The past two years

The life that I have lived is not particularly the one that I envisioned I would live while growing up in Venezuela.

For the past two years, I have been living on the road and around the world, experiencing new cultures and learning more about myself than I ever did in the previous 35 years.

So how did I get to this moment where I am sitting across my best friend who is deep into the work of being a founder and building a business on a not so sturdy table inside a chick and modern flat in Antalya, Turkey?

To answer that, I need to tell you about what I thought my life would be like when I had no control and followed the path I thought I was supposed to follow.

If you know me and you are reading this, you already know that I was supposed to study medicine and become a surgeon because that was the plan and what I told myself by my parents' influence since I was 12 years old. But like with many things in life, the universe sometimes has a different plan from what you and your loved ones think is best for you.

After leaving Venezuela for the United States of America at the age of 17, I arrived at Morehead State University in the small town of Morehead, Kentucky, to begin my journey into becoming a doctor. For two beautiful years, it all seemed as the vision was becoming real. I would become a surgeon, and I would meet the girl and build the family just as my father did and how many others have. After all, that is the norm!

Boy, did the universe have something else in mind? Due to a series of events in my parents' lives in Venezuela's home country, I had to take a pause on the journey and figure out some adjustments. This would become the first of many times I had to make some adjustments to the vision of my life.

After getting things sorted and making adjustments, the journey into becoming the doctor had to be derailed for what I thought would be only a semester or two, but as the universe would have in its infinite wisdom, that lasted six semesters. By the time the journey resumed, the vision of what my life would be like was different. It was blurry; being the doctor was somewhere in there at the core of my belief and desires, yet I wasn’t at all as confident as before. Doubt and new ideas made me questioned why I wanted to do it.

I discovered a new person, a new identity who was not the doctor, but despite that, I kept going till the med school decision became apparent, and then a new realization dawned on me, this is not who I am and not who I want to be. However, that was not the most significant realization. The biggest realization was that I did not know who I was or who I wanted to be.

Today I am confident of who I am and what I want to be, and yes, I am 37 years old and still figuring shit out. It has been a long journey that has gone on for the past 12 years or so.

After having these realizations, I did not panic; instead, I looked back at what my journey had been till then and understood that I needed to make adjustments and figure out a new game plan.

Step one was to put away the past and close the drawer. I needed a new me, the me that I wanted to be and needed to figure out — enter Jay Flores.

Figuring who I was and who I wanted to be was not easy, and it took doing something that I had never done before — trying and failing consistently, and I did this by not wanting to fail and always aiming to succeed. Winning was the main goal, but knowing that winning was not necessarily a success was rooted in why I wanted to win; winning needed to feel good, and it needed to make sense with who I wanted to be.

Over the years that followed, I did many things I excelled at and many in which I didn’t.

It was not easy to admit that the person I thought I was supposed to be wasn’t who I was, and even more challenging to admit not knowing who I was.

So with that began the trial and error phase of my life, and boy was this part fun and scary. I remember making a decision that went against what everyone from family and friends thought I would do.

My parents had decided to move to New Jersey, and with that, I would have had the first crack at making a move to NYC, which in the eyes of many meant me following one of my biggest dreams, a dream that I eventually made a reality.

However, this wasn’t the time for me to go to new york; it was the time for me to experiment and discover me and who I was. So I stayed in Miami and rented a room at my aunt’s house and went to work on my journey, and for a time and without going into details, things were looking great. Success was flowing, and life seemed prosperous until it didn’t, and with that came what I considered to be the turning point.

It was late spring of 2011, and accepting my losses, I flew to New Jersey and went to my parent’s house to hit restart for a while, and with that came NYC and the dream of living in the city and absorbing its energy and becoming part of it.

I was 7 when I first saw NYC from the top of the south tower in the old World Trade Center, and I was 7 when I knew that new york city would forever be home for me.

So after seven years of living the dream, it was time for something new. New York and America had been home for my whole adult life. In my journey of discovering and figuring out who I was and who I am, it became apparent that I am a traveler; I am a citizen of the world. I am supposed to live my life by my own rules, and this realization happened when I rediscover a passion of mine! — Photography.

Photography is how I discovered myself and allowed myself to take on challenges and feel driven to make life what I want and not what it’s supposed to be.

So on September 8, 2018, I kissed and hugged my parents and boarded a flight to my new life, a life on the road, a life of uncertainty and life traveling the world, making new friends, and, above all, learning.

The past two years have been all about learning, and the funny thing is that it has been all unintentional learning. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, they say. Boy! has life given me lemons, and have I had to make tons of lemonade.

From the moments in which I couldn’t see past my next meal to visiting incredible places such as this one from where I am writing, to having a big accident and having surgery in Bali, and making Berlin my new home (Or at least trying to). To feel at home every time I visit cape town, South Africa.

The lessons and the people I have had around me and the new friendships I never envisioned being surrounded by have made the past two years the best two years of my life.

I know who I am, who I want to be, and can finally say that I have to finish figuring out how it will all come together, so stay tuned as I will be writing more about this journey (hopefully in shorter form), and you made it this far I thank you for visiting with me.

Keep on L I V I N G!