Here’s an inspiring story for anyone out there who dreams of traveling the world, but simply can’t get themselves to take that first major step out the door. Chris Sypolt was just that kind of person, but at the age of 44 he was finally compelled to leave the U.S. for the first time, and he did it in style. On his first trip out of the country he spent 80 days circling the globe.
Chris tells Gizmodo in an interview that there were a number of barriers to him starting to travel, not the least of which was a job that kept required him to be in constant contact at all times. He also says that while he loves to fly, he hates airplanes and anything longer than 4 hours on plane makes him antsy. That isn’t great when you’re traveling anywhere internationally. Finally, he says that he is also an extremely picky eater, which is also a barrier to traveling to foreign lands.
But in 2012, Sypolt says he had an incredibly rough year. His best friend died of colon cancer and his job requirements amped up even further. To escape some of the pressure, he took off for Hawaii for a little rest and relaxation and to get away from the hectic pace. He found that he liked it so much that he decided to continue traveling. From there, it was off to New Zealand, then Australia, and then on to Japan.
It turned out Chris discovered he was enjoying his time abroad, but he was still incredibly wary of the extremely long flight back home to Seattle. After thinking about what he wanted to do, he eventually found first class ticket on a flight from Osaka to London that included a bar right on the plane. He decided that would make the flight a bit easier, so he took the leap and went for it. That eventually took him on to parts of Europe and Iceland, before crossing the pond back to the U.S., where he spent a little time on the East Coast, then visited Pittsburgh, before returning home. In the end, his full itinerary looked like this: Seattle – Kaanapali – Waikoloa – Waikiki – Auckland – Brisbane – Cairns – Melbourne – Canberra – Sydney – Tokyo – Osaka – London – Paris – Amsterdam – Reykjavik – Boston – NYC – Philadelphia – DC – Pittsburgh – Seattle.
No surprisingly, Chris says the trip changed him forever. He says when he left he was angry and bitter, but by the time he returned home, he was grateful for his adventures. He tells Gizmodo that it only took three days to realize that he was on a life-altering journey, and now that he’s back home he has a much better perspective about life and the things that are the most important.
While he wasn’t off on some death-defying adventure into the Himalaya or the Amazon, I truly enjoyed reading about Chris’ travels. In part, because I am a bit of a traveler myself, but also because I really enjoy hearing about someone moving out of their comfort zone and discovering a true adventure, whatever that means to them personally. That is the case with this journey, which took him around the globe, but further than he ever imagined. Inspiring stuff for sure.