Time to leave...
Trip Start Mar 15, 2006
42Trip End May 30, 2007
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I have mixed feelings about leaving and moving on. What seemed like a long time in a very different place before I left home has, as it always does, flown by. Though I now look forward to arriving in New Zealand and the next part of my trip, I know that I have only slightly touched the surface of this fascinating continent and there is so much more I would like to see.
Most of the travellers I have met along the way are sticking purely to South America, and spending a good few months doing it. I realised long ago that my trip is going to be a lot more rushed than I had initially envisaged, but then at this point I also decided to see it as a really good 'taster' for a variety of different places and cultures.
I have been surprised by how few of these travellers have been younger than me. A lot are around the same age but by far the majority are older, quitting jobs or just packing up life for a few months. These tend to be made from the UK, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the other rich countries of Western Europe. Oh, and Israel...there's an awful lot of Israeli's! The advantage of this is that there is a lot of English spoken and you can relate to each others cultures easily. The disadvantage is...there's a lot of English spoken and you can relate to each others cultures all too easily. It does stop you feeling lonely though.
Well, South America has been a great experience. I have seen some beautiful (and not so beautiful) places and met a load of interesting people. I have really enjoyed attempting and improving my Spanish. After initially being intimidated by a couple on my first day saying I wouldn't survive without being able to speak it, I now feel like I have a decent-ish grasp of the basis of the language...and well, I obviously survived. Whilst what I can speak is by no means elegant or in depth, when I have managed to have a conversation with a local and each of you understands the other, it really is an exhilarating feeling. I would love the chance to improve further, but this will have to be in the future.
And so now I move on, renewing the wide-eyed expression for the new, a little lighter in the wallet and with a slightly altered toothy smile. Goodbye South America, and thanks for a fascinating start to the trip.