Hello, I’m Michael Swanbeck, and to me, life is a big adventure! I’m starting this blog to document the journey which is about to unfold for me, for in October I’m taking off to see the world. I’ve been unsure of where exactly I will go, but as the trip gets closer, I get a better idea. I’ve found a ride as crew on a sailboat headed to the central and southern Caribbean. Then I’m going to try and get to Australia/ New Zealand! Eventually anyway, I’m starting this blog so I can write about my trip and show it to the world.
At some point in my life I became obsessed with looking at photos on the internet. Photos of places, accompanied by maps, exotic names, bright colors, mountains. So many places far from my home in Massachusetts stuck themselves in my mind as destinations I wanted to see. Places like Alaska, Tahiti, Iceland, Costa Rica, Utah… the list goes on… I realized at some point I would have no choice but to go to these places, but I also realized there are too many places in this world to see in just one lifetime. I better get going then!
In school I learned culinary, and have been using my trade to work cooking jobs wherever I travel. In 2013 I found a job working in Montana’s Glacier national park, at the Many Glacier hotel for four months of the summer. I put a cap on the back of my truck and built myself a bed in it, my new home, and took off cross-country. Today, that was two years ago, I left home with no idea when I would be back. “See America First” was their slogan, so that’s precisely what I decided to do. The summer there changed my life, so much happened in so little time. It was there I met Maggie, who traveled with me as a faithful companion.
Being surrounded by mountains and beauty all the time, I would find I appreciated beauty more and more. The truths I found from the wilderness were absolute. To be close to nature is to be connected to whatever force it is which created us, some call it God, and the feeling of being close with this force is sublime. Many things in life are sublime. I decided I wanted to spend my life focused on “Seeking the Sublime” (that’s the title of the book I’m working on about these two years in America). Material possessions could never fulfill me as much as being free out there to simply see and appreciate the world.
I’m writing about it for many reason. I love writing, it’s therapeutic. I want to bring the reader to these places with me, give something back to the world, and share the beauty of the sublime with the rest of us who might not know it.
I left Glacier in September and went to Utah, from there I found my way to California. Maggie and I lived in Death Valley until May and then traveled all over the west, spending two months living in the truck. In July, Maggie and I set off on a southbound hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. The trip ended abruptly just south of Death Valley, so we basically made a 6 month loop of a journey to bring us back to this quiet, enchanting place. I spent the winter again working in my desert home, but even though Maggie and I loved each other deeply, we went our separate ways.
Anyway, this next trip I will be starting alone, and writing about it here. If you’d like to donate to my writing, you can do that here. Thanks for reading.