Looking back at five months of travel…

I never noticed I had missed the singing sparrows until I walked up to my parents house. Springtime and the changing of the seasons is so magical and something you don’t really have in Southamerica. But except for the birds everything was so quiet! No honking, no music, no screaming, no chatter – it was as if someone had turned off the volume.

Not one week back in Germany and I already miss the crazyness and chaos of Peru and Bolivia. Although my trip was different from what I expected it was defnitely just as amazing as I had hoped. If you have been reading my blog from the start you might remember my first post where I tried to come up with some personal goals for the journey. Today I would like to have a look at them again and let you know what became of them:

  • Being aware of my needs and taking good care of myself: I defnitely did a good job at taking care of myself physically and mentally – and it was a lot easier than expected! Fortunately I didn’t really get into many uncomfortable, let alone dangerous situations and the longer I travelled the less challenging situations I got into. I felt comfortable and confident so quickly that the hardest situations for me were saying goodbye to some friends I made on the road. I I guess that just shows I had a great time with them.
  • Learn peruvian embroidery and / or weaving: Sadly, the workaway host that was going to teach me this cancelled on me and then my priorities gradually changed. I would still love to learn peruvian handicrafts, but other plans came up whenever I could have made time to learn it. I did however learn macrame from Melina and went totally overboard with buying supplies! You will find me in the streets trying to sell my braceletts to other hippies…
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Some examples of my new skills

  • Going on a multiday hike in the Andes: If I over-accomplished one goal it must have been this one. My love for trekking grew so much during this journey and each hike excelled the previous one in some way. In addition to some other day hikes I walked with luggage for the first time, went up an incredibly high volcano, made my way to Macchu Piccu by foot and spent six days hiking and camping at over 4500m (including a hailstorm and several passes). Unsurprisingly my legs got really strong and my hiking boots fell apart completely.
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Ausangate Trail – so far the most amazing hike of my life!

  • Asking people more questions about their passions, views and inspirations (instead of e.g. their jobs or which sites they visited): Ok, I didn’t completely skip the small talk, but sometimes I got more creative with my questions. I also spent a lot of time with some people which allowed us to naturally end up having more meaningfull conversations. Also I noticed that as a rule of thumb the longer people travel and the less tight their scedule the more interesting the conversations usually are.
  • Explore the Amazon: The Amazon was defnitely a personal highlight. My granddad always dreamt of seeing the Amazon djungle (he never did) and I get why. It is amazing!
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Melina swimming in what later on becomes the Amazon river

  • Do some yoga: I’ll be honest – of all of my goals I defnitely failed on this one the most. I can count the times I practiced yoga with my fingers and I have no good excuse because each time I actually did yoga it felt amazing! So this is a goal that will stay on my list to hopefully become more of a routine in the future.
  • Write a diary to hold on to beautiful memories and new ideas: In five months I filled more than 150 pages with memories, notes, tickets and occasionally even convinced other people to contribute to my journal. I also bought pencils to add a little colour and soon my journal became my most valuable posession. Yes it was difficult to catch up with all the stuff that happened, but I am so gald I managed to write a little bit about each day to prevent forgetting about all the little precious moments and many people I met.
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One of the beautiful contributions to my diary

  • Approach new people openly: Not that I was ever really bad at this, but I guess I got better. I stopped even thinking about it and just talked to people when I felt like it. Yes there was the awkward moment when I couldn’t come up with any good questions, but it happens to the best of us.
  • Regularly share photos and blog about experiences: You judge if I did an ok job on this – but honestly, I enjoyed sharing things on this blog and will continue to both travel and occasionally share stuff with you!
  • Take the time to mindfully enjoy new places: I spent three months just in Bolivia so I was relatively slow. Of course being slow doesn’t guarantee mindfullness, but it defnitely helps! And I did improve over the months really looking with my eyes and feeling a place with my senses and not just snapping pictures without stopping to actually enjoy it. Occasionally I had to remind myself to take my time to lok and forget about my camera but all in all I did improve.
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Enjoying the sunrise and changing colours at rainbow mountain (not pictured)

As you can see my evaluation is pretty positive so my plan to plan less and enjoy more worked out! Of course this was really just the start of my journey as I plan to continue exploring parts of Europe and even Africa until spring 2017 so we will see how my goal evolve from here…

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