125 days down, 25 days to go. Oh what a magical time! My first 4 months have been something of whirlwind of adrenaline and running from one amazing place to the next. Don’t get me wrong, I stopped to smell the roses PLENTY of times. Just ask many of the tours I went on where I’d return to the bus late because I was gazing at a glacier or transfer buses I’d be scrambling onto, savoring my scrambled eggs a few moments too long. Yes, I have had a wonderful time thus far. But in the last week, I’ve been reflecting on this trip much more. I’m really just smelling the roses more emphatically. The world is moving slowly around me but the clocks are doubling their rate. It’s an inquisitive feeling, and I feel fortunate to feel more alive than I ever did when I had work perks and an easy life at home.
I know that I’ll be both ecstatic and saddened by returning home, but it may not be for the reason I thought before the trip started. I am not fearful of working again, quite the contrary actually. I am excited to return in the same way that I was excited when I started my first full time job about 4 1/2 years ago (yes, I know I am a strange creature). Things feel fresher, and I do too. Those same roses smell stronger and look brighter. Applying for jobs may not seem like an attractive thing to do during a trip like this, but I’ve been excited about looking for something new and what new adventures lie ahead.
To celebrate the end of this trip, I’ll be sharing 25 memories and lessons I’ve learned that I think are worth sharing. So without delay, here is the first!
25. Question everything.
From a “waterproof” jacket to a “fast” wifi connection, there are no guarantees. Miscommunications happen, with even greater frequency when different languages meet. One such example of questioning things is a short story of my first flight during this trip.
Flying from Newark, NJ to Lima, Peru, I was to take a flight onward to Cusco in just a few hours. Me and my friend asked if we needed to reclaim our bags before catching the connecting flight and were specifically told, NO. Well, after walking halfway out of the baggage claim area, something didn’t feel right. We decided to check anyway just to be sure. Sitting in a lonely corner next to a baggage belt were there bags. Mine, my friend’s, and some other poor soul’s bag.
The start to this trip easily could have been ruinous. Thankfully, because we questioned the advice of an airline agent, we kept our bags from being eaten by the airline industry. Of course, as you may know if you’ve already read my Wild Galapagos part two, my bag had some misfortunes in any case. But the lesson remains. Question everything.