One year ago, today, on the 28th of September 2015, I boarded a flight from Barcelona that took me half-way across the globe to Peru, where this adventure began.
In truth, the trip began on the 26th, the day I left Ireland to Barcelona. But while I was in Barcelona, it didn’t seem quite real, the reality of my actions and decisions had yet to occur to me fully. I was still close to home, I was still with close friends; it wasn’t until we boarded that plane that brought to a new continent and (for me) and entirely new world, that I realised the extent of my undertakings.
Much has happened since then. I have spent three months in Peru, where I came to know her cities, her named and unnamed ruins, her people, and especially her wild jungles. There is a part of me, I suppose the animal part who wants no part of technology or society, that still wants nothing more than to spend the rest of my day in those lush green forests; drinking from the rivers and eating from the trees.
Another three months in Venezuela marked six months away. I saw first-hand the troubles that this astounding country and her beautiful have had to suffer, and it makes me truly sad to see, and to think of what could be. Despite this, there is always laughter and dancing, and every moment I spent there, from city of El Tigre to the gorgeous island of Margarita, I always felt welcome and at home. I got engaged while in Venezuela, the memory of sliding that ring onto her finger will never leave me, and I will treasure the memory of her smile and all the smiles to come.
Through Bogota, the capital of Colombia and a city of endless storms, and Ecuador, where I stood on the equatorial line and laughed at the absurdity of it all.
I sit now in a modest apartment in Santiago de Chile, with a balcony overlooking the distant Andes, no longer snowcapped in the rising spring heat. I think with wonder, and sometimes apprehension, at what my future may hold. This past year has been, in comparison to my docile life in Ireland, incredible. Adventures; full of joy and laughter and happiness, of relief and exhaustion, of panic and fear, just as all true adventures should.
So, one year away from home. One year on the road, learning cultures, people, and languages. Yes, I have missed my family, I have missed my friends, I have missed the food and the culture and the craic.
But it has been worth it.
I know now that this lust for travel has infected my soul, and even now, while I sit here using the free time that I have between teaching English to businessmen, I plan and wonder about the adventures that may yet come.
-The Wandering Irishman