Hey, I’m Alden.

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 before 2016? Well here’s the short ver­sion.

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. The sec­ond is a video that is a short overview of canyoneer­ing. The sport that con­sumed most of my free time for 5–6 years before embark­ing on my trip.

And if you are inter­est­ed in my upbring­ing, my life in Sci­en­tol­ogy before I left in my ear­ly 20s, I am writ­ing a series of posts enti­tled “It’s My Life”. I’ve post­ed a few so far, It’s just the start so stay tuned for more.

G.O. 016 – Alden Ander­son