Now I am home it is natural that people often ask me what my favourite part of my trip was. I always reply with answers they want to hear: kayaking Lake Titicaca, summiting an ice peak, hiking the Inca Trail, partying in Buenos Aires. But how do you express that the best parts of your travels were actually those where no photos or recordings were taken?
It’s difficult to tell someone back home about the experiences you’ve had when they cannot possibly conceive what you are talking about, unless they’ve experienced it themselves too. It’s all right to show them your photos, it helps them understand a little. But I’ve found that for myself, listening to songs I played whilst I was travelling brings back much more vivid memories that I wish I could share. So when I listen to this song (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIz4QU39QyM) I think back about my trip, and remember this moment:
Curled up alone on a double seat on a near-empty night bus driving across Argentina, quietly listening to music, I was witness to a magnificent lightning display. For almost two continuous hours streaks of relentless white lightning constantly struck the horizon, dancing around the bus as we drove on through the night. Sometimes the lightning would alternate: striking the fields before spreading like fingers across the sky. There was no thunder. No rain.
I remember thinking that it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
As I sat there watching the lightning play across the sky I was hit by one of those sudden moments of realisation. That moment when you suddenly realise where you are and who you are, when you’re not thinking about the past or planning on what you will do next. I thought to myself, here I am, a 21 year old girl travelling on an overnight bus, in a country I don’t know, no knowledge of the language. Alone. And I remember smiling to myself thinking I’ve done it. I’ve overcome my fear of the unknown. I made my way to this overnight bus to Mendoza of my own accord and there was nothing to fear. It was in this moment, watching the electrical storm flash around me, that I felt such an overwhelming feeling of content. I was exactly where I wanted to be.
This was the adventure I had always wanted.