Je bekijkt de reis...
Reisverslag Back in Groningen
15 oktober 2014
Back in Groningen
So what I set out to do was going on a trip, on my own, to meet my friend in Santiago, see penguins, desert, either the Bolivian or Chilean salt flats, perhaps lake Titicaca, Cuzco (and probably Machu Picchu) and visiting the Amazon. The focus would be on meeting locals and trying to understand why they live the way they do.
At first I had to get used to the macho culture and how people like to live on the streets. Spanish skills appeared to be essential and I started trying out all my words within days of arrival. Every day more words were added and communication became easier. By the time I was at the organic farm I could have acceptable conversations about whatever topic that would come up. Past and future tenses became active around Pucallpa.
While still getting comfortable in the environment and speaking mostly English, I met other English speakers through CouchSurfing and hostels. I figured out that I could go to Argentina pretty easily and that I’d just go back to Chile to make my way up north. In Chile visiting the penguins turned out to be harmful for the penguin habitat so I saved that for some other trip, somewhere else. Going a bit further up north there was the Atacama Desert, the trip to the salt flats in Bolivia, the friendly potato eaters of La Paz, Lake Titicaca and Machu Picchu.
After those few weeks with a decent amount of touristy stuff I wanted to see more of the normal life and decided to actively put effort into my Spanish skills and dive in. Volunteering at the farm, walking around cities on my own, being on that banana boat on the Amazon river and exploring new towns with personal guides /new friends was a welcome change. I got a lot of new insights and really enjoyed myself. As one of the last things, learning survival skills in the Pacaya-Samiria reserve was one of the most amazing things I did during this trip. Leaving Iquitos behind was one of the hardest things to do, but in the end I did decide to go back to the Netherlands.
Now that I’m here I notice that I had to get used to a few things again. One is all the rules and strictness around these parts. Of course I know there are advantages of such a way of life, too, but for now a little bit less strict seems just fine. Other thing is the few people on the streets, no street food and no masses of people speaking Spanish. People expect me to speak other languages, do other things, behave differently than in South America and I’ll want to find my way in this society again.
To fit in it may be good to see what I do or do not want to keep from my trip. What habits in particular. Some things I can do without is the meat based diet, the little trust that people have or want to earn and the way some people see Westerners as money trees. Being there made me look forward to walking around the streets carelessly, being able to trust random people (to a certain extend) and cooking my own food again.
Some things were very nice though. Especially the simplicity of life felt good. Apparently people don’t need all that much to have a happy and fulfilling life and it was appealing to me, too. Still, some admirable yet normal working people in the Netherlands manage to keep a certain simplicity in their lives. It’s doable in the Western world too. It’s something I want to try and find a balance in: some ambition but also peace of mind.
Another thing that was nice in South America were the different environments. They made me see things of the world and of myself that I had not seen before. It was interesting. Now that I’m back home my environment might not change so much within such short time spans, but in a way I can get myself to different places. Some may be physical, some might not be. Either way, I’m curious what the future may bring and eager to find my way.
As this was my last blog, I’d like to thank everyone again for the fun, support and messages you’ve shared during my trip. It was a pleasure writing for you. And who knows, maybe someday there will be another trip to report about. ;)
PS. Last week I attended my diploma ceremony (one of the things I came back for). Right now I’m signing a contract for a temporary room in Groningen and am in contact with interesting companies for work. Things are moving along very nicely. :)
Foto's bij verslag (4)
17 oktober 2014 15:42 | Door: Els
It is good to have you back! :-)
22 oktober 2014 21:53 | Door: Zus
Jeeeej je bent nu éçht terug! Bedankt voor de fijne blogs zus!