Sunday, 6 May 2012

We Get By with a Little Help from our Friends

You know, we say that we have been backpacking for over four months now, but that’s a lie.

We were backpacking for the first two months, yes, but these past nine weeks have been so ridiculously easy that I can’t honestly call it backpacking. Backpacking shouldn’t feel like vacation. You aren’t here to read about beautiful ocean views and local wines and gourmet meals; you’re here to read about crazy shit we see, eat, smell, and hear- and the stomach problems and discomfort that go with it. No one reads a travel blog to be told that everything’s just wonderful and perfect. Wonderful is boring.

Diarrhea and dead seals on the other hand: blog post gold.

Let’s recap the past two months of “backpacking.” First, it was volunteering, which was like a mix of work and visiting a favorite aunt, and during which we had our own living space and didn’t even touch our backpacks. Then, after a brief one-week stint drinking wine and hiking, we got to spend a weekend visiting Devin, an old high-school buddy of mine from Columbia, who lives in an incredible house in the mountains above Santiago. Seriously, the dude has a lemon and orange orchard in his yard. His front deck is shaded by climbing grape vines. It’s like the Garden of freaking Eden up there.We barely even ventured into Santiago, which seemed like a really cool city the few hours we were there, because we were just so happy and at home where we were.

To top it off, Devin rivaled Rosie as the world’s most gracious host, only our job at his home was barbequing and drinking wine on his porch all weekend. It was hard work, but we’re tough. From Devin’s house, we went to Horcon, which, as you know, felt like a luxury vacation instead of hardcore budget travel and then, get this, we went back to Devin’s!

Backpacking is so hard, you guys.

If you read my last post (and if you didn’t, why the hell not?), you know that we then went to Easter Island, which was so awesome I don’t even know what to do with myself, and then, because we hadn’t had enough of him, we went back to Santiago and saw Devin again!

Yeah, I know, we’re creepy.

But this time, it wasn’t just Devin’s company we got to enjoy, we also had the wonderful last-minute surprise of getting to meet up with Willemijn and Roeland, our good friends from Switzerland who are actually Dutch. Confused yet?

Willie and Roeland are also doing an around the world trip and started around the same time as us, only going the other direction. So while we were in South America getting ready to fly to New Zealand, they were in New Zealand coming over to South America. Because South America is kinda a big place, we had accepted that we probably wouldn’t be in the same place at the same time, but an airport change to their itinerary put them in Santiago the day before we flew out!

During that day and a half, we were too busy catching up, sharing travel stories and marveling at how we were actually all together in South America to take any pictures, so just imagine the four of us, lots of beers and laughter, and an inhumane amount of ceviche.

We were so sad to say good-bye to each other after only 36 hours together, but it was amazing to be able to share our experience with good friends who were going through the exact same thing. We had all talked so much before the trips- planning itineraries, sharing ideas, comparing super-cool technical gear- that it just felt bizarre to be together again, talking about our trips in the present tense, instead of the future.  It also made us realize that the next time we all see each other, our respective travels will be over, and we’ll only be talking in the past tense.

Needless to say, I was in tears when we said good-bye.

Now, you might be thinking, “Hey, those guys are really lucky to have cool, international friends who they can meet up with during their trip.” And you’d be right. 

But you don’t know the half of it (or I guess the one-third of it, but that sounds lame and I hate math): one of my best friends (I have two best friends- I know, I’m a third-grader) is meeting us in New Zealand tomorrow!

Keeping up with the trend of our friends being fascinating, cosmopolitan world-travelers, my friend Ashley is tacking a week’s vacation onto her current work trip in Sydney (she's working at Sydney's Fashion Week- how glamorous is that?) and is flying to meet us in Auckland for six days. Considering V and I have just spent the last week living on top of each other in a tiny camper van, I for one am really looking forward to hanging out with Ashley.

So as if our travels haven't been ridiculously easy and comfortable as it is, we have also been able to enjoy several big pieces of home even while on the road these past two months. 

And that wasn’t a reference to the Swiss chocolate my sister-in-law Elodie sent us, although that was almost as comforting as seeing our friends. Sorry guys.

No comments:

Post a Comment