Living My Dreams in the Bolivian Jungle

Trip Start Mar 11, 2009
Trip End May 06, 2009

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Flag of Bolivia  ,
Friday, April 3, 2009

Once upon a time, while looking wistfully out the window of my grade six classroom, I wondered what it would be like to be in the jungle. In my mind, I was trudging through ferns higher than my person (think Jurrasic Park); I was climbing up trees wider than my house; I was standing ever so still while monkeys scampered, chattering away, above my head in the trees lush with their brilliant emerald colours. I fancied myself Lorraine Bracco in The Medicine Man with Sean Connery (one of my favourite movies), hauling ass through the jungle in search of a cure for cancer with a tattoo across my forehead (placed there by a crazy medicine man when I was drugged on jungle drink and passed out in a hammock) and a feather pierced in one ear. Me Jane! You Tarzan! And though my three days and two nights in the Bolivian pampas (wetlands) wasnīt quite as successful as finding a cure for cancer, it was a dream I got to live nevertheless. (Enjoy the pictures!!)

I keep wanting to pinch myself. In the last fifteen months, aside from a short stint at home for three of those months, Iīve been homeless. Iīve been on the go. Iīve been a gypsy minus a flashy caravan and thieving capabilities (thatīs a British gypsy stereotype there). Itīs been exhilerating, exhausting, inspiring, incredible, challenging....well, the list goes on. But the main theme of the last fifteen months is that all of those things Iīve dreamt about, read about, wondered about - well, Iīve been experiencing them. 

It isnīt about "finding myself". (I tripped over a rock in Machu Picchu and when I looked down, BAM, there I was! Found!!) I never felt like I was lost in the first place. When people asked me what I wanted to do when you grow up I would tell them, I want to write and I want to travel. So I took whatever hesitations, fears and uncertainties I may have had about (many things) traveling (mostly alone) and I gave myself that gift. I said, here. Self. You want this, you can have it. You dream about this when youīre both asleep and awake, so here you go. Make the most of it while you can.

It isnīt about "taking a break from reality". This is reality. Real life. My life. My reality. Iīm not living in some fantasy world out here. Yes, I am fortunate that I am not working 9 - 5 in a job I hate. But these things are decisions Iīve made and there have been sacrifices as well, in order to live these dreams I had once upon a time. I never want to make a choice that has me living a life I resent, regret or donīt look forward to waking up to every single day. There is only one life - regardless of your religious/spiritual beliefs - so the Time Is Now, as they say. And thatīs what Iīm doing here. Living now (not tomorrow or yesterday) and taking my time to live the sort of life I want to live. I am not taking anything forgranted. Not even for a second. (Or at least, I try very hard not to.)

Once upon a time, in the eighth grade, I had a skinny yellow textbook with "Japon" (Japan - all my subjects were in french) written on the front of it. Looking at the glossy textbook photos of Kyoto, the cherry blossoms, the crazy techno-world of Tokyo I daydreamed about being there. About watching a proper tea service in a tea house made out of rice paper. Of singing karaoke at five in the morning in some tiny downtown Tokyo bar. Of possibly learning a martial art and the Art of Meditating.

And because, in the last fifteen months, I have proven that I can trust myself to keep checking those "Bucket List" tickyboxes of Life, I know that one day I will be in Japan (for example) doing all of those things. It is a promise Iīve made to myself. To take care of the person Iīve always been (not the one I am supposedly looking for out here), to keep myself happy and to enjoy living the life Iīve been given. 

Itīs a wish of mine that everyone else can be just as fortunate as I have been/am and will learn how to take care of their happiness. My email signature has been the same for years because itīs just so poignant: Be happy for this moment, this moment is your life. 

(And if you want my opinion on how not to live life, go see "Revolutionary Road" or better still, read the book and make it your priority to never become like the main characters in that film. I could write an entire novel about that and the seeming inevitability of it and how it takes effort to not become that complacent and dejected. But Iīll save you all. Instead, go see it and Iīm sure youīll understand what I mean when I say I was horrified at the mere idea of ending up even slightly like Kate Winsletīs character Alice.)

Much love from me.  

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