This is the first time I’ve been travelling for 4 months. Previously I have “only” travelled for 6 weeks the longest. What did I like the most? What I didn’t like? What do I miss and what have I learned?
First off all I have to say that I can call myself lucky and privileged that life gave me this opportunity to travel for an extended period of time. I am lucky that I could see and experience Patagonia, Buenos Aires, Cabo Polonio, Iguazú Falls and many other places I’ve described or I am about to describe on this site.
I’m also lucky that I could experience the energy of friendly Chileans, life-loving and generous Argentinians, friendly melancholic/mate-sharing Uruguayans, a bit shy Bolivians, proud Peruvians and modest Ecuadorians.
South America is not as different to Europe if compared to Asia. Taking away the obvious economic differences, it’s still under the same, christian influence as opposed to Asia, where their philosophies and religions don’t even ask the same questions.
The differences between the countries here, except the element of economics are minor but not invisible. But still, any differences are fascinating. Only growing up in a neighbouring country would potentially make you a different person, innit?
All those thousands of lives I didn’t live. Growing up and living them in different climate of economical/social/cultural circumstances, with different friends, getting their first kiss in totally different places, having different posters on their teenage bedroom walls and so on.me me me
Without downgrading anyone, I have to say that my fav country is still Argentina, where I’ve experienced the most natural curiosity in me as a person as opposed to for example Cusco, where I was reduced to being a walking wallet for some of the locals…
Long Term Travelling
I have personally learned that long term travelling is not for everyone. Long term travelling doesn’t solve your problems – you just forget about them temporarily. For some, like for example for me, travelling only recharges your batteries – it doesn’t give you a set of spare ones. Basically, you can only recharge fully and that’s it – any further charging doesn’t work until you’ll drain those batteries again properly 😀
Even writing this feels weird but I haven’t managed to find something to weaken my fully charged batteries with. Of course, I mean the work batteries – what else do you want to charge? Your party batteries? Or hobby batteries? Those should be self-charging, right?
So, to my surprise, I got to experience few annoyances that I got tired off, which is the whole new thing for me – getting tired of anything on the road – and it did catch me by surprise. I’m not talking about things like music because I have excepted it to be shit and except Cabo Polonio and few exceptions in Buenos Aires or Cusco – it has been shit all the way. What I’m talking about is for example:
Being Gringo. I was warned by a friend that as a white straight man I will have my privileges checked in South America. I thought I already had that check, being from the what used to be a Second World country, as an illegal immigrant in the UK in the 90s basically meant being a second class citizen. This is however completely different. This is purely about the colour of your skin, which is racist by nature but still not as racist as if it goes the other way around – actually it’s far from it – there’s no KKK or anything like that. Gringo is not always only negative but it could be and when it is – it’s not pleasant at all.
Being reduced to a walking wallet only. This one is a bit connected to the previous point. Until I’ve arrived to Scam Pedro de Atacama, I’ve only experienced the normal level of SCAM. It there, it however kicked off to high levels through the whole Bolivia, Peru (mainly in Cusco) and Ecuador. One gets a bit tired of being constantly ready for an impact of the next Darwin lesson, especially when 90% of your conversations are transition-based. That happens here, unless you wonder into a hostel to meet other travellers. And those are also not always the nice guys only, which brings me to the last point:
Gimme cigarette ‘hippies”. This is the kind of opportunistic people who keep talking about how the world should be a better place without doing anything about it at all. On the contrary, they do exploit their countries’ economic wealth in order to be able to travel in poorer countries – to enjoy the advantages of the differences they supposedly hate so much.
While doing that, they make sure to get at least a fag of you and because you don’t wear their uniform, they sometimes even do it with a clear despise towards the – let’s say more middle of the road lifestyle you live. They’re like the so called “Christians” who wear crosses without upholding any of the christian values.
On Sunday, I am flying to Bogotá where I will meet up with some of my cherished mates from the N16 days we shared. I can say how much I am looking forward to do this. First of all, it’s been many many years I’ve been promising that I will show up.
Secondly, I am really looking forward to have normal conversations – or let’s say other than – how to get the bus from A to B, what’s the best trek in Patagonia, which beer is the best, how much is a mojito or if I want to go and take the Salsa class. Those conversations could be great – don’t get me wrong – but with a real friend – the topics are – let’s say – richer 😉
Anyway. I hope that everyone is OK. I miss you guys 😉
Love, Peace and Understanding ;j