09.03.2012 - 09.03.2012
This post is a bit out of order and a bit different since it won't contain any photos or videos. It's just that crossing over into Peru a couple of days ago made me reflect a bit on the trip thus far. We are going to be flying from Lima on to India in a couple of weeks and this event also marks approximately half our trip being over. In 100 days we crossed over 11 borders, covered approx. 8000 kilometers, met some of the coolest people, experienced countless wonderful and different cultures and had more adventures and unique experiences than it's even possible to write about.
We didn't set out looking to "find ourselves", we aren't trying to escape a bad situation and it's not about getting any special insights for us. There is nothing wrong with that being the reason for travelling as you do learn a lot about yourself while you travel since you really only have yourself and whoever you're travelling with to rely on. However, the reason for us is much simpler, we just want to experience life and get to know a bit more of this little rock we call home for the incredibly short time we get to be here. It's the experience of travelling itself which is more than enough of a reward.
When we initially set out I was wondering if I would really get tired or bored of travelling after a month or two as some people predicted. After all we have never really traveled for more than a few weeks at a time. We've met plenty of people who have done it for months or even years but we've never tried it ourselves. I think that question has been answered now. I really don't understand how it's possible to get bored of this. I mean it's not like you are doing the same thing each day. In fact no two single days since we've set out on this journey have been the same. Every single day brings an entirely new experience, place, people or culture. If anything going back to our regular lives will be difficult because then really every day is more or less the same.
When we used to travel for just a few weeks we'd always meet a people on our way who took months to travel and think "Wow they are so hard-core!". The funny thing is that now that we're travelling for 8 months we keep meeting people who have been on the road for a year, two years, or longer. It's hard to even call this travelling since they spend months in a single country or even city and actually live there. We met one guy that has been "on-the-road" for over 20 years since his mid-twenties and generally spends at least a year in every country he goes to. He works everywhere he goes of course, usually helping out in hostels, and seems to have established a bit of a brand for himself in making hostels successful. The point here isn't that we'd like to take years to go away, but rather that what we're doing is not really all that extreme, and in fact the continuum of possibilities and ways to live your life is far wider than the impression we get when we follow the day-to-day back home.
I also think the key to a trip like this is to take things day-to-day and be extremely flexible in terms of your plans. Our trip has not gone at all to plan and we couldn't be happier about it! We added Guatemala and much more of Colombia than we expected (We LOVE Colombia!) but took out Venezuela, Brazil and Bolivia. It's better to see less countries but do it comfortably and well than rush to meet some predetermined plan. This attitude has also helped our budget quite a bit and we are now well under the estimated cost for this point in our trip. We are spending under $500 per person per week and believe me when I say we're doing upscale backpacking. We've met plenty of people who are getting by quite comfortably for about half that amount. These costs include EVERYTHING, accommodation, food, transportation including all flights, trips, entrance fees, border fees etc. etc. etc. Compare this to the cost of the average all-inclusive and it's easy to see how the companies marketing those make so much money. I guess the point here is that really anyone can easily afford to do this if they really want to.
So now the time is approaching to leave Latin America and go across the world to Asia. It will be a completely different experience, very different cultures, no more spanish (No Mas Espanol for the first time in months!), and i'm sure some unbelievable adventures. We can't wait!