After what felt like a very confusing 2014, I am determined to make the coming year a much more fulfilling one. You know what they say, new year, new start. I want to make this the year of finding myself.
I did travel to some fantastic places last year though. Not to forget. I spent a gorgeous long weekend away in Stockholm, Sweden. They were a whirlwind five days wandering the cobbled streets of the Old Town, dangling feet happily over the riverbank, riding the subway, exploring the parks.
In July I travelled to Sri Lanka for the wedding of a friend I made whilst travelling around Europe two years previously, dragging my mom along this time. She’d always wanted to visit Sri Lanka, so when the opportunity arose, I invited her. Although middle of the annual monsoon season on the west coast, we had little to no rain. Lucky, I know! We had a fantastic adventure driving around the island for two weeks.
Then in the August I flew to France, before taking the ferry across to the island of Corsica, an arid but beautiful place. There I spent just over a week exploring parts of the island, enjoying the beaches, the jawdropping jagged blue peaks, the forests and the clear rivers. It was beautiful.
This year I’m ready to plan something bigger.
Since 2013 I have tried to plot a return to South America, but each time as I begin to form ideas, other corners of my life seem to get in the way and distract me. I do question myself often whether travel is really the answer to things, but, I always remember that it is my passion. I just can’t help it. To me, the want, the need to travel, just simply outweighs almost all other priorities in my life. I always return to the same thought – you’re young and you have the opportunity to see the world, if you want to. Why do you stay in the same place and job, when there is so much you could see and learn?
So I have some goals.
In the last year or so I have become interested in learning the Spanish language. I studied German in school. Since the trip to South America in 2013 I’ve tried to pick up bits and bobs of Spanish (with a brief interlude of also trying to teach myself French), and although I often find myself distracted, I still have that desire to get a grasp of it. With this in mind, taking up Spanish classes in South America is definitely something I’m looking to do.
A second goal is to continue my exploration of the continent, moving this time north in a clockwise fashion, travelling through Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela. To complete a trek in each country would make me so happy. A strange admission, I guess, after the trials and tribulations of the three treks I took on in Peru and Bolivia. But although terribly difficult, challenging both mentally and physically, they taught me a lot about myself. And I saw places and things that most can only imagine. This year I’d like to hike the Quilotoa circuit in Ecuador. Trek to the Lost City in Colombia. And climb the towering tabletop mountain straight out of UP – Mount Roraima.
At this stage I have a rough plan for this trip. I will depart around June or July of this year, spending the first month adjusting to Ecuador by joining a travelling classroom. Through this I will take Spanish lessons whilst exploring Quito, the Amazon, Manta and Montanita. From there I will set about trekking the Quilotoa circuit. A visit to the Galapagos is a possibility, but with the high cost it will most likely have to wait until another year.
From Ecuador I can take a bus into Colombia, moving north to the capital city of Bogota, to the towering wax palms of the coffee region, through Medellin and up to Cartagena and the Caribbean coast.
Then to end on a high, I’ll join another Spanish language travelling classroom, Jakera, where I’ll get to pick up more of the language, hike, kayak and climb. The final conclusion to what I hope to be an amazing journey, will be the chance to climb Mount Roraima in late November.
I cannot wait.