Today is my 6 month travel anniversary (say what!?) and I’m ready to answer more of your questions! I honestly thought I’d be packing it up by now. I never wanted to give an official end date, but truth be told, I only purchased travel insurance to last me through February. Needless to say, that has been extended, and I’m staying in Central America a while longer. (Still no return flight home in case you’re wondering!)
What do I love the most about traveling? This is a hard one because I love so many things! After a lot of reflecting, I have to say I most love the new experiences that travel brings. I didn’t know much about Ecuador before I went, and while I was there, I got to experience an entirely new culture and start to embrace a new way of life. I took public transportation and tried to live more like the locals and less like the tourists. (Not always, but when I could!) I was fortunate to volunteer with children and rebuild homes. In Colombia, I traveled 21 hours in cargo ship to a remote community inaccessible by roads. I took salsa lessons. I took crazy buses. I went island hopping and saw how the Kuna people live in Panama. I hiked to picturesque waterfalls and had sloth sightings with new friends in Costa Rica. My travel experiences have shaped my heart in ways that I am only just beginning to understand. That’s why I can’t stop now.
What has surprised me the most? Taking a lighthearted approach on this one, I was surprised to learn that sleeping in a hammock is comfortable! It’s definitely more comfy than a mat inside a tent in my opinion. You just have to get the position just right. Why don’t we have more hammocks around in the states? I think I should open a bar on the beach with nothing but hammock seating. Yes. Someone needs to get on that.
What do I miss the least from home? The stress and the drama. (At work. In the media. You name it.) Down here I’ve been a bit more sheltered from all the chaos in the US. What I do see often makes me upset. I want to view more empowering posts (like those from the Women’s March!) and not all these hateful messages targeting one another. Also, I rarely think about Zika, but I’ve heard that just about everyone in the US is freaked out by it! (Please still come visit me! Ok if you’re pregnant, don’t. But if you’re not, don’t be scared!)
I am happy exploring foreign countries, practicing my Spanish, writing, and enjoying the simple things in life. A sunset. The sounds of a howler monkey. A fresh coconut. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not ignorant to what is going on right now, and my friends are keeping me informed. I’m just happy to march and observe it all from a distance…for now.
What do my fellow travelers think of the election? Oof. People are concerned with the uncertainty in the US, but at the end of the day, they usually tell me that the situation is still worse in their respective home countries. It’s all about perspective. (Unless you’re from New Zealand. I’m pretty sure that country is near perfect.)
What have I learned most about the world through my travels? That less is more. Plain and simple. I have seen happier people here living with far less than I ever had back home. Sure, it might be all they know, but there is some bliss in that.
Do I feel safe traveling alone as a female? Most of the time, yes. Many of my scary encounters would have been the same for a male or female traveler. It’s all about common sense. I never take more out with me than I need, and my bags are never abandoned. The exhausting part is that I am constantly “on guard.” I guess that’s something I miss from back home. Being able to walk around without worrying about getting robbed. I currently consider that a luxury. (Perspective!)
What else can I answer for you in my next post??