The Crossing of the Return Threshold

by Ekua on December 15, 2009 in Bolivia

August 20, 2009

You travel seeking to fulfill a desire to see and experience a place, but you inevitably end up leaving wanting more. Each trip that uncovers a little piece of the world signals that there is much more left to seek out on this miraculous Earth. The vicious cycle of wanderlust.

At the airport, the scene of Bolivian elite and tacky tourist groups made it sink in that I was about to enter to another world. The haphazardness of the check-in and airport security process reminded me that I was still in Bolivia. The slow transition continued in Miami. Technically, I was back on home soil, but that airport always feels like the perfect halfway point between Latin America and the United States. In SFO, I re-entered the calm, organized world I’d been easing into.

I never want my trips to end. And it was the same with this one. But there was something different. An intense satisfaction that distracted me from thoughts of other places left to uncover. I’d done it. My first big solo trip. As I stepped off the plane, I felt the joy of accomplishment pumping through my veins and energizing me for my return home. Months later, I still smile to myself when I think about it.

Bolivia is a stubborn country that refuses to be anything but itself. At times it is infuriating, at other times it is endearing. Every city I visited was completely different from the next. But in each place, I felt a sense of “this is Bolivia.”

I love refusal to give into the status quo. I love a challenge. I love unique beauty. I love a sense of humor. These are some of Bolivia’s qualities that made me fall for it in the end.  “[Bolivia] is beautiful, [Bolivia] is a stuggle. [Bolivia] is a beautiful struggle.”


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

talesfromtwocities December 16, 2009 at 6:01 am

Nicely put! How long were you away?


Ekua December 16, 2009 at 6:08 pm

Thanks Kirsten! I was in South America for about four weeks. One week in Peru and about three in Bolivia.


Stacie December 16, 2009 at 8:53 pm

I know this is why we stay for 2 months or longer…the more you see, the more you want!


Ekua December 20, 2009 at 4:40 pm

I wish I’d had the time to stay that long!


mary richardson December 16, 2009 at 11:29 pm

I always want to see more and more… I’m excited that I have so many chances to travel around Asia now, but I’m sad that it’s for short times usually. I like to stay put in one place and get to know it real well. Where’s your next adventure, Ekua?


Ekua December 20, 2009 at 4:42 pm

Not quite sure where my next big adventure will be. I typically don’t plan my trips far in advance. I have a few ideas in my head, but time will tell 😉


fly girl December 19, 2009 at 9:57 am

A very fascinating take. Bolivia sounds like much of South America, very proud of its culture and uninterested in adapting to Western standards. I like that about the region. I agree about Miami airport, I’m always there and still always feel unsettled.


laurenquinn December 21, 2009 at 9:34 am

Nice. Love how you capture that bittersweet joy of coming home.


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