Really? Just one week? It feels so natural, and I’ve seen so much.
This is my first time travelling for such a long time by myself. When people first heard the news back in Geneva, I was told I was “courageuse”, “brave”. I did start to feel a bit nervous – excited – as the start of the trip approached. And I was quite apprehensive on the night before my dad left for the US after a week together on an organised cruise around the Galapagos. But once I was left alone, I just got in with it. It was something I had wanted to do. Have some me time. Time to think. Time to experience things on my own terms. Time to meet new people. And time to write.
It’s surprising how easy it is to wile away the hours in your own thoughts. Or, in fact, not so many thoughts, as it turns out. Just looking out of the window on the bus, watching the world go by. Literally. Sitting on the beach, the sun warming your skin while the waves crash on the sand. (A few weeks ago, I was listening to ocean sounds on an app to help me relax at night. No longer needed.) Sipping your piña colada in the evening after a day learning about the Incas. And so another day passes.
Breakfast is easy: a full ‘American’ (bread rolls with butter and/or jam, eggs – huevos fritos or revueltos (revolting? no, scrambled), café con leche, and your choice of juice) in the hostel, or a couple of bread rolls from the panadería to eat in the bus. On the bus, you talk to the person sitting next to you – a young guy from Guayaquil, a professor from Loja, a medical student from the Netherlands – or you sleep. Exploring the city is no problem on your own – wandering the streets, stopping to take photos of a church or to buy an ice cream. Lunch in a café. The afternoon spent visiting a museum or archeological site.
But then there’s dinner. That’s when it would be nice to have a companion to join you at a restaurant, have a couple of drinks, feel a bit safer on the streets at nighttime. Ideally walk hand in hand along the beach afterwards, looking up at the stars. Especially when every restaurant insists on playing songs with lyrics like “mi corazón”, “sólo tú”, “por siempre”… Instead, I look up at the TV, watching Atletico Madrid celebrate their victory against Real Madrid in the King’s Cup Final. Joy.
Of course, I’m not really alone in a world where there is wifi everywhere I go. With my blog posts, Facebook updates, new Twitter followers, likes on my Instagram photos, new connections on LinkedIn, email, and WhatsApp, I’m completely connected to everyone back home. I can tell people where I am, chat about what I’ve done, share photos. It’s cheating in a way. But oh so comforting to still feel close to people so far away.
Just one week so far. Let’s see what the next ten weeks will hold…