A year ago today was one of those pivotal days that signified a new beginning.
January 14, 2013 was the day I landed back on the continent of South America, after an 18 day cruise to the Falklands, South Georgia islands and landing on the 7th continent – Antarctica. With the view of Ushuaia from the bow of the ship, in sight, it was a bitter-sweet moment.
Traveling as a Single Woman and sharing a ship with 183 other passengers and 92 crew members was such a wonderful experience. All the newly formed friendships, the camaraderie that came with sharing such a special journey added to the experience.
However, I am never one for Good-byes. I still remember at my high school graduation party, I sat there on the floor, in the hallway of the event space – crying. Just balling my eyes out because I knew life will be different after high school. All the friends I grew up with will go to different places for university or college or something else. I was so scared of change. I was scared of the Unknown and what it entails.
Since then every time, when change was approaching, I would get emotional and just be engulfed in fear – even if the change was instigated by myself.
I knew that everyday is different for a traveler as the only way to travel is to leave the familiarity and comforts of home behind. I knew that at the end of the voyage to Antarctica, everyone will go their separate way. Some heading back home to their ‘regular’ life. Some continuing to a new travel destination. Some heading back home but to a new phase in life; new job, new home, new relationship status. Whatever it may be, we had Antarctica in common.
The fear I dealt with that day involved with the Unknowns – again. As much as the fact that I intended this trip to be an exploration of South America and Asia – I knew it would mainly be a journey to explore myself. Some parts of me was trying to pull an “Elizabeth Gilbert” – Eat, Pray, Love – my way through this journey.
Before leaving home in Toronto, I had only pre-arranged the international flights, the journey to Antarctica, 2 nights stay in Ushuaia after the cruise and a flight to Easter island during their Tapati festival in February. There was no real itinerary to speak of, the path was undefined. I had set it up so I will have to come face-to-face with the Unknown. Now the decision time. Actually in reality, every minute of every day is decision time, no matter where I am – seriously.
Where to next?? Do I travel with new friends or alone?
Do I just throw a dart at the map and hope for the best??
Each day was a test on my intuition, my gut and my trust for the Universe.
Do I insist on something, be stubborn and pay the price OR go with the flow, adjust according to the present situation at hand and be rewarded by the Universe.
When I chose to travel with 3 friends to El Calafate from Ushuaia to visit Perito Moreno Glacier, we tried for 2 days to get a flight. The airline’s system failed to pull up our reservation, then they could not manually issue tickets even though we were shoving money into their hands. That was a sign. By taking the 17 hour bus ride, we got to enjoy the scenery along the way and enjoy each others company.
Another time, I was at Foz do Iguacu, Brazil and wanted to visit Florianopolis – as my Argentinian friend boasts about it being his all time favorite vacation destination. All the buses were fully booked. I resolved to take the bus to Curitiba knowing it will have more options as it has a larger bus station. I ended up meeting a Brit who’s living in Sao Paulo who had just visited a beach side town called Maresais.
The sound of a quiet beach with locals sounded more attractive to me than party central with foreigners and not like I was able to get a bus ticket to Florianopolis. The Brit helped me find a hostel and booked it on the spot for me during the 7 hour bus ride. Maresais, was the perfect location to spend a few days before a weekend Reiki convention in Minas Gerais. I even found a copy of Bach’s flower essence book at the hostel’s bookcase. When I saw the Bach book on the shelf, I blurted “You’ve gotta be kidding me! You (the Universe) got me to come all this way to find this book??”
When it feels like you’re just banging your head against the wall, maybe it’s time to walk another path. Try an alternate route. When it’s right, everything falls in place, effortlessly. Everything feels right. Everything is easy.
To travel independently can be quite daunting but it can also be a whole lot of fun and adventure!