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Early Fall 1990 – At Fours of age, I prepared to plan for one of the first biggest trips in my entire life. A nearly 2-hour commute to kindergarten. I remember the feeling I had on the night before. It was a feeling that had given me strong sense of awareness, preparedness, and drive. Excitement and a big, unknown adventure on the horizon. Now, I know most of you reading this is probably thinking why a 2-hour commute to kindergarten for me is such a big deal, and how could it be a big deal for your kindergarten.
It wasn’t a summer vacation to Europe, an escape from life’s fetching demands to a sunny Island situated in the Caribbeans, or a family state-to-state road trip. Yes, it was school. My earliest childhood memories were impressed by cool adventure, new travel experiences and everything exciting that came along the journey. My grandparents lived less than a mile away, our small local inner-city shopping center located within a 1-mile vicinity of my mother’s home consisted of a gas station, a market, and small locally worked businesses like shops and restaurants which were also less than a mile away. And my mother took me to pre -k at school also less than a mile away. My primary school then, however, was not located within my local inner-city limits. Leaving the inner city to commute into communities where massive upper middle-class estates and one percent mansions lie to receive my education became a big deal to me. On my daily 4-hour commute that lasted for six years up into my pre-teens, along with my backpacks, folders of research and books, I would often dream of the day my house would be one of the mansions I would see every day. More along the scenic route includes fancy cars alongside the school bus commute, gigantic tractor trailer trucks, sometimes with dozens of cars attached to it on massive highways amongst country landscapes, acres of land where oversized estates would lie in the security of mile long fences and gates. Sometimes the route had given miles of massive forests along roads, cathedral style sites, and long roads of farmland. I never discovered a moment where I would get tired of those mind-blowing sights given to me.
Traveling hours between towns and cities became the norm for me. It became a big part of my life. It was something that invested most of my time. Luckily for me, I had the weekends off from traveling. Up until my teen years were over in 2005, I would only travel to other states. My summer vacations consisted of road trips along the United States’ East Coast. Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, and New York State. Preparing at home for state travel became something I had gotten used to and if I had found out which state I was going to just the night before then I would only pack a travel bag with my favorite essentials. My electronics were a Walk-Man, some music cassette tapes of recorded songs that spun on the radio, a CD player with a complete Destiny’s Child CD collection, a t-shirt, a pair of jeans, magazines, a pair of shorts, and that was my summer travel duffle bag.
After finishing my first year of college in 2005, I would eventually take a job working commission Retail in a high-end luxury mall surrounded by the mansion communities I would come to reminisce of traveling to for school. Inspired by my dreams and travels, I made a permanent move to New York City in 2007. The next decade to come, between 2007- 2017, I had enrolled into New York University and accepted many jobs including my first office job in the Wall Street neighborhood working tireless hours. But I really wanted to continue my journey exploring as much of the world as possible, however, I did not think I could bare the weight of expenses traveling beyond my country’s borders with the responsibilities I had that often-included college tuition, bills, and other due payments. I could not think of a reason to travel abroad with the type of work I was committed to. I wasn’t making a lot of money, and often happiness was hard to maintain which made me more eager to travel. To my surprise, an opportunity presented itself and offered my first international travel experience. During the summer of 2013, I visited my best friend in Paris. I also visited to the south of France, and Monaco. I felt like a little boy again. The same four-year-old boy who traveled his first spectacular 4-hour scenic road trip to and from school. I believe that when you travel to places you have never been before, it is always very important that you try something new, and to also build from the experiences, and to allow yourself to fully become impressed. I encourage you. Every place that you will travel to is different. No place is the same. Accepting new ways of life, trying different foods, learning about, and understanding various cultures is yourself evolving. This is my meaning for travel. Every new language I speak, and every country I visit, it is important for me to make it about the people and their culture. I find ways to always implement learning and culture building exercises such as nature visits, exploring historical monuments, and tour walks. And I share the experiences with the readers of 456 Lifestyles. If you open your mind up to exploring new places, there is a great benefit to receiving self-growth. Sit with yourself, read your favorite guides, (I recommend the 456 Lifestyle travel guides), and let your travel itinerary guide you on an experience of a lifetime. My France travel itinerary, however, was planned by my good friend, Guido. He had taken up a career offer in Paris and relocated from Germany. His idea of taking up a new career in a different country was to invite guests from all over the world to truly enjoy the moment. My arrival to France also coincided with my 27th birthday in 2013. On the way to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, unaware of travel guidelines pertaining to flight departures, I missed my flight. Although the flight still had another hour before departure, they refused to let me check in and board. I frantically had to borrow money from a friend and purchase a new ticket that didn’t take off until the next day.
Pursuing the American dream consisted of several jobs, careers, side hustles, private university, big city living and a move to the suburbs, car ownership, raising a Havanese puppy, all to lose everything to become homeless in 2018. After investing my entire life based on education and work, and financial support from friends all seem to fail me when I least expected. Losing everything took a huge emotional toll on me and have always seemed unfathomable to recover from. With little to no money, I visited and stayed with friends and family in New York, slept on NYC subway trains, and signed up to receive a bed in homeless shelters. I spent several months figuring out what to do with my life. I continued with job interviews hoping to receive employment to pay off my university debt, and rebuild, however, nothing I did seemed to work.
I never would lose sense of myself. I had already begun to identify within myself a developing sense of existence because of initiating travel as a responsibility, passion, and commitment. I became impressed by nature and the possibilities of sustainability. I witnessed the possibility of connecting living proof, and nurtured routine and responsibility to my own practices and real experiences. I became smarter, more diversified in thinking, and became engaged with people from different economic backgrounds. I received many lessons about life throughout my ups and downs. I continued to dream. I needed to make a real decision.
Taken up with motivation on my thoughts and experiences, successes, failures, and travels, I would plan a visit to Guido’s home in Germany where I could imagine a life of picking up and rebuilding. I exited the homeless shelter, and with what little savings I had, I left the U.S, and embarked on a journey where I got the inspiration to start building a new travel brand to create inspiration, build change, and summon motivation for those looking for it and encourage everyone to leave their comfortable surroundings and travel to a dream destination. The brand, formally named 456 Lifestyles, is named after my birth time. 4:56 p.m. Really born to travel. And today, after traveling to 17 countries, and revisiting those couple tries many times, the travel brand has existed for 3 months, and has reached over 5,000 people.
My current position as editor-in-chief allows travel to be very helpful towards my perception of the world. Making the decision to further commit my life to exploring the world and its diverse landscape, climates, people, cultures, currencies, and political climates all to say the least has been key to my approach on what keeps me motivated. I always try to learn something new in every unexplored place I travel too. I am sharing my experiences and motivations with you as a world traveler and I hope you find the content and products presented from 456 Lifestyles to be helpful, meaningful and can influence richness in your travels.