One Year Around the World: The After Video

By on February 14, 2017

343 Days, 42 Countries, 31 Currencies, 29 Languages, and 6 Continents later, it has come to the inevitable end of my trip around the world. It’s an odd combination of remembering it all like it was just yesterday, and feeling as if I’ve lived through 3 different lifetimes. I’ve changed: coming out utterly fearless, fiercely independent, passionately liberated, and radically political with hope for change. I no longer wonder who I am or what I believe, and I’ve learned more about the world and myself this year than all of my school years combined. I fell in and out of love. My body has been challenged, my mind has been liberated, and my patience has been tested. It’s been the best year of my life, with everyday better than the last… one that I will remember forever and tell me children about.

  • I’ve learned how to get anywhere and everywhere around the world, no matter the language, no matter the country, no matter the customs;
  • I learned the basics in over 14 different languages;
  • I’ve formed relationships with hundreds of people in over 65 different countries that I can stay with at anytime (and visa versa);
  • I’ve slept in a 100 or so different beds; used about 40 different types of toilets;
  • I’ve learned how to guess 11 different types of English accents;
  • I Learned how to properly judge distance in meters, weight in kilos, and temperature in Celsius;
  • I’ve learned to cherish/value my alone time and never get bored no matter how many grueling 30hr bus rides I have to endure;
  • I ate 100% local in every country, focusing on the cheapest most authentic street food I could find; I learned how to eat rice with chopsticks;
  • I learned the true value of a dollar and what It can (and can’t) buy you anywhere around the world; I learned how to make my own sangria & rum;
  • I learned how to roll my own cigars & cigarettes;
  • I’ve learned to prefer and adore public/local transportation and take it in EVERY country I’ve been to;
  • I’ve learned to LOVE and adore tap & fresh water over bottled water;
  • I learned how to drive a scooter & motorcycle in some of the toughest roads and most “dangerous” places on earth;
  • I’ve dined with and befriended some of the poorest people on the planet and realized they are actually the richest;
  • I felt for the first time what it’s like to be stuck out on the street and homeless (happened a few times by accident);
  • I learned how to properly handwash my own clothes;
  • I learned the art of minimalism, letting go of material things, and surviving with only a backpack for a whole year;
  • I learned how to properly take a bucket shower; learned to love a cold shower (of which I had 75% of all year);
  • I mastered the art of haggling with street vendors & shop owners; mastered the art of identifying scams and rip-offs from a mile away;
  • I had about 1,112 Donald Trump conversations with people from every 65 different countries;
  • I learned how to live comfortably in the jungle for weeks with no electricity, running water, or A/C; I’ve mastered the proper procedures how to be safe in pretty much every country from pickpockets, thieves, and the malicious people;
  • I learned how to make my own concrete, build a wall, make bricks, and build an outhouse from scratch;
  • I learned how to properly cut grass using a machete and cook over an open fire;
  • And most importantly, I’ve acquired ENDLESS information about world politics, international perspectives, views on education & healthcare, corruption, racism, food diets, ways of living, and cultural backgrounds/customs.

The Big Revelations:

  1. The world is a genuinely safe and loving place, with kind hospitable people in every culture/country. It just needs to be understood. Some people just get unlucky with a few bad apples. The media blows things out of proportion almost 100% of the time, get out there and find out for yourself (but have commonsense).
  2.  Every country, no matter how big or how small, has something to offer. Whether it’s a beautiful waterfall/beach, a dazzling vibrant culture, or delicious food.
  3. The world is not all that different (well…with the exception of maybe India lol). We are all human beings filled with dreams, aspirations, love, affection, and beliefs. We all deserve to be treated with the same respect and kindness.
  4. Time and time again, I see that around the world the poorer nations are consistently happier, less stressed, more content, and well balanced than the richer ones. A lesson to the Western world on why you are working and how much importance you put on money. Let it fuel your lifestyle, don’t let it run your life.
  5. The world is rapidly changing, in my opinion, for the worse as far as traveling is concerned. Environmentally, things might be completely different 10-20years from now. There may not be any more African safaris with exotic animals, no more Amazon jungle tours or secret paradise beaches untouched. The time to travel is NOW, don’t wait until it’s too late.
  6. Nurture as many relationships as you can, you never know what’s going to happen when you are halfway around the world.

This Journey would not have been as life changing without the wonderful, beautiful, amazing people I’ve met on the trip – both locals, and travelers. Facebook says I’ve became friends with 811 people this year, and I bet I’ve met and talked to at least twice that. I’ve been invited into family dinners for Ramadan, welcomed into homes with open arms, attended local weddings and bachelor parties, volunteered with children, attended family reunions, Couchsurfed with strangers, attended birthday parties with people I barely knew, explored through foreign lands with backpackers from all over the world. The generosity, hospitality and kindness I’ve been shown on this trip will warm my heart forever, and I will do my best to return the favor for the rest of my lifetime.

Thank You So Much EVERYONE, you know who you are <3

  1. Reply


    August 16, 2017

    Such a very useful article. Very interesting to read this article. I would like to thank you for the efforts….

    • Reply

      JR Harrison

      December 9, 2017

      welcome 🙂


JR Harrison III
Atlanta, GA

Five years ago I decided to stop living my life vicariously through others, ditch the "all American dream" to a routine life and travel the world. Since then I have traveled to over 65 countries & 6 continents, seen 6 of 7 wonders, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro & Mt. Kinabalu, volunteered in India & Africa, dived with great white sharks, jumped off the highest bungee in the world, and re-discovered myself. I've created Savvy Vagabond to show the beautiful world as I see it, share my tips & tricks for backpacking on a shoestring, and most importantly, to inspire others to Refuse to Live Vicariously

“The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun”