Food for thought, my lessons learned
Trip Start Dec 10, 2011
60Trip End Sep 29, 2012
Not only do sticks look like snakes, but turns out what looks like green slugs is actually poo - don't judge something by first impressions!
Language goes a long way for mutual understanding, recently learnt when taking more Spanish lessons that there is a lot of importance in how you pronounce something, when I have found out I have been mixing 'father' papa and calling him a potato, also papa. Worse than this I discovered the the wrong pronounciation of ´´Mama´´, can get you saying you like your nipple, not your mother!
Personal space is overrated. South Americans love to get real close and personal, but not necessarily always want to get to know you!
Dogs and cats are still everywhere.
It gets cold in these lovely countries, winter has arrived and the security of all sunshine and beaches have been swapped for warm jumpers, hats and gloves.
You can get attached to a place and the people, be ready to move on as you don't know what's around the corner. I've truly wanted to return to Colombia but I am being brave and carrying on this fantastic journey of my lifetime.
You can live out of one bag of stuff, you do not need all the material possessions we have in our lives. Sure I wish I could sometimes could wear different clothes or just unpack for a little while, but really traveling like this makes you very grateful and realise how much shit I have at home and in storage (I am paying for too), that I just do not need.
I might be a long way away from my family, friends and people I deeply care about, but they are just on the other side of an email, text message or skype call and thanks to technology I can keep in touch and catch up with everything I call 'home'.
I'm not missing out on anything at home either. I have never thought I was, I was only worried what am I doing on this journey and what is going to happen at the end.
I can live on not much money compared to what I would spend in the UK. Sure it is more expensive there in most of these Latin American countries but I can for sure live more frugally, and save more for nice trips like this again.
Stress is a state of mind. One of the reasons I left to travel was to relax, re-charge my batteries and that I have done indeed. I am still annoyed at little things when I travel but I don't get stressed, I ignore it, walk away, take a deep breath and importantly count to ten. Nothing is worth you getting stressed about.
A good cry is a way to de-compress, to show emotions and think. I think I used to bottle up too much before and well let's say I have had some cries since month 5 to 6 and they have all been part of my journey.
I still love my comforts. I crave to sit in my Dad's front room in my pj's drinking tea or red wine curled up on his big sofas. Or sitting in my friend's Claire's house also drinking tea (there seems to be a tea theme here) most likely eating her amazing food. Chatting to my friend Amanda and her family eating a curry on a Friday night talking about life and gossip. Or I could be in my own place cooking in my kitchen whilst watching that Sunday kitchen programme on TV. I think about getting in my car and popping to the supermarket, how easy that was, actually choosing items from the shelf yourself. I deeply miss and know I cannot survive without hot showers, just hot water would be good really! The simplicity of putting on the kettle for a cup of tea. Oh and toilet paper would be good. What else... you know there is a long list, but this shows what you can take for granted, how lucky I am or was to have all these things. I know I will appreciate them a lot when I return.
Zero tolerance for a dirty home, hostel, restaurant, cafe, list goes on. If it is, I am out of there. Cleanliness as they say is next to godliness. I cannot agree more. Believe me I have seen some very dirty places!
I have also learnt that I am still the same person I was before I left. I have not changed, well a bit maybe. I have expanded my thoughts horizon (that's a bit deep isn't it?!), I have woke and up smelt the coffee (a lot in South America, shame I hate the stuff). I have grown into the woman I wanted to be and all the time was, just did not know it myself. This I am very thankful for that this journey has taken me to, well me. I was the light at the end of the tunnel, I kept thinking about what is going to happen at the end of the journey, what am I going to do? It is important, but irrelevant right now as I have found myself and as someone pointed out to me, I have gained my self-awareness some people never realise in their lifetimes.
Do what you love and it will enrich your life. I volunteered, helping others is truly helping yourself, you learn so much about yourself and you feel wonderful in the experience doing so. Go help someone else however small it might be, it will be worth it, trust me.
I said it before and I will say it again, listen hard to everyone's advice.You will be surprised when you will call upon it and remember what they told you and how they were right. I have a long list of these examples already after five months. I'm going to end this completely self-digulent rant on a Chinese proverb from my friend Claire, she's been kindly sticking it down my throat for weeks now, but I love her for it.
"Set a bird free and it will come back. If it does not it was never yours". Food for thought!
My Review Of The Place I Stayed