David Lee is on the road to recovery. But at the same time he’s enabling a new generation of addicts in the worst possible way.
David and I have something in common. We are both “hair challenged” junkies. But that’s where the similarities end, as he’s taken his vices to a whole new level. He’s made it his job to teach innocent hard-working people how to embrace the dark world of addiction on his blog: Go Backpacking
Now Dave, I know this subject may be difficult to talk about. But you’re amongst friends here. Nothing that you say today will ever leave this room.
Share your darkest secrets with us, and let the healing begin…
When did you shoot-up with your first dose of wanderlust?
“My first travel experiences were as a kid on family vacations, including Disney World, Arizona, and the Pennsylvania Dutch country. My favorite was a 2-week Hawaiian vacation when I was 13.
It wasn’t until I went backpacking around Western Europe the summer after my college graduation that I really caught the travel bug.“
What made you run away from home?
“My senior year in college, all my best friends were planning a trip to Europe, and I was feeling left out. I knew it’d drive my parents crazy to say I’d be going traveling for 2 months after college, instead of looking for a job, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.”
How did your family & friends respond to your unconventional lifestyle?
“My parents quickly got over the summer in Europe after college, as I soon found a job upon my return.
Ten years later, I think it was much harder for them to accept that I was going to resign from my well-paying management job to travel the world for a year or more. Over time, they did come to accept it. Likewise with my desire to turn traveling into a career. My friends have always been supportive of my travel ambitions. “
Has your travel addiction changed you?
“One of the main reasons I enjoy travel so much is the way it changes me as a person. During that post-college trip to Europe, I learned that I was fully capable of traveling on my own, and enjoying it. I embraced the challenges, the good times in the company of new friends, and the feelings of loneliness. And I came out stronger for it.
Recently, I’ve realized I no longer want to be a solo traveler. I’ve had my fill, and am now more open than ever to finding a woman with whom I can share these amazing experiences.”
What’s your seediest travel vice?
“Eating is probably my biggest vice on the road. I love to try the local foods, and am increasingly springing for high-end, fine dining experiences as well as the regular restaurant fare and street food. “
Can you tell me about your biggest travel regret?
“Even though my travels haven’t always gone according to plan, I don’t have any regrets about the choices I’ve made. Nor have I ever, for one second, regretted my decisions to travel after college, resign from my job to travel around the world, or turn my travel blogging into a full time job.”
How do you fund your addiction? Armed robberies? Prostitution? Stealing copper wire?
I’m very happy to be living a location independent lifestyle, as it allows me to continue traveling and living abroad for as long as I want.”
Have you ever overdosed?
“Yes, I’ve felt burnt out from travel before, and it’s usually because I’m trying to see too much, too fast. I’ve found that for every month of traveling, I like to settle down in a city for a month. Actually, it’s closer now to two months of staying put for every month of travel.
This strategy allows me to get to know a city and culture more deeply, as well as build some friendships and relationships with the locals.”
Do you find it hard relating to normal people who are clean & sober?
“No, not really, however I do think it’s dangerous to surround yourself with only other travel fanatics. In some respects, it distances you from the reality of every day life for most people, including friends and family.
While it’s great to have the support of others in the travel community, I find it can be insulating as well. Ideally, I’d like to find a way of creating more balance in my social life. I think that will only come when I pick a place to settle down.”
Has your addiction got you into any trouble?
“I’ll take the fifth.”
If someone wanted to get a little taste of your addiction, which of your blog posts do you recommend they check out?
“I’ve had some amazing experiences in the last 9 months. I took a last minute cruise to the Galapagos Islands, completed the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, and recently returned from a G Adventures trip to Patagonia. Going ice climbing on a glacier fulfilled a childhood dream of mine.”
Do you ever think you’ll be able to kick the habit?
“I’ve already begun to slow down. Whatever possessed me to travel non-stop around the world for 14 months has since left my body. I’ve gotten a taste for Australia and the Pacific, Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America, so now I feel like I can better choose where I want to spend my time.
Since the end of my RTW trip, I’ve spent 18 months living in Medellin Colombia, and 5 months traveling in Peru and living in Lima. I’ve enjoyed both experiences, and already have plans to return to spend more time in Lima this year.
Once I get to know the other countries in South America, and specifically Brazil, I’ll decide where I want to settle down.”
How do we find you to stage an intervention?
Thanks for sharing your experiences with us Dave. I sincerely hope your powerful story can help others
surrender to recover from this awesome devastating addiction.