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.”
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