Hi, I'm Graham Swan, a software engineer and traveler.

Latest articles

My commitment to me

Dear Graham,

You’re 31 years old now. Or maybe 45. Or maybe you’re still 27 and you’ve already felt the need to read this letter.

I’m not sure. (But congratulations... Continue reading →

Less success, more life

Being successful by society’s standards is simple.

Go to university. Get a degree. Get a job. Get a wife. Get a house. Get babies. Get rich. Get dead.

Being successful... Continue reading →

Reset

Recently, I found myself stumbling. I couldn’t find the motivation to take care of myself. I was unable to concentrate. I felt incomplete and unfulfilled. I was beginning to sense... Continue reading →

Smiling stupidly

Sometimes, you spend years of your life searching for someone. That person who understands you. That person who is the perfect size for you to wrap your arms around. Completely.... Continue reading →

Dear family, I love you

The smiles. Oh, the smiles.

The laughter of an innocent child.

So young.

So pure.

So excited.

So angry.

So hurt.

So blessed.

So beautiful.

Whenever I think about my... Continue reading →

Being high

The sun is high in the sky. Directly above my head, threatening to turn my pasty, white skin against me. Ducking into a local cafe to wait out the heat... Continue reading →

Today

Today, I cried.

I wasn’t sad. Or scared. Or in pain.

But today, I cried.

These tears could only be traced to positive beginnings. They appeared the same as all... Continue reading →

Lonely

I’ve been on the road for seven and a half months. 204 days. 4896 hours.

It’s the longest I’ve ever been away from home without a second family. When I... Continue reading →

Awkward

Meeting people is awkward.

I’m not talking about that business gathering where you had a conversational itinerary to follow. Those words were already planned.

I’m not talking about those moments... Continue reading →

Bangkok

Bangkok. A city full of color, smells, and experiences waiting to be had.

Glance down the street. Every home is painted a new and exciting color, each taxi a different... Continue reading →

Adults

“So how long have you been traveling for?”

“About 7 months now.”

“And when are you planning on heading home and growing up?”

Ouch. Like a stubborn child, I’ve again... Continue reading →

Things I wish I knew at 26

I’ve been on this good, green planet for twenty-six years. Nearly twenty-seven. That’s 227,760 hours.

The first twelve years were spent learning how to read, write, perform simple mathematic calculations,... Continue reading →

Privacy

Privacy. I haven’t had any for almost 5 months today. That’s nearly half a year with no reclusive space. For an extroverted introvert like myself, having no place to call... Continue reading →

I’m guilty and I’m sorry

Dear friends and family, strangers and enemies,

I’m guilty of a crime. And I committed it against you.

I’ve been a bad friend. For years. My motives were always curiosity... Continue reading →

Baby steps

“I’m not following you across that road. They have crosswalks for a reason.”

My friend shifts his feet about, afraid I’m going to drive him into a state of discomfort.... Continue reading →

My favorite barman

It’s exactly 12 o’clock in the afternoon and, once again, I’m homeless and stranded. Stuck in a small town in the east of Spain. The train I was about to... Continue reading →

Give new places a chance

After spending only 48 hours in this city, I have but a single thought—Santiago is boring.

I’m walking down a cobblestone street nestled between a row of glorious, green trees... Continue reading →

I don’t have all the answers

Two weeks before graduating from university, I found myself having the exact same conversation over and over again. With many different people. Classmates, friends, their parents, family members—even the ladies... Continue reading →

My addiction to productivity

In North America, you’re either productive or you’re left behind. There is no in between.

We’re bred to be successful. Our society values things like big houses and fast cars.... Continue reading →

Let your imagination run wild

“KA-POW!”

“BLAMMO!”

“WHIZZAM!”

My arms flailed around madly as each punch landed square on the villains’ noses. I was silent, yet deadly. Protecting the town and keeping the streets clean.

... Continue reading →

Angels snore

It was 4 o’clock in the morning when I got kicked out of my seat on the train.

The man who laid claim to the seat I was in had... Continue reading →

Learn the language

As the fire crackles and the classical waves of Wolfgang float past us, we both, as if on cue, take another sip of the steaming drinks we hold in our... Continue reading →

We can sleep tomorrow

“It’s 8 o’clock. Should we go for dinner?”

“What?! It’s so early! Let’s watch a movie or something.”

(2 hours later)

“It’s 10 o’clock now. Maybe we should go grab... Continue reading →

Drink beer

The speakers are blasting American pop songs that are played all too often. Carly Ray is singing at the top of her lungs. I swear it doesn’t matter how many... Continue reading →

Move

I had lunch with an inspirational young woman the other day. We’ll call her Mari for the sake of this story.

It was one of those first meetings where “hello”... Continue reading →

Dating 101

In Canada, if you like a girl, you might add her on Facebook and creep around until you know enough about her that a face-to-face conversation won’t be riddled with... Continue reading →

Letting life happen

Back home in Canada, people love to plan. Every minute of every day must be accounted for. Why? For the sake of being busy, of course.

When your entire life... Continue reading →

Bartering is exhausting

One of the first things one must learn while traveling in the developing world is that prices are dynamic. Sure, restaurants might have prices in the menu. And hotels will... Continue reading →

Fewer rules, more guidelines

“There are no stop signs at this intersection. What shall I do?”

“Just drive through and honk your horn so people know you’re coming.”

“But what if someone else decides... Continue reading →

Say hello with a kiss

I grew up in a culture where greetings involve saying, “Hello.” If you’re friendly, you can shake someone’s hand. If you know someone really well, you might even give them... Continue reading →