Stats (as of 10/9/15):
Country: #26 (52 in my life) Flights: 34 Days Since Start: 77
Do you miss home?
I miss my parents, my animals, my brother and my close friends. But with that said, I never see myself calling “home” where my parents live or where I lived in LA. My home is the road; the constant comfort of relying in the unknown. I’ve accepted a lifestyle where I’m constantly on the go and can’t settle anywhere, I’ve tried. Sometimes I’m jealous of my brother because he’s so happy and content living simply. However, I find that I can’t stay in one place for more than a few months without having to go somewhere. I get sad and antsy and experience FOMO (fear of missing out… on experiencing our whole world). What will happen once I’ve seen the whole world? Well, the likelihood of me seeing our entire world, all 850+ Nations, Territories, Colonies, and every corner and crevice of earth is impossible. So, I will keep traveling once I’ve finished Expedition 196, in fact I’ve already organized where I’m going after. It worried me at first, thinking that I could never settle myself somewhere and be happy doing so… but now I’ve accepted it. I can’t imagine after this trip is over, moving back to the states and staying in one place for the rest of my life, or if I did, I’d have to travel every couple of months. Getting up and hopping on a plane is for me, like driving to work.
Do you ever get lonely?
The simple answer is no. Many people enjoy traveling with others to share the experience, also to have a close helping hand during times of need; sickness, bookings, etc. As many of you know, I love my alone time. I live alone in the states, I travel, hike, cook, everything for the most part in life, I do alone. I compete in individualized sports since working in a team setting has never been appealing to me. I work alone and in fact can’t stand working under someone else especially if it’s working towards accomplishing their dream. I travel alone and always have because it allows me the freedom to soak up moments that might otherwise be interrupted by the other person. I travel alone because it allows me the freedom to go where I want, when I want, at my own leisure. Traveling alone awakens my senses and allows me to talk less, and listen more. It allows me to meet new people, accept help, engage in new conversation. It allows me to talk to anyone I want, without that other person holding me back because they don’t want to talk to them. It opens doors. It allows me to receive that complementary upgrade to Business Class because I am alone. It allows me to journal more. Most importantly, traveling alone allows me the freedom to focus on my film and priorities with Expedition 196. I’m an introvert for the most part and a pretty good extrovert when I want to be. I will go days without saying a word and just observing, which allows me to be in the moment and absorb everything around me, it also allows me to be more alert and aware of my surroundings. So, whenever I’m feeling as though I want to engage in a conversation with someone or experience something about that country with someone or in a group, I look around and find someone to talk to. Ironically enough, I find that many times throughout the day I’m searching for a space to be alone. People constantly surround me, whether it’s on busses, planes, trains, in hotels, on the street, near the waterfall, wherever I go… people are there. Which is why I try to find places were I can be alone whenever possible, and most of the time it’s in nature to clear my head.
What do you do if you get sick?
I find a decent hotel, hunker down for a day or two, order room service which involves lots of soup and tea and find the modern comforts of a movie via iTunes and a phone call with my family and a friend… then it’s back to work.
Do you ever just want to give up?
It’s of course crossed my mind, but at the end of the day, this is what I live for and I want to see this Mission through. I always have to remind myself that everything in live has its difficult moments and it’s all about overcoming them to achieve that end result.
What was your philosophy of travel prior to starting Expedition 196?
In the past, I’d travel to countries observing things around me, but would feel very divided. I never felt as though I could relate to the people, cultures or environments, and always had that yearning to go back home to my comfort zone. Therefore, I could never really dive into a culture as fully as I would have liked to. I also felt very disheartened when I’d visit impoverished communities. I’d get really sad and want to help the local people, but didn’t know how.
What has changed since then?
Now, ironically enough, I feel as though I am one with the people, communities and environments that I interact with. I don’t feel any different than them, any more privileged. I’m choosing to call the world my home, and that means; to be accepting of other cultures and to see their view on things. Which is why now, I don’t feel that immense sadness for some of the impoverished cultures around the world as I once used to. There are different types of environments where impoverished communities will suffer more, such as some communities in Africa, who don’t have access to clean water, food sources, and are always at risk for diseases like Malaria, HIV, and Meningitis. However, the communities I’ve experienced so far throughout my travels have had plenty of resources and are generally happy living simply. They want to learn about your culture and welcome you into their little, cool, shack house.
My whole outlook on the world has changed since the start of this Expedition. People say that I should dye my hair brown, get brown contacts and gain some weight in order to avoid problems. Well why would I try to be someone new when I have yet to experience any problems with who I currently am? People are kind. I used to await dangerous circumstances, assuming that a threat lurked right around the corner. But the truth is, most people are kind and helpful, it’s only a small percentage of people in this world who will seek to hurt you.
Why on earth do you feel the need to travel to places that are dangerous?
If you can understand the feeling of going on a roller coaster, skydiving, buying a new house, competing in a sport, you know that these things involve taking a risk and feeling the thrill after having successfully completed a task that you set out for. You were once nervous, knowing the risks, but decided that you needed that feeling of curiosity, excitement, yearning, and the afterthought of being on a complete “high” on life. That is why I want to travel to “dangerous” places. The truth is, having traveled to upwards of 50 countries in my lifetime, the majority of countries are safe and beautiful, with only a handful being risky. We’re so skewed by what the media tell us about ‘dangerous’ countries, that is more bias. So for me, there’s this feeling of accomplishment that I want to feel after having been to that risky country, even more so after I’ve experienced the beauty of it. Because there is beauty everywhere, it’s just all about finding it and then sharing your experience with others. This Expedition is after all, about sharing the beauty of every Nation to promote Peaceful Tourism.
Have you thought about how risky this trip could be for you, considering your age, gender and citizenship?
Yes, and it’s probably riskier than if I were a 45 year old Male traveling wile wearing a floral shirt coming and from Christmas Island. I’m aware of the risks, and believe it or not, my yearning to want to promote peacefulness among every Nation outweighs the risks. I’m following my passion. Listen, none of us are going to make it out of this life alive, so why not follow our passion in the meantime?
How do you overcome the thought of something bad happening; kidnap, sexual assault, robbery, etc.?
Thankfully I’m confident in my Krav Maga skills. But the likelihood of being taken advantage of by 5 men with guns and making it out unharmed, is slim, because let’s face it, women have an unfair advantage that makes us 100% vulnerable in situations like these. It’s just the way it is. And, I can only hope that this doesn’t happen, but it doesn’t haunt my dreams or deter me from going anywhere. But this doesn’t really give me as much anxiety as being killed in a plane crash does. As for robbery? Take my stuff, I’ve got insurance. But nothing’s more important than my life.
What do you reckon you’ll do after this trip is over?
I plan on renting a cabin in the mountains of British Columbia for a couple months to piece together the trip with a clear mind. And I’ll also start looking into building my earth bag house, tiny house, or start looking into having a home base in a beautiful, serene part of America. One of my goals is to compete in my first full Ironman race around my 30th birthday, so I’ll likely for sure start training for that.
What is the end goal?
I’d love to continue inspiring people and traveling. And I hope that this trip will have made a significant difference in our world, enough to provide me with the opportunity to speak at Universities and for the Documentary to be used as an educational tool in High School and University classes. I also hope that I can help young girls to see their full potential and not limit themselves to what society says they should do.
You can also find Cassie on Instagram @expedition_196 and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Expedition196.