In 10 hours I will be leaving Santiago. I will fly on 3 different flights over the course of 36 hours (with a brutal 10 hour layover in LA from 11 PM to 9 AM). Then, once I arrive in SFO, I will rush to Berkeley so I do not get dropped from a leadership class I am enrolled in (did I mention I arrive in Berkeley at 11 AM on the day classes start?). Then, at 7 PM that night, I am going to a scholarship reception in San Francisco.
But, aside from the crazy next 48 hours (and dealing with the very real concerns of A. having to bring my grimy giant backpack with me to the aforementioned leadership class, B. not having any clean pants for the scholarship banquet, and C. wearing hiking boots covered with salt crystals on the airplane) I also have to say good bye to my first adventure in South America.
A friend once told me that travel is the only thing you can spend money on that makes you richer. Although my bank account feels a bit dubious about this right now, my heart knows its the truth. Seeing Machu Picchu from the gates of the Temple of the Sun at dawn will stick with me like the beautiful reflections of clouds in Salar de Uyuni and the deserts of Chile.
Also, another friend told me that one of the most important parts of travel is who joins you on the journey because from these people you learn the most. Yev and Grant are amazing travel buddies. We discussed everything from the morality of white lies to orgasm privilege (yes, that’s a thing) to what “my mom is the best” really means to Grant starring as the next Primrose Everdeen in the Hunger Games. Basically, I couldn’t have found two better people for the long 15 hours bus rides across Bolivia even if I held auditions.
This trip also gave me a bit of needed perspective. After I came back from my first lap around the world, reverse culture shock hit pretty hard and I felt a bit out of touch with myself. Through a lot of reflection I have grown more in touch with the inner confidence I was missing and will keep focusing on this in 2014.
2014 will be a year of creation. I want to develop some artistic projects (I plan on trying ceramics and painting), read a lot of great books on my book list, adventure more (maybe hike the John Muir Trail), and figure out where in the world I will be after graduation. I may also be sensing a one way plane ticket to Thailand in my future.
I plan on posting a review about my Peru/Bolivia/Chile book list and my plans for after graduation (and, maybe, a story about how the gay men of Santiago taught me how to merengue) but this is all for now.
My heart is sad that this adventure is over but is also looking forward to coming back home to good ole ‘Murrica.