05.09.2013 - 05.09.2013
View South America on solorooster's travel map.
Today I flew home from Lima.
In all of my past travel experiences, I have fought against and loathed the moment when a trip ends. In all of my past travel experiences, I have had to return to work soon after getting back. Today I didn’t feel any of that. I am happy about my 3 and a half month adventure and happy to be home to reconnect. I also do not have the stress of immediately going to work. I plan on giving myself time to figure out what’s next.
My first flight was from Lima to Bogota and I ended up striking up a conversation that lasted the full 2 and a half hours with a cargo ship captain from Montenegro. It was interesting to hear about his life. He works 4 months at sea and then gets 4 months off and has been doing so for 15 years. It is a lifestyle of great sacrifice and rewards. He also was fascinated by my story and thought it was amazing that I left traditional society to try something new. He thought that it was rare in real life, and that it is something you see more in the movies. Other people have also chimed in with similar thoughts about my adventure being special. It is really refreshing to hear that from others. Often, I tend not to give myself credit for things. I also frequently think of things I do as ordinary. After all, I met a lot of travellers on my trip far more adventurous than I. However, I still did it my way and there aren't many people that do it at all. The long term travel circuit is really small and I forget that.
After the flight to Bogota, my overnight flight from Bogota to JFK was a bit late but I still got in at 6AM. From there, it was onto Grand Central Station, then Metro North to New Haven where my parents picked me up.
I travelled in South America for 3 and a half months and saw just a sliver of the continent. However, loving mountains and extremes I chose wisely seeing desert, forest, jungle, volcanoes, and spectacular mountains. I set new personal records, longest trip, first time south of the equator, highest elevation I have ever been to, highest elevation I have hiked at, and I am sure many more.
I was stunned looking at a map that east-west I travelled only as far west as Rochester, New York and as far east as Augusta, Maine! On the other hand north-south I covered over a quarter of the distance between the poles or the equivalent in the northern hemisphere of going from Bogota, Columbia to Edmonton, Alberta.
Initial reflections on the trip
I decided to travel solo and meet people and find lodging as I went. At times this was great and at other times not so much. I found out that I am a very social person and without some connection to people around me I can quickly begin to feel very alone especially in a strange place. Fortunately, usually there were people around and to do things with. Likewise I found at times I was very excited by being in a new culture and at other times it felt extremely frustrating because things were not as friendly or simple as I am used to. It was also a lesson in patience and I got about a C-! It was hard for me to deal with uncertainty and unpredictability. Usually I did best when I had a more flexible schedule and wasn’t worried about missing some connection, tour, or had rigid expectations. Travelling from place to place on the cheap can be hard and at times I missed my bed and shower. I met many interesting people on this trip and I continue to want to meet people from all over the world. However, I do enjoy having a community to come back to. Overall, I think this trip has made me appreciate the community I have at home more.
This entry bring this blog to an end. It has been a lot of fun documenting my experience and for those who chose to follow it I hope you enjoyed it.