It’s with mixed emotions that I announce the halfway mark of my travels. The last 1.5 months have been such a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences that I’m not sure how I feel about being over “the hump”. I guess in all honesty, I’m a bit terrified. oh I’m sorry – TERRIFIED. Thoughts of what I’m going to do or be, or where I’m going to live are starting to slowly creep in.
Buuuuttt for now, let’s just keep drowning those thoughts with Pisco Sours and talk about how far I’ve come since March. (Yeah, it was March. NUTSO) The above map gives you an idea of my travel distance.
I think it’s safe to say that my time travelling has taught me quite a few things about myself and others. So to keep in line with my Belize post, I’ve created a list of some of my learnings and funny stories so far:
1. Going 45 days with no makeup, hair dryer, or regular bra has been AMAZING. My hair, face and boobs all love me equally. However, the men that are interested in me along the way do not…
2. Trying to be a dirty backpacker only works if you buy harem pants and embroidered llama sweaters. Without these essentials, you are a serious poser.
3. Fellow backpackers will ALWAYS have an opinion about your travel route and the amount of time you are taking to travel. Evidently, 3 months is far too short and my travel schedule is just ridiculously aggressive. That’s funny, I’d say it’s been working so far.
4. Skipping Colombia was a huge mistake and everyone has made sure I know it. I can fully admit that I realize the error in my ways and will be spending time only in Colombia next time. So please give me a break now!
5. After visiting South America, my stomach will never be the same again. Holy hell and Bean-o.
6.Travelling when you don’t know the language is really hard. So, just be sure to say “los siento” every time an angry shop owner or waitress is ready to slap you and they will instantly see the error in their anger and love you.
7. Everyone should experience showing up in a South American town with no secured place to stay. It is both invigorating and terrifying at the same time. Especially after 8pm.
8. Homesickness has gotten to me a couple of times. Watching endless episodes of Dexter is a pretty good cure.
9. Buses in South America are not nearly as terrifying as rumored. When comparing Ecuador and Peru, Peru is definitely trying to save its image. I’m talking full meals, bus attendants, crazy low reclining seats, seat belts and clean restrooms. Ecuador, where you at? Yelling at men who want to use the pee room in the middle of the night is getting old. And to both countries – what exactly AM I supposed to do if I have to go #2 and the bus won’t allow it? Food for thought. Or poop for thought for that matter.
10. I have never once felt unsafe in any of the locations I have been. And I’ve tried to stay away from the heavy gringo “safe areas” so that I can get a more authentic experience. I’m fairly certain that the second job of those travel guides is to scare the crap out of you.
11. If you aren’t shopping in the local produce market, then you are a huge dummy. 4 bananas, 2 avocados, and 2 carrots for 60 cents. COME ON. And the cooked meals on the second floor are amazing. But watch out for that Ecuadorian ceviche.
12. When sitting at a table alone, 9 times out of 10, a local will sit down next to you. After you have completely destroyed some phrase that comments on the weather, they will still love you. If you ask them what they are eating, you better be prepared to try some. Even if it is small sea snails crawling around in lime seasoned salt water.
13. Fashion trends are for real down here. I have never seen such a large portion of the population try to squeeze themselves into skinny jeans and leggings. I will also add the feather details, flats and converse are pretty huge as well. Thank god I brought one pair of jeans.
14. You better know how to salsa or meringue before you get here because YOU WILL do it. In fact, learn that before you learn spanish.
15. Men with dreadlocks are just as sexy in SA. Good lord.
16. Do not drunkenly mistake every latin guitar player for Carlos Santana. Just don’t. Especially in front of the dreadlocked men.
17. I have a new appreciation for really hot water and getting it whenever I want.
18. In Trujillo, an Englishman with impeccable Spanish vowed to ask every single person in the bus station to sell their ticket in order to get me on his bus. The offer for the ticket was in exchange for extra money on the ticket price and kisses. I got on that bus.
19. Pick-up games of street volleyball are great fun. Just be sure you do a quick stretch before starting. Me and my pulled groin muscle learned that the hard way. And if you pop the ball on a street vendor’s sharp metal pole, you better believe you have to pay for a new one.
20. Stop following the stupid guidebook so much! Just get out there and wander! I have found some of the best places by just stumbling upon them!
And here is a small selection of random pics from the past month and a half: