My name is Andrew J. Stillman, and I’m busy exploring every corner of the world.
My desire to see everything stretches back to the first piece of oxygen I breathed. It came from the foothills of Yosemite, where pristinely crisp air awakened my adventurous spirit.
I then grew up in a forest, where I learned wilderness survival over protection against humans. An interaction with a wild animal that goes south means you find whatever you can use as a weapon to make sure you get out alive.
That knowledge, mixed with my treacherous and overactive imagination, made my backyard my inspiration.
Although I had my family, I remained solitary in my efforts to explore. With an acre of forest at my fingertips, as soon as I could walk, I wandered.
During my explorations, my imagination went wild as I pictured different creatures that may attack — ones outside of man’s perception. I whittled small sticks into miniature swords to act as whatever weapon I needed. Each time I jumped over a fallen tree trunk, I transported myself into another dimension.
Though I was only given an acre to play with, I found a lifetime of opportunity.
The stories came easily during childhood, but I yearned for something deep inside that I could never quite attain:
I felt bound in the chains of my parents, and though they loved and supported me, I craved my independence.
The fantasies I played out in my head eventually scratched themselves out into my first novel, Immortality Awaits. Beginning the summer before I started college in 2007, I worked tirelessly on it until its publication in 2014. Although I spent 7 years getting it to a point where I felt comfortable letting people reading it, I knew, in my heart, it still wasn’t ready.
I was young, naive, and, most importantly —
I lacked any knowledge of other cultures.
The world itself was not as much of a fantasy as the ideas in my head.
When it came to being a fantasy author and creating a world that had to be believable, I had nothing.
I needed to tangibly see everything I possibly could to influence what I’d created. That way, when people read my fantasy world, they felt like it was real.
Tired of living a dream defined for me, I decided to see what the real world was all about. I chose to face the fears that kept me from achieving the goals I set out for myself.
I opted to live my life for me, and nobody else. Through that decision, I found the freedom I’d yearned for.
Shortly after publication of Immortality Awaits, I took The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program through International Living Magazine.
A month after finishing, I booked a year-long trip to New Zealand.
Out there, I rewrote Immortality after discovering everything I never knew it lacked.
Everything I could have asked for in regards to eye-opening culture shock and jaw-dropping scenery was met tenfold.
Every day, a little dose of adrenaline ignited further in me with each passing second — a small light often known as “the travel bug.”
The first book may be rewritten, but the entire world still lays at my footsteps.
Taking what I’ve learned from any experience in an unfamiliar place, I know I’ll always live Life in Another World.
About Life in Another World
The hardest part of travel is the transition back into “reality” once the “vacation” is over.
As someone who values experience over money in a society that feels the exact opposite, allow me to address this issue:
Reality: The world or state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them.
Vacation: An extended period of recreation, especially one spent away from home or in traveling.
Of course, any form of travel is considered a “vacation,” but does that make it any less of a reality?
As a society, we have been taught that “real life” is working hard, paying your bills, owning a house, starting a family — living an “average” and “normal” life.
I don’t believe “normal” can be defined for everybody. I believe reality is interpreted by personal perception, and can not be determined by anyone else.
As far as my eyes can see is as far as my depth of reality goes.
We are only ever aware of our current surroundings. These days, people have forgotten that what they see is not all that exists, and we have become more closed-minded because of it. The thought of experiencing something outside of our “normal reality” invokes deep fear of the unknown.
It is that fear I choose to fight.
I believe that we, as humans, have grown too self-involved.
We have shut ourselves off to any possibility that something foreign could still be something real.
Thus came the birth of Life in Another World.
I continually challenge myself, broaden my mind, redefine the reality others try to make for me. Experiencing new cultures, traveling to foreign countries, and living life to its fullest isn’t any less “real” than living check to check — it’s just much more exciting.
I now invite you to join my journey in this thing called life.