I’ve now been on the road for nine weeks, in Colombia for 15 days. I’m staying at the Dreamer Hostel in Santa, Marta. At roughly $11 a night, the air conditioned room and open air pool and bar is the steal of the trip. There are 40 or so backpackers here spending a few more days than originally planned relaxing and planning trips, treks and random adventures.
I planned on staying a night here, I’m on my 8th day. Super nice people sharing travel stories every night over cheap Colombian beers. A pool table is a few steps from the swimming pool (pronounced ‘Paul’ if you are talking to a Brit). Experience travelers swap out the TV (satellite!) with their iPods sharing Israeli hits mixed with mid 90’s movie soundtracks.
I’m a giant here. Add the blonde hair and I’m the circus figure like with a weird accent on a bit of a trip.
The usual questions when you meet a backpacker are “Name, Where Are You From, What is the Last City You have been to and How Long of a Trip?” If you are new to travel, this is an exciting set of questions. The more experienced you are, the more you avoid it. This set of questions often is influenced by country of origin, type of day you are having and general feeling.
Andrew, from the States, just came from Barranquilla, on a trip of more than a year, we will see.
Nice to meet you.
Generalizations rule the road it seems. A Canadian might not like a traveler from Spain, and avoid other Spaniards until their generalizations are overturned. This is city by city, country by country. I’ve seen Israelis told to leave the room (as most are just out of the military) and been scoffed at for being from The States. Sometimes these are blunt, most of the time it is very subtle.
This could go unnoticed, and it probably should be but could play a key to a larger puzzle of discovery. Is that what travel is about?
How do you decide what to do while traveling? Big question answered in many ways.
Option 1: Guide book. Plan ahead, research each place online, book everything in advance, know the warnings, best way to exchange money and major tours picked out.
Option 2: Online reviews to book a hostel, listen to other travelers to see what tours and activities are great. Go with other backpackers to other cities and repeat.
I’m doing Option 2.
This is where it lead me earlier this week, the Lost City in the Sierra Nevada jungle outside Santa Marta, Colombia:
Where to next? Diving certification? Bus to a beach town? Venezuela?
We will see what the feeling is when I wake up.
So is life now.
Random, always changing but always full of opportunity and questions of meaning, purpose and acceptance.