30 May 2019 – reflections on the past 6 months in South America…when my time here is coming to an end.

I haven’t really been that motivated to write lately. I’ve noticed that the longer I travel, the smaller my motivation becomes. But right now…at this very moment, I have motivation and inspiration to write.

It’s times like these that I need to take advantage of documenting what I’m feeling and doing because it’s something I treasure when I do write, and something I regret if I don’t end up writing when I can.

Now is my time. Today I have motivation.

I’m at this point where it’s sinking in that I’m truly leaving Brazil and South America very soon 😦 (VERY sad face)

I actually can’t believe I’ve been in South America for 6 months! And SERIOUSLY ~ what an experience it’s been. When I think and look back at everything I’ve done here, I’m a little bit amazed and confused at the same time. In the past 6 months, I feel like I’ve done and seen so many things but also done nothing at all.

Coming back to Brazil has been no exception to this feeling.

I’ve gone on plenty of hikes, swam in many beaches, lazed around in many places, worked on my tan, relaxed, walked through cities, tried many different foods, learnt about a places history, danced in different venues, exposed myself to different music and cultures, interacted with different animals, learnt how to speak basic things in other languages, been bitten by different insects, walked through a few dodgy streets, become lost, seen many different landscapes, sat on many long bus rides and experienced dating a local in a foreign country. I could keep going on with this list but I’ve decided to stick with the highlights.

But of course I can’t forget the problems either – these are if not probably the more memorable ones which define a huge part of your trip too because it helps challenge you and push you into having the ability to become flexible and solve your own problems. In the past 6 months, I’ve encountered credit card fraud, theft, scabies, a water damaged phone, pickpocketing, receiving a counterfeit note, various injuries, sickness and a whole bunch of other stuff which I can’t entirely remember. I even got to experience the first part of altitude sickness too!

It’s just such a strange thing to sit and look back at everything you’ve done over a period of time when you’re traveling…and for me, it’s even stranger to reflect on what I’ve done because I know for a fact that my motivation was pretty low to do things for at least 50% of the time I was in South America. I was emotionally preoccupied, tired of traveling and continued battling with this expectation that I should be doing this or seeing that. Most of the time I’d explore just a little bit and then relax at night. I wasn’t in the mood to drink or party. I didn’t end up doing much to be honest…which led me to only pushing myself to doing things sometimes and giving up on the idea on needing to see it all.

I’m still wondering if I will come to regret not doing all the things I could have done.

Only time will tell…but for the moment, I don’t regret it. I stuck within my physical and emotional limits to explore, with the exception of forcing myself to do something I wasn’t in the mood to do a couple of times….

Ultimately, my journey was still taking place regardless of how quickly or slowly I moved and irrespective of how eventful my day or week was. I guess that’s the beauty of traveling ~ no matter what you’re doing and where you are, you’re still moving forward with your journey. Every day isn’t supposed to be a crazy adventure. It would be utterly exhausting to travel and live like that (well at least for me).

Even though I’m glad I pushed myself to check my bucket list (especially in Peru and Bolivia), I’m also SO GLAD that I decided to just sit back, relax and soak in a city most of the time.

Now that I’ve traveled for quite some time, I really have come to understand something about myself – I know truly understand what I appreciate and enjoy the most when traveling. Now I know for sure that I don’t like rushing when traveling and I truly appreciate traveling the most when you can just live like a local in a place, especially when you’re in good company and a culture you can identify with ~ a place you feel like you belong. I’ve also come to realise that I prefer being in small towns with barely any tourists and with not much happening in the place. I don’t enjoy tourist traps. I love being somewhere where I am the only foreigner and nobody is able to speak English. It not only challenges me but gives me an experience far more different to visiting another touristic city. For me, after traveling for a while, big metropolitan cities end up just being “another big metropolitan city” to me ~ after a while, they all start feeling and looking the same with a few cultural nuances.

But of course I wont discount that I’m glad I got to visit so many places, even if they were “another metropolitan city” and didn’t appeal to me as much as other places. Each and every single place, encounter and experience I had consciously and subconsciously added to my knowledge, education and understanding of the world.

I don’t even think it’s fully hit me what I’ve learnt or realised yet. All I know is that I’m so happy that I’ve been able to come on this journey. It’s definitely been a unique experience.

I also know that I’m going to seriously miss Brazil. Realising that my time here is coming to an end is definitely making me very sad ~ the last time I said goodbye to Brazil, it wasn’t goodbye for good. This time it is 😭 (even though I intend on returning). Even though I know I will come back, falling in love with a place makes saying goodbye that much harder.

I’m going to REALLY miss it here.

The last two weeks, I’ve literally just been living a pretty stock standard boring life – waking up, making breakfast, exercising, cooking, walking or running along the beach every day, writing and learning to play the guitar. Eating acai everyday. Even though some parts of living like this have made me bored, I truly appreciate it…because when I return back to my fast paced, white-collar life in Australia, I’m probably not going to have this opportunity again for a VERY long time. Who knows? I might not ever get a chance to do again in my entire life.. I’ve been sleeping so well too and it’s been so wonderful (in case you didn’t know, I’ve suffered insomnia for most of my life).

And finally, I’ve come to realize and accept that maybe I am finally homesick and ready to return home now. I honestly never thought the day would come. I thought I’d be happy to be away from home forever…but it just happened to be that after 7 months of traveling, my body and mind had rapidly become ready to calm down and go back to my routine.

But even though I’m feeling like this, I’ve got the last leg of my trip to go – Europe. The continent I’ve been anxiously waiting virtually all year long to explore. It was my original dream. And I am VERY excited to finally fulfill it.

I just hope that my enthusiasm and motivation will bounce back ten-fold when I get there so I can truly enjoy the fruits it has to offer.

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