When I was 27 years old, I took a year off between my undergraduate studies and my first year of medical school to travel throughout Western Europe and the British Isles using "Europe on $24 a Day" as my Bible. I did not know it then, but this experience would shape my young life.
I had read Thoreau's Walden. After subsisting on the bare essentials, he made the statement, "I went to the woods to live deliberately." I, on the other hand, was consumed by wanderlust. I knew that for me, gaining this type of perspective - in short, living deliberately - meant traveling.
I spent my first several days in London familiarizing myself with the local culture. I was operating under the assumption that an English-speaking location would be the best place to start. While trying to hitchhike from London to Scotland, though, I learned otherwise. I was picked up by a trucker with a nearly incomprehensible Cockney accent, and before I knew it, we ended up in Wales! Just like that, my travel plans had changed.
As a result of this detour, the logical next stop was Ireland where I found myself alone with a backpack, a sleeping bag, and nowhere to stay. After walking several miles, I saw a field where I could crash around 3:00 a.m. A few hours later, I awoke to the feeling of moisture on my face. My first thought was, "Oh no! It's raining, and I have no shelter," but when I opened my eyes, I discovered a cow slobbering on me! I think that was the fastest I have ever moved in my life.
Since those days, I have become a successful cardiologist, but I have also continued to travel. Along the way, I have also gained a deep love of photography, learning to use it to capture the great diversity of people and places I have witnessed across all 7 continents. This has and continues to be an evolutionary process for this physician who has spent his entire adult life practicing medicine.