Love, albeit with more explosive diarrhea, scamming, and animal attacks. Want to come along? Of course you do! You’re just sitting on your ass, trawling Facebook.

Join the adventure by clicking the “Follow Me” button, or the “Like” button on the Facebook widget in the sidebar to your right. I hope to see you soon.

Go on. Click the button. Right now. I’m watching you. Just do it. Do it. Click the button. I love you.

For any newcomers, I recommend you read this next, the genesis of this site, the very first post: Stepping Off The Edge

In the darkness, I could feel my heart pounding. I had been lying in bed for over an hour, staring up at the ceiling of my hotel room, fighting to breathe against the… (read more from “Stepping off the Edge”)


Catch up with the adventure! To see a comprehensive index of travel stories (complete with summaries and sorted by country), mosey on over to the “Travel Stories Index” tab at the top of the page.

For tips and tricks to living like a filthy hobo and traveling on the cheap, immerse yourself in “Backpackology 101,”on the menu bar above.

A picture’s worth a thousand words!! And you’re too lazy to read! Head on over to the “Photo Travelogues” page for pretty pictures and fun videos.

For an intimate break-down of everything that’s in my backpack, plus my “Ultimate Packing List,” click the “What’s In My Bindle?” tab above.

Lastly, to follow my current whereabouts, behold the (somewhat) realtime map on the “Where’s Steve Now?” page.


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