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Touch down on Continent six!

It’s been an interesting 14 days since leaving Asia. There has been a lot of reflection on the past eleven and a half months and a lot of tears.  I mean a LOT of tears.


I have said it before but I have cried more this year than my entire life combined.  More realistically, probably a thousand times more than my entire life.


Reflecting on all of the amazing things I have seen and done over 24 countries and now on my sixth continent is a lot to absorb. Equally important is all of the amazing friends I have met around the world. I am completely and utterly overwhelmed.


I am actually in complete disbelief and denial that the year is almost over.  How can this end?  There are tears streaming down my cheek as I type, unsure if they are happy or sad or more than likely both. This is more than I deserve, that I know.


I’ve spent a lot of time the last few weeks looking through the 8,428 photos on my phone from 2023. To me, that’s 8,428 memories.  Snapshots of a time, place and space in my life that I totally relive each and every time I review them.


Frankly, I can remember how I felt in each one of those moments.  The smells, the sounds, the breeze on my face. It’s a remarkable and powerful feeling that I hope never fades with time.


I also can’t wait for the next 16 nights.  Continent six: Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls and then onto the Drake Passage and finally stepping foot on Antarctica and reaching the goal of stepping foot on all seven continents in a single calendar year.


Looking back on the first major international trip of my life in March to Australia, I honestly had no clue what this year was going to be and how different I would feel today than I did then.  There is the same “excitement” but it hits differently now, only fully realizing what the goal means and how it’s impacted the trajectory of my future.


With that reflection is so much self growth.  I am proud of myself! Honestly, I can’t say that about myself very frequently. Self doubt and self-consciousness have largely ruled my world until now.  I feel I’ve done a good job of changing that narrative internally, and I am utterly proud of myself.


I had a chance to talk with Kristie this week, on Instagram, where this all started.  I have been searching for months but haven’t been able to locate the original messages so I was doubting I remembered correctly who I was talking to on New Years Eve 2022. She confirmed, as I had remembered, that it was she and I that were talking while I was sitting in front of a slot machine in Blackhawk, Colorado where she asked the most impactful question of my life, “would you go?”


She had messaged me a few moments earlier on that fateful late afternoon less than a year ago. Knowing that I liked to travel, she asked if I had seen the videos on TikTok about the Drake Passage and then followed up asking if I had ever been to Antarctica.


I replied, “no, that I hadn’t been and that I don’t have TikTok but I knew of the Drake Passage.”


She then asked, “would you go?”


I sat there, stopped playing the slot machine and was thinking to myself, yes, I would go. Why not?


My mind may not work like yours, but to me, I saw a flat map of Earth and the continents started lighting up like the Simon Says game from the 80s.  First Australia. About ten days earlier I had already booked a trip to Australia for my March birthday. I had also decided earlier in December that I was going to go to Norway + Sweden in 2023 as I had always been wanted to go to explore my family roots.  Europe flashed. It then went onto light up South America and then Antarctica. If I did all of that then I only have to go to Africa and Asia and I could go to all seven continents.


Flash. Flash. Flash. Flash. Flash. Flash. Flash.  Seven Flashes.  The continents lit up and the map danced in light. The excitement quickly grew.


I believe I replied to Kristie within sheer moments that it was going to go to all seven continents in a year.  That’s honestly how quickly this came to be.


I went up to my hotel room and started to see if it was really possible. It was.


After doing some internet searches and checking out what the cost of all of that travel would be for about thirty minutes, I went downstairs and ate at the casino buffet, solo, and went back to gambling. I called my parents later that night and told them of my plan.


One simple question, “would you go” has changed my life, forever.


How my mind went from “would you go” to “I am going to step on all seven continents on a year” is probably a scientific evaluation that I am not ready to hear the results of, but there are absolutely ZERO regrets.


As I stand on continent number six, with number seven in the crosshairs, I encourage you all to think about your upcoming New Years Resolutions. At this point last year on December 14th I had no plan, no resolution, not even a thought of doing what I am about to accomplish.


If Kristie hadn’t have reached out with an incredibly random thought and question, I wouldn’t be here today.  She couldn’t have had any idea on what impact she would have on my life in that moment.  I think she does now after our conversation this week.  Takeaway: you also don’t know who may be the cheerleader in your corner.  They may also not know.  Say the compliment. Ask the question. Let someone know you are thinking of them, even if it’s just a random thought. It may be life changing.


I am very happy with my photography and the journey that has taken me on. The photos have been the best souvenirs that I could have accumulated.  I have very few others from this year.


Writing of the upcoming book has also been therapeutic.  When I sat down the first day to write in early November, I had a rough outline of what I wanted the book to be.  Those chapters are included, but it has evolved into some other topics which I am excited to share once published.   


The book is not going to be a daily diary like the blog, actually far from it.  There will also be no photos in the first book.  I plan to publish a coffee table style book separately with my favorite photos and the story behind them.


But, before I can finish the book, I have to first live the last few chapters. Continents six and seven are still in front of me.


As I sing my swan song on 2023, I appreciate your applause, the kind words, likes, follows, comments on posts that have been so incredibly encouraging.  I need you and I appreciate you.


To my referral partners and clients, thank you.  I’ll end the year being the top producing loan officer from our office. I add that not to brag but to illustrate how remarkable this year has been. Success has surrounded me this year.  It gave me the hug I needed.


There is a saying going around on social media that fits.  “I have to be successful.  I like expensive shit.” 💁🏻‍♂️


Mortgage has been challenging this year, as much if not more than any other year since I started more than ten years ago. Travel has been a great distraction on what would have otherwise been an extremely stressful year.


For this story to come together, the timing was right, I was asked the question “would you go”, I saw an opportunity and then I took it.  It was the right time, place and space in my life.  All three had to come together.


As I set out to explore Argentina, I hope I can relay how excited I am thru words and photos to be here and be so close to reaching my goal.  I can already feel amazing energy coming my way and I hope I can convey that thru the final posts and photos.


Thank you for following along.


Cole from Colorado

Making a list and checking it twice.

6 down, ONE to go!!! (How is this happening?!)





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about me:

Hey!  I am Cole from Grand Junction, Colorado. In 2023 I stepped on all seven continents, in a single calendar year, solo!

The year continues to shape my life and my lust for travel.

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