Commended Anderson Alden United States

“In April 2016 I set off on a journey in Europe for 6 months and still haven’t returned home.My ramblings have taken me across Europe, through the Middle East and into Asia where I currently am, wandering around Vietnam, discovering the culture and beauty of this country. When I first arrived in Vietnam earlier this year, I bought a motorcycle in Saigon. Since then I’ve been riding through the country, through Laos and back into Vietnam. I love adventure as well as culture and history, off the beaten track explorations as well as the highlights of a region.”

And here’s the short version of what happened before 2016,

I was born and raised in the Sea Org, Scientology’s strict upper management organization. Signed my first Billion year contract when I was 9 years old. It was a very sheltered closed-to-the-outside-world upbringing.

I left the Sea Org when I was 21, the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. I learned how to drive, opened a bank account and began to learn about a world much different from what I was taught growing up.

Within a few years, I started a job in the Film and TV industry in Los Angeles California. I also began to explore the world in bits and pieces starting with a few weeks driving across the Yucatan Peninsula with my buddy Shane.

Embracing my passion for the outdoors and exploring I set out on a 2-day solo backpacking trip into the local mountains. I was ill prepared for the California heat and lack of water availability but I came out the other side knowing much more and began to realize how much I loved the outdoors.

Going on outdoors adventures was my primary pursuit in my 20s and something that defined my trips and consumed most of my free time. That was when I didn’t have a strict deadline for a TV show that needed to air or a film that needed to screen. A job in the film industry sometimes has a tendency to consume most of your life.

In my mid-twenties I took a look at my life and begun to realize that I was working paycheck to paycheck. I had a nice car and a nice apartment and some pretty cool stuff. But that doesn’t really make you happy. I was working day in and day out for stuff, stuff that I could only enjoy on the little bit of time off that I had. I didn’t hate my job by any means and I wasn’t working in a cubicle like some travelers whose stories I’ve read, but it just wasn’t the way I wanted to live my entire life. I decided that I wanted to see the world and get the education I missed by traveling around it.

And so I began to cut my expenses and slowly began to save my money for it. I also began to focus more on those things in life that made me happy, the outdoors.

Over the years something always got in the way or it just didn’t seem like the right time to leave. A lot of it was work. I had a good job and a great boss. Before leaving on my trip I was getting out into the local mountains 3 to 5 times a week. Waking up at 4 am and packing my bag to go explore a new canyon. Hiking, rappelling, climbing and more hiking all before showering and rushing to work. Or I’d get off work in the evening, meet up with a group of friends at a local trailhead, ropes, helmets, and harness packed and we’d all go and rappel through a canyon, sometimes even having late night potlucks in the wild. It was a good and fulfilling life but the itch to see the world never left me.

And then it finally happened. In April 2016 I needed to go to Italy for work. It was perfect. The perfect start to a trip around the world. And so once the project finished I stepped off the ship in Barcelona and began my trip around the world.

Check out these links if you’re interested in knowing a little more about me: