I got a lot of money offered just not to go. I got family, friends, university, a boyfriend, my dog, … the life most of us wants. None of the above mentioned believed I would dare to go that far. But then I got a visa stamped on my passport and a ticket with my name on it.
My mother just waived once at the airport, my boyfriend hated me, my poor dog didn´t understand, university was due to few months, my friends judging me… I still boarded that plane. Maybe people around me finally accepted and put the hope in my return ticket, in 4 months.
I never made that plane back. I never made the second plane back neither. The only explanation given to my family was: ” don´t wait at the airport tomorrow, I am not coming”. I probably had so many things to explain to everyone, but they would have not understood anyways.
I went to Colombia. A foreign land I never showed interest in before, a shape I probably didn´t know where to place on the American continent, a country so distant from my origins.
Meanwhile, back in Europe everyone thought I would die, or in better case, become a drug dealer, I actually had time of my life over there. I had to work, I had to rely only on myself. I payed my own rent, I cooked my own food, I had to build everything from zero. But above all this, independence was probably not the biggest achievement. It was more about realizations and discoveries.
In Colombia I realized how privileged I am in front of others, just because I am coming from Europe. Who knew, there is anyone fascinated by Europeans and wants to become one of us with any price. Well now I know.
In Colombia I discovered how many unfortunate people can´t even afford dreaming about what I have, and have no access to basic needs of life; children never went out of their barrio, people who don´t know how many opportunities they could have. People who were living in misery, but would never complain. People, whom instead of wasting time, still work for the minimum, just to support their loved ones.
In Colombia I met him. Probably one of the first persons I met there, and remained fascinated ever since. He was everything I could never have in Europe. Someone humble enough to admit the reality going on. Honest enough to open up about the struggles he went through and grateful for what he had. He would´t complain, discriminate nor judge. Despite what he went through he had that spark in the eyes. The spark that made him overcome difficulties and keep the passion in his heart. He was just so simple in his way, yet fascinating by his personality. Probably the simplicity and the passion he was demonstrating made me feel the way I felt. Probably because I hoped all the others would be like him, but no one else turned out to be, made him so special. But all stories have an ending, so does this.
In Colombia I realized there are no good or bad decisions. Its just a choice we make, and we are the only responsible making it a good or bad one. And most importantly, one has to make his own decisions, but please follow your brain, that one last neuron you still have, because one heart is stupid as hell. Furthermore, ignore all the judgement you will receive after making your decision. Humanity is degenerated, selfish, full of pride and hate. Leave them behind, because as soon as they see you happy, they will try to steal your happiness. Immunity on humanity is sometimes a good choice. (Not always though).
In Colombia I realized that life is today. Not tomorrow, not next week. It is now, and one has to live for the now. Probably the main reason I left Europe, is because we are so focused on building tomorrow by working 24/7, we are in a competition with time and in constant need of power and materials. Then, later on, we forget to live. We forget about today. And that´s why Colombia is special to me. It is remarkable how people understand the meaning of life, focus on the moment and just live it with all the passion they can put in it. You don´t hear anyone bitching about ” I am too tired to this now”. It is fascinating how they scream, fight, walk, breath, work, love and dance. Ahh, the way they dance… It is a beauty in every random thing they do. And that´s because it is full of life, passion and emotions.
In Mexico I probably learned what family is. Being “adopted” by a random Mexican family for 2 months was a brand new experience. Probably made me reflect on how many barriers I have built between me and my family. How many mistakes we have done that have led to where we are now. On a happier note, I probably discovered that after Eastern European cheese, Mexican food is the best one you will ever eat! But Mexico is not just about food. It is an other country ruined by bad reputation. So many point at it, ignore it, laugh about it, but how could one judge without seeing it for real. But, well, you already got my point of view about current society.
Panama was the place I never planned to go. I don´t know why and how did I go there, but it was a good choice. I was surprised to discover a new world. One world, that is actually well developed and has so much hidden treasure. Not to mention I literally landed in the middle of the jungle, saw alligators in the wild, and off course, how could I miss it, the great, one and only Panama Canal, linking two different sides of the world.
Curacao. If you are not a travel geek, from the Caribbean region or dutch, I bet you are already researching a map because you have no idea where that is. Well, so did my friends. Never heard of it. Well, the less you know the better it is, so I can keep it all for myself, because it is just too perfect. The story behind this amazing island is a random decision, as most of my life is. Not knowing where to go on a break, you just type ” everywhere” in skyscanner and the first option you get, just take it. It was my first time in the Caribbean, and I know you are expecting me to say how amazed I was by the landscape, which I was, indeed, though I will go for an other one here. The reason Curacao was a memorable experience is because of the people I met. It is amazing the feeling when you just meet someone on a random island in the Caribbean, and out of nothing you just click. It is like catching up a lifetime of friendship in a few days. Try it!
In Peru I have understood and felt what is freedom. And freedom does not come cheap. There is a price to pay. Not Euros, nor US dollars. You pay it with your existence. You might think freedom is just the simple fact of not being behind bars and do the things of your choice. How wrong you are buddy! Absolute freedom is when there is not one single thing on your mind, no duties you need to accomplish, no plans for tomorrow, no money to burn, no one to call or to be called, careless about the food you will eat and the things you will do. Absolute freedom is leaving your bills behind, forgetting your daily routine, escape somewhere nobody can find you, do all random things you always wanted to do, and enjoy the breath you take, because that is the smell of freedom. That is the moment when you feel independent, so strong but still so lost in this world, you are dismissed from any charges and you only live for yourself. That is the moment when you feel like you can fly without wings and you can move mountains without power. This is freedom.
In Brazil I cried. I cried the most honest and happiest tears of my life. In the same time, I felt the proudest and most accomplished person in the world. Have you ever dreamt about something your whole life? Have you ever had a passion you were living for? Have you ever waited 25 years for something to happen? Well, if so, you know the feeling I am talking about. Despite all the crap people around me keep pulling, the judgement, discouragement, risks, sacrifices, and others´mediocrity, I did made my lifetime dream come true, and with my hand on my heart, I can say, it was worth dreaming and fighting. It was an adventure that payed off, and taught me one thing: Whatever people say, you just go, and never stop until you are there. Never stop until you are not done.
Argentina. Paraguay. Barbados. Not one interest I have ever shown for these countries, yet I ended up there. Legally, illegally, randomly, they all have their stories. But the lesson these 3 actually carry, is the fact that whoever invented the concept of “travel planning” did the biggest eff-up! I have several places visited by choice and plan, yet the majority were never planned or expected, yet, these are the ones that gave me the greatest adventures, experiences and memories. So what have I learned from this lesson? Screw your plans, rip the paper, pack a bag and just hit the road one day. The random things are the best and regardless how challenging and sometimes upsetting feels not having a plan, by the end of the day, there is always something that makes you laugh and leaves you speechless.
Bolivia. Uhmm well, haven´t been there, but now you know whats next! 😀