5 and a half weeks… FIVE and a half weeks! I´ve officially been wandering around foreign places with my backpack for longer than EVER before. Not that that’s very long in the backpacking community, but heck it is long for me. I have travelled over 4000 kilometres through 4 countries. It has been fantastic – BUT my back is killing me and it is long overdue a break from semi-camas and the giant turquoise Osprey creation I once thought was my Yeoseph (a.k.a. my soul mate). I am currently taking a time out in Taltal, Chile where I am going to be teaching English voluntarily for the next month. I suppose I should tell you about the actual travelling I have been doing, but as I am in the mood for more reflective writing you are going to have to make do with the cliff notes version instead…
Prior to 2011 my travels had only extended as far as skiing in Austria and Bulgaria, and countless visits home to Ireland. Five years, seventeen countries, thirty-seven cities, and one language later: I’m about to head off on my biggest trip to date, but my feet are feeling rather chilly…
Since I decided to give Madrid another year, I figured I better make the next 10 months worth me staying put. Here are my 10 goals for the next 10 months.
The short answer? Yes. I know it’s cliché, but how could it not? When you spend a month alone in a developing country, you learn a lot about yourself and your abilities. Apparently when I returned from Peru I was noticeably calmer and happier. Not that I was seriously anxious or sad before, but I hadn’t been feeling myself for quite sometime for a number of reasons. I just needed to do something for me, and in doing so I realised that, as much as I like to tell myself I am independent and I thrive on my own, the times when I was really alone were ironically the moments where I felt most unhappy. Not that I would say I’m evidently not independent, just that my understanding of what that means to me has developed. I like to organise things for myself, fund my own adventures, and go places I want go, but that doesn’t necessarily mean spending time totally by myself. I also like meeting new people and talk for hours about both nonsense and academic babble. Essentially I just like to be in control of myself, whether that means deciding where I’m going in the morning or whether I want to spend time with someone or not.
After my Week 3 adventures, I spent my final week taking it easy. A fellow volunteer (who was about to spend 3 months living in Cusco) came with me on my mini-tour to Pisaq and Ollantaytambo, two picturesque towns nestled in the heart of the Sacred Valley.
Continue reading “Part 4: Qusqu, Qosqo, Cusco! ~ My 25 days in the capital of the Incas.”
By this point I was well into the swing of living in Cusco and had developed a familiar routine. The arrival of other volunteers meant I was having a far better time with companions to hang out with. My Spanish had also drastically improved, which made simple things like getting on and off the bus to work that little bit cooler and meant I was able to communicate with the kids at Picaflor a bit better. It was during this week I trekked to Machu Picchu and ended up in hospital, so apart from swanning around Cusco some more I essentially just spent my time soaking it all in and enjoying myself….
Truth be told, after my first week in Cusco and a week and a half in Peru, the cons of solo-travel was starting to hit home. I had briefly (and oddly) ran into an old friend from college on my first night, but otherwise I only had the children at Picaflor to interact with during the day. Seeing as they didn’t speak English and my Spanish went as far as telling them how old I was, I started to feel pretty darn lonely.
Continue reading “Part 2: Part 1: Qusqu, Qosqo, Cusco! ~ My 25 days in the capital of the Incas.”