Right back where I started from. Sitting in a hostel room as rain drizzles down on Bogota, relfecting on these last 27 weeks and what has happened between the day I left San Francisco and now. Not only have I had the opportunity to learn about 6 different South American countries, to varying degrees, but I`ve learned a lot about myself and my place in the world as well.
After 27 weeks of traveling… Of long bus rides and countless hostels. Of fried street food with aji salsa and wandering around open air markets. Of delicious strange new fruit and gagging at whole hanging animal heads. Of having adventures and taking risks. Of meeting new friends and missing old ones. Of working with communities and getting to know how we are different, of how we are similar. Of seeing beauty and seeing pain. Of sunny days on the Caribbean and raining days at high altitudes in the Andes. Or learning new languages and struggling to understand, of struggling to be understood. Of taking river boats down the Amazon and sleeping in hammocks surrounded by strangers. Of walking through jungles and seeing spiders bigger than my hand. Of hearing samba music in pubs and kayaking around jungle lakes. Of watching carnival parades and learning about Bolivian wine-country culture. Of working with the land and climbing over ruins. Of locals giving dance lessons and all the `te invito`s. Of driving mountain back roads and sleeping under skies full of stars in the back of a Chilean station wagon we owned. Of tasting new flavors and craving familiar ones. Of making countless new dog friends and missing mine every day. Of spotty skype and viber conversations with my loved ones. Of spending money and making none. Of Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Peru and Ecuador. Of learning, laughing, living and breathing in new air.
After these 27 weeks of experiences that have changed me in some ways that are obvious now and in others that are yet to be seen, I`m filled to the brim with appreciation for every day that I`ve had on this continent.
I`m ready to come home, mostly because I don´t feel whole without my dog, but also because I miss my family, my friends, my food and my country. I`ll bring these experiences home with me and vow to keep traveling, keep learning, keep pushing myself outside my comfort zone- because this is how we learn, not only about the world and others, but about ourselves as well.
This is about as bittersweet as things come. Ciao, South America, nos vemos.
**Thanks to y`all who have wanted to keep up with my travels, hopefully this blog has or will served in some way! If you are traveling or plan on traveling to anywhere I`ve been, I`d be more than happy to give info or recommendations!