BUCKET.

This year felt different. I wanted to feel alive. Fresh. To explore. And so I wrote a list. I think I’ve done quite well.

 

TRAVEL SOLO TO COLOMBIA TO VISIT ONE OF MY BESTIES

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GET MY HAIR BRAIDED ON A CARRIBEAN BEACH

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CASUALLY FLOAT DOWN THE AMAZON RIVER

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BOAT FROM ONE COUNTRY TO ANOTHER

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DO SOME LONE WANDERING THROUGH CENTRAL AMERICA

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TOUCH DOWN IN THE USA

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In hindesight, I probably should have added these things to the list…

 

GET PAINTED LIKE JAGUAR IN THE MIDST OF THE AMAZON JUNGLE

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DRINK COCONUT WATER AU NATURAL

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POOP IN A TROPICAL TOILET

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MAKE A HUMAN PYRAMID ON A DESERTED ISLAND

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ACCIDENTALLY LIMIT ALL MY POSSESSIONS TO THIS

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ADOPT A KITTEN IN A CLUB

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TAKE A PHOTO LIKE THIS

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Life is short. Make it sweet.    peace-sign-hand-peace-sign-1

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Why travel (on reflection)

I’m drawing inspiration from my favourite travel muse Pico Iyer, as I nostalgically reflect on adventures been and journeys to come.

“We need sometimes to escape into open solitudes, into aimlessness, into the moral holiday of running some pure hazard, in order to sharpen the edge of life” George Santayana

Need is a strong word. And yet Santayana continues:

“There is wisdom in turning as often as possible from the familiar to the unfamiliar; it keeps the mind nimble; it kills prejudice, and it fosters humour.”

I’m all for a nimble mind, and a good sense of humour.

“Abroad is the place where we stay up late, follow impulse and find ourselves as wide open as when we are in love” Pico Iyer

I stay up late at home, but generally disappoint myself with my sensibilities.

“We live without a past or future, for a moment at least, and are ourselves up for grabs and open to interpretation…”

You could be anyone. I inevitably always am myself. I think this is a good thing.

“There are, of course, great dangers to this, as to every kind of freedom, but the great promise of it is that, traveling, we are born again, and able to return at moments to a younger and a more open kind of self”

It’s not being young per se that attracts me, but the sense of freedom and ability to frolic frivolusly.

“Traveling is a way to reverse time, to a small extent, and make a day last a year”

It is true. One the road days last forever. As I journeyed for 9 weeks, I found the stresses of life withering away. I laughed constantly. I felt alive and happy. Young and invincible.

Friendships created in a week, felt like friends of old. I felt at home. Broad smiles, sun kissed tans and friendships built on beer pyramids. Many are transient, short and sweet. Yet a collection of people I’ve meet over the years stay with me, there faces itched in my memory.

“All good trips are, like love, about being carried out of yourself and deposited in the midst of terror and wonder….And that is why many of us travel not in search of answers, but of better questions”

 

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It’s a kinda magic

Occasionally you go somewhere new and it resonates you. I guess that’s why we travel, perpetually in search of that something special.

Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica instantly hit me as somewhere a little big magical. I felt both at home, yet utterly enchanted. I guess it’s a little bit like love.

My newfound friend Leah from LA is huge on energies. I stayed behind in Bocos del Toro, Panama and she messaged me “Kesha, you’ve got to get here – you’ll love it”

She was right. The energy of this place feels good. Earthy. Chilled. Authentic. Beautiful. Coupled with a Caribbean rasta-love and the “Pura Vida” (Pure Life) meaning to enjoy and appreciate the simplicities of life.

And I do. Everything I see makes me smile. I’m pretty sure I haven’t stopped beaming since I arrived. Though I’ve had my fair share of homemade icecreams, chocolate, and fresh veggie juices all under a sun that like me is beaming.

Push bikes are the main means of travel here, complete with a cute wee basket. If you’re on a budget one can suffice for two, though this can be a difficult feat – particularly by night with no street lights.

By both day and night tops aren’t required. A bikini is sufficient, and it’s so hot I’m not one to protest. It’s liberating. Besides, I stopped wearing a bra and make up a long time ago.

Beautiful stretches of surf beaches are surrounded by intense jungle, and down the jungle roads you bike at your own leisure. Always looking for the next swim or cafe stop.

Artisan products and homemade chocolate are proclaimed on café jungle side boards, as well as yoga, massages and surfing.

Today a guy offered me a free surf board for as long as I wanted, in exchange for being his Girlfriend. I thanked him kindly for the generous offer, but said I was happy to pay $10 to hire the board.

Although this is the type of place I could set up camp and chill for ions in the happy vibes of the Pura Vida.

Unfortunately I’ve only got a week left in Central America and felt the itch to keep moving.

I was pondering over a breakfast for one what to do next – the options were endless. Later I ran into an Aussie couple I met on my boat to Panama. They happened to be leaving in 2 days for Nicaragua via some white water rafting. That sounded good to me, did they mind if I joined?

Next stop, somewhere on route. To be continued…20140725-002939-1779660.jpg

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No hablo español

I naively thought that returning to South America and speaking Spanish again would be just like riding a bike. Unfortunately it was more like trying to ride a motorcycle – and I’ve never ridden one before.

I was well and truly fucked. Luckily a little bit of charm and syntax ingenuity can go a long way.

The first time I found myself dining solo I sadly recognised nothing on the menu. I put all my key Spanish words together and came up with “Que es mas popular?” (What is most popular?)

The waiter gestured to one and trailed off in lengthy description. Understanding nothing I smiled and said “Esto” (This)

This food ordering technique has proven to work exceptionally well.

Being a gourmand and eating out 3 meals a day, my culinary vocab has flourished. Once I even proclaimed in shock that the menu was in English, only to realise I was confused because I had actually understood it.

For non cuisine related times luckily I’ve got my Latin-American Spanish phrase book. It’s full of some great conversation starters:

“Aqui hay un problema con el medio ambiente?” (Is there an environmental problem here?)

“Que autor latinoamericano recomiendas?” (Which Latin American author do you recommend?)

I was imagining how great it’d be to film myself using these phrases on unknown members of the Latino public and record their responses. I’m sure the conversations would be gold.

6 1/2 weeks into my trip and it’s sadly drawing to an end. I’m amazed at how much I’ve seen and done with such limited Spanish.

And stranger still, mine is better than a lot of the other Gringos I’ve met. My favourite is when people speak in English with a Spanish accent. Although to be fair, very occasionally this does actually work.

I’m proud to now seamlessly blend all my words together beautifully in what can only be called Spanglish. I’m pretty sure I make no sense at all, but an attempt paired with a beaming smile can do you no wrong.

The locals here are warm, muy tranquillo and lucky for me always willing to give their opinion on what is most popular.

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Hasta Pronto Colombia!

It is done.

I fly — AUCKLAND —  MELBOURNE — LOS ANGELES — BOGOTA — where I’ll spend arround a month in Colombia. The rest is open ended, but planning to sail to PANAMA and meander around there & COSTA RICA before flying from there back to LA, then home.

2 months. 8 weeks. 56 days.

I can do anything. It’s a liberating thought.

The Caribbean, the Amazon, colonial towns, tropical islands — it’s all going to be happening.

In 3 1/2 months I’ll be taking off on a trip I’ve been contemplating for years. Dreaming, pondering and finally the timing seems right. I’m not 14, but I am on the #YOLO band wagon. And while I haven’t conned anyone into joining me, there will be a few friends along the way.

This will be my 3rd time to South America, the love affair continues…

I never made it to Colombia, but it was rated by all the traveller’s I met along the Gringo trail. Central America also sounds my kinda place.

I love the Latino culture – the mix of passion and tranquilo. I feel at home amongst it, and with my curly brown hair and olive skin I blend right in until I speak. I definitely need to work on my Spanish.

Been that side of the world before? Love to hear your thoughts. For those readers who travel vicariously, MANY a photo to follow… Like my blog on Facebook for photos and posts along the way 🙂

https://www.facebook.com/keshafayblog

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