Stop a moment...!

Yes, time for to stop a moment and reflect a bit - probably a reality check although there's no shortage of those on a fairly, albeit irritatingly at time, regular basis. I was reading a blogpost from one of the top bloggers, Wandering Earl about him finding people just painting a rosy-tinted picture of travel and living on the road. Having lived an almost constant nomadic life for 16 years now, I think I can comment on a few things that has brought me to where I'm sitting now although I will concentrate on my time in South America so far.

Now it's not something I've done although people do comment I seem to always be having fun. Fun? Yes, I love the work I do and obviously the travelling part of it but those of you that have read some of the extracts from my expedition through West Africa will know it's not always easy - in fact, damn difficult at times and other times, downright nerve-wracking. Would I have it any other way? Nope, I doubt it as I believe memories are made more umm... "memorable" when it involves moments burnt into the memory through stress or strain and/or adrenaline (brought on by whatever situation we're in).

Travelling in the Cordillera Blanca between Huascaran National Park and Vaquería

So, to the present - I'm in Peru again, where I arrived the first time in June 2014. That makes it 15 months in South America! I flew to Brazil from South Africa on a $600 one-way ticket and further to Peru on $47 (bought with airmiles) ticket; I had $500 in my pocket, nothing more. The only thing that was important to me was that I was following my dream of travelling to South America and travelling the continent. So far I've not even come close to travelling the whole continent but I have a 10 ton load of experiences and 1,000's of photos. I've met an incredible amount of people, the lovely (one of whom I fell in love with - more about that later), the ugly, the rich, the poor, the supposedly important/famous and other normal salt-of-the-earth individuals.  Inevitably, I also met the minority of persons whom I wouldn't care to meet again in this life.

Money/work - yes, the things that make travel a bit more possible albeit not necessarily easier. I've been fortunate to get myself into positive and interesting work, at times it was only in return for food and lodging and other times, I managed to earn a little bit more. There were too many days to count where I had absolutely no money...well, I was down to $0.20! Somehow though it always worked out with finding somebody who will pay for photos or some work or a friend/family sends a few dollars online. The latter saved my butt many times and you out there, know who you are - those friends and family ...Thanks! (not sure they always realised how much difference even $2 made!)

The work also had its moments that became super frustrating where you have to decide whether you are simply being exploited or whether you might just be serving a greater cause - a difficult call to make at the best of times, especially when you don't have the means to move on.  Would I have it any different than I've had it so far in South America? Again - Nope! The learning curve has been steep, including the language one, but has been really rewarding and I've built up some local experiences which not many people are privileged to have.

What work have I done? hahaha quite an array - ranging from trekking guide, driver for tours, publishing a magazine and designing brochures, to freelance photographer (festival, sport, nature and surfing) and to help cleaning at a hostel.

So back to living on the road, albeit living your dream and being in places you've dreamt of as a kid - it isn't always moonshine and roses. The roses are there but sometimes it's winter and you'll only encounter the thorns, some scratching and others ripping your skin but remember, no season is permanent and the roses will be blooming again!

Visiting Colombia was that time the roses started blooming again, and did they bloom. Somewhere since childhood this amazing country has been in my dreams for so very long and when I got to the border I was rather nervous of what I'd find - turns out it was miles better than my best expectations! This is a dream that was realised in spectacular fashion as I also fell in love with a lovely Colombiana, Isabel Cristiana, and consequently, not only has the country captured my heart but heart is now completely and totally there. The tourism promotion logo "Colombia es Pasión" is true - I can vouch for that...the people, their music and their love of dancing is just some of the more obvious examples.

So, when the travels suddenly seem very difficult or, you're planning to travel and think it will be easy - just remember, everything comes in seasons of some description - some easier and more pleasant than others!!

Just remember - Live That Dream!


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