SOUTH AMERICA

Wrote this yesterday…

It’s my last day in South America and I can’t sleep nor move to do anything… sooooo why not write a little note about my last year + 1/2 a month? I think some people think I am absolutely insane (which may be true but for other reasons) so here’s my best explanation of how I ended up where I am and why I’m going to Spain next.

Where to begin… People always ask me what made me decide to come to South America and people think it’s crazy that I’m heading to Spain next. It’s a good question… “Why?” It’s hard to come up with that answer. After being out here for so long, I forget what I’m like when I’m in a settled routine. ANTSY is what I am. I was looking at an old blogs I wrote when I was having my end-of-college crisis…. and it’s amazing to see how I was thinking and how I already knew that I have an inability to settle and a tendency to go after unrealistic plans.

“I need some kind of adventure… Something new and exciting, unknown and challenging. I get bored. I try to stay away from going back to what I know, what I’ve done already just for the sake of knowing that I can or that it’s convenient. What I want is crazy and impossible.”

“I usually tell other people to go out and do their thing, go after whatever they want, figure it out, try and fail or succeed… Take the time to live and things will come together on their own. The hard part is to ignore everything else and just take the time to ask yourself, What do you really want?”

NO LIE, 2 years ago on August 12, 2008… I wrote this -“The current unrealistic life goal: Go to South America for all of 2009.” I love it when unrealistic life goals happen.

So after university, I had a job in Boston, an option to go back to Los Angeles, and then the big unknown of South America. I seem to have an inability to settle, so I went for South America. I found the English Opens Door program online to start off the continental adventure, bought a Lonely Planet to plan the rest, and here I am today.

How was it? South America was nothing short of an incredible adventure. I visited 6 countries, worked on my spanish, and saw amazing sites like Torres del Paine and Perito Moreno in Patagonia, Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil, Machu Picchu in Peru, and the salt flats in Bolivia. I came to South America with plans to volunteer for most of the time but only ended up with 3 very different experiences. I taught English in Chile, built a house out of mud and painted it with cow poop in Argentina, and helped with earthquake reconstruction in Peru.

It’s definitely unbelievable that I’ve been away from home for so long, but I had a second home in South America in Mejillones (where I lived and taught English in Chile). Besides that, I think you can feel like home when you’re surrounded by the right people. In some ways, the people you meet while traveling can be something that matters more than what you see or do.

I met people from all parts of the US and all over the world… Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Czech Republic, Germany, France, Switzerland, Sweden, England, Ireland.No matter where you are from or what background you have, you can always find people who are exactly like you and those who complement (not compliment) you. There are the same types of people anywhere you go – both the good and the bad. And there’s people who bring out the best in YOU and those who bring out the worst. You can meet people who are so RIGHT for you that they are on the same level as friends you’ve known for years. I am so lucky to have met some of these people and can’t wait to see them again someday.

I loved South America…. and I think I made the best out of the moments I had. Sure, there are some things I might not do again, but that’s what “once in a lifetime” is about, right?I came with few expectations and got lots of surprises along the way. It was an unrealistic goal and I got an unforgettable year… I really can’t believe I’m finally leaving and in some ways I wish was staying longer to work here instead of in Spain. But I know I’ll be back someday for more. Always making those unrealistic life plans!

“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” – Mark Jenkins

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