when i first started thinking about what i was actually going to do when i got here, i had all of these grand ideas about how much i was going to ‘accomplish’ in a month. 4 countries, approximately 1 week each… what delusions of grandeur! the reality is, i probably could do it.. but i would be doing a hell of a lot of sleeping on buses and rushing through cities, not to mention a lot less relaxing. so i took the other route, and adopted the mantra.. ‘i can always come back.’ and i will.. i promise.
coming to this conclusion got me thinking about the different types of travelling/traveller i have encountered as well as embodied over the years… here are a few (and i know there are a hell of a lot more out there):
1) the time stretcher- you can plan out every minute and try to ‘maximize’ your time in each place by trying to cram in as much experience as possible into each day. the first half of my trip to peru and bolivia a few years ago felt like that- we only had 2 weeks, and we did la paz, cochabamba, lake titicaca, la isla del sol, cuzco, a 4 day trek, macchu picchu, ollantaytambo, river rafting and lima. since we spent a full 4 days in cuzco, the majority of that was done in about a week and a half. we saw a hell of a lot and had a great time- my dad booked through a great travel agency that planned out most of it for us.
2) the i-dont-want-to-plan-but-i- want-to-do-everything person- i think this is probably the most accurate description of where I’m currently at. i honestly want to be able to take advantage of my time in a place and soak up as much as i can through adventures, conversations, and sight seeing, but i am also a terrible planner. like a puppy that gets distracted by shiny objects, wave an adventure in my face and I’m all over it. the problem with this is that since right now i have a limited amount of time, i can’t really travel this way and expect to ‘do everything.’
3) the beaten path follower- ‘OMG i totally heard that the full moon party is the place to be.’ ‘everyone says that the only gili island worth going to is trawangan.’ sometimes its a lot easier to just be the ‘everyone else is doing it’ traveller. and a lot of the time its for a REASON. if there are a ton of people all doing the same thing, its probably because its at least a little bit awesome.
its also a lot easier than digging beneath the surface for something a little different, and sometimes it works out really well- like the time i ended up in the smallest car ever with 3 australians and a spaniard, reading a map upside down and somehow ending up throwing ourselves a pool party in amed, bali, after almost getting stuck forever on an unpaved jungle road. and sometimes not so much- like the time i decided to go to denpasar alone and realized that, yes, it is not a tourist destination for a reason.
so where does that leave me now?
well, i have been in cali, colombia since friday afternoon and so far, so good. I’ve been rock climbing at a local gym and met an amazing group of colombians as well as some really cool travelers at the hostel. we’ve been out salsa dancing, exploring the river, walking around the city, and eating delicious food.
cali is a decent sized city (one of the largest in colombia), but to me it seems a lot more laid back than bogota. the people are a lot friendlier, the city is much easier to navigate, and it is one the most active cities outside of the US that i have ever been to.
tonight, we are celebrating christmas colombian style, with a huge dinner at midnight followed by some salsa dancing- cali is considered by many to be the salsa capital of the world (i am sure that depends on who you ask!). ill be here for a few more days taking advantage of all the fun christmas activities, culminating in a marc anthony and don omar SUPER CONCIERTO! on friday, and then probably off to ecuador after that!