San Carlos Travel Blog› entry 71 of 71 › view all entries
Two months backpacking through South America.
I had been dreaming about this trip for 20 years -- and I had been planning it for 2 years.
On the surface, I wanted to go because I have an affinity for the Latin Culture; I speak Spanish and I studied Latin American history in college. And yes, I like to be different - South America is not the most common of travel destinations.
But I also had deeper motivations. I needed to get away. I was burned out at work. I was about to turn 40. I was in the worst shape of my life. I was stuck in a routine, or hell you may even call it a rut. I needed something to help me break free.
This trip was the solution.
So off I went. Two months on the road. Big cities, small towns, remote mountain areas. Easy times, tough times, fun times, sad times. Good decisions, bad decisions. Meeting lots of people and chatting over many meals and drinks and hikes and bus rides; yet also terribly alone at times, or blissfully alone at other times.
In the end, I made it. I am home. Yet already I am saying to myself - wow, was I really gone for two months? I can't tell if it feels like an eternity or if it feels like a day.
Sadly, I can't say right now what this trip has brought me. Sure, back on the "surface" level, I know what it brought me. 3,000 photos. An empty checking account. A blog, with wow, nearly 8,000 views! A nice leather jacket. A lot of great memories (though given my memory, not sure how long those will last). And a certain sense of accomplishment - like, wow, I really did it.
Digging deeper, going to the next level, is were I am not so certain. As I said, I went on this trip looking for (or hoping for) some kind of epiphany or enlightenment....But right now, I can't exactly identify what the epiphany is.
It didn't happen....Or did it?
Is the epiphany that there is no epiphany? That I have to take action and make decisions to make my life into something? That I can't just go on vacation for two months and expect "it" or even "something" to happen? For things to fall into place? For the runway lights to come on?
Or is the epiphany that I should become a full time blogger? Ok, I don't think so. :-)
Or was the epiphany there, for the taking, and I left it on the bus on Ruta 40, in a crevasse on the glacier, on the boat in Ushuaia, or in the dark corner of some Buenos Aires disco?
What I do know is that I was very fortunate to be able to take such an extended and adventurous trip. Ironically, while I feel accomplished (and tired and relieved and sad and happy), I also feel a bit "unfinished" - there was so much more I could have done, so much more I could have learned, so many more people I could have met. Kind of like college - you want to do it all over again now that you know how to do it "right."
Wait. Am I onto something? Is that the epiphany? That I should be grateful for what I've done, where I've been, who I am? That no matter how good I have it, or how lucky I am, that there will ALWAYS be more I want to do, want to have, etc.? That I should just chill, relax, and enjoy - and not worry so much? Hmmm.
Epiphany or no epiphany? No se. (That's "I don't know" for you gringos.)
As I said to a friend earlier today, "My trip was fantastic - not that it was all good and rosey - but it was a fantastic life experience." Maybe I'll just leave it at that. Or maybe I'll make a t-shirt that says "I went to South America for two-months and all I got was this lousy leather jacket."
Regardless, I am back, and life must go on. That much is certain. I admit, there is a part of me that just wants to put my backpack back on, walk down to the San Carlos train station, get to SFO, and hop a plane to somewhere, anywhere. But there is also a part of me that misses his friends - a part who wants to stay home in the simple, quiet suburb of San Carlos, light the barbecue, and invite everyone over for dinner.
At least for now, I'm signing off. The backpack is in my garage, the quick dry pants and shirts are in my closet, and my passport (and fake wallet!) is in my desk. And I'm working on those dinner invitations.
Thank you to everyone for reading my blog, for adding comments, for sending me reassuring emails. (I'd love to hear any final thoughts *you* have!) There were times when I felt awfully alone down there... so it was nice to maintain some small connection to people back home.
Escaping my life entirely was not ever the goal of *this* trip. I can't say for sure about the next trip! Stay tuned to dannyboytravels!
Hasta luego y que le vaya bien!