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Vagabond 29 Years Old

29 years old.

SUCHITOTO, El Salvador- Last Sunday, May 23, was my birthday. I mostly sat around dehydrated and chemicalated from the 18 alcoholic beverages I drank the night before. I say this to indicate that I have friends in Suchitoto, my wife threw a birthday party for me at El Necio, she bought me a big birthday cake, there were enough people around to eat it. I could not have drank so much beer any other way.

It made me happy to realize that I have friends here who were willing to come to my birthday party. It made me happier that they like me enough to buy me birthday beers. It is good to have friends, even if they are perpetually in the flow on the road sorts of friendships.

It is a pity that I will be leaving them tomorrow.

salvadoran woman white baby

Petra eating birthday cake

It is not common in travel to chance to find yourself in the company of so many friends that you could even have a birthday party, let alone have people come.

29 years old. I have lived on this earth for 29 complete years. By the Asian way of counting birthdays, I would now be 30. Fortunately, I am not Asian. I still have one more year before crossing perhaps the last age threshold that carries any real significance until 50.

On my birthday each year I look back at what happened since my last one and determine if I am happy with how I progressed, or if I am, in fact, hungry for another way.

This was perhaps one of the biggest years of my life: since my last birthday I was married any had my first child. A big year. A lot seems to have changed, but really the plot is still the same. I still travel, I still write on Vagabondjourney.com full time. But so much more has been added to this plot, I now have a family to travel with me.

And it has really worked. As a family we have traveled across the USA, to the Dominican Republic, I went to Haiti on my own, then we all went to Guatemala, to El Salvador, and now we should be going back to Guatemala tomorrow to go work at the Finca Tatin in the jungle.

birthday cake

Birthday Cake

When I look back on this past year — from birthday to birthday — I must first ask “wow, what happened?” and then add smugly and without a doubt that I am fully satisfied.

Sometimes you find yourself the architect of your time, but your time is always the architect of you.

Travelogue entry from birthday 2009

Travelogue entry from birthday 2008

Travelogue entry from birthday 2007

Filed under: Central America, El Salvador

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 87 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3341 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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