I stopped to catch my breath. I had been snowboarding all day and I was exhausted but feeling alive. I took a moment to rest and appreciate the effervescent pine forest around me. The air was impossibly clean and pure while the snowy slopes glistened under empty blue skies and a golden sun. I laughed a deep, hardy laugh to myself, turned my board downhill and continued my vacation.

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It had been a few weeks since I quit the oil field… and I was on cloud nine!!! I was living in Denver and spending my time snowboarding, taking Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes or drinking heavily. One night I finished a whole bottle of Maker’s Mark to myself! I was not taking it easy by any means, I was way too excited! Picture the Wolf of Wall Street meets, I dunno… Aziz Ansari? Either way I was having a blast!

Thanks to all my hard work, I paid off my student loans, my credit cards, and my trip to Africa and had $12,000 in savings. I was a freakin’ king! (Have you ever seen those videos of a baby goat jumping for joy? That… but with moneyJ)

I never in my life had so much money! All my financial stress and worry about money was nonexistent. No more stress over how I would pay for things. No more bills or debt to worry about. No more relying on my parents for food and a place to live. There was no more anxiety or fear that I’d accomplish nothing with my life. I mean… an African safari was so close I could taste it! It all just melted away in an avalanche of relief and satisfaction. I was finally my own person! That feeling of freedom and independence was so good, nothing else mattered and I continued to drink, party and celebrate the life I felt was owed to me.

I had achieved my goals and now, it was just time to wait until my trip to Kenya, a few months away!

After partying in Denver, Kansas City, St. Louis and Panama City Beach, Florida and staying in expensive hotels and dining at lavish restaurants, I flew to England to see my dad.

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[I finished my beer and reached for another from the cooler beside me, but hesitated. I was tired, drunk and dizzy from the baking sun above. I sat there in the sandy beaches of Florida and stared across the ocean, blinking mindlessly at the horizon. My breathing was shallow and labored. I felt… I don’t know what. But then a loud, forceful voice in my head said, “You’ve earned this and it’s time to celebrate. Keep drinking.” Habit took over as I popped another cold one and guzzled it down.]

It felt good to travel abroad again. It’s like an itch that needs scratching if I don’t explore internationally every year or so.

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Once in England, we did a couple of father-son outings but decided to venture out to uncharted territory and visit Czech Republic.

My trip to Kenya was fast approaching but before that chapter begins, my epic holiday continued with a week in Prague with my dad!

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