I had been doing some reflections over the past few days, ‘what is an adventure?’ As I write this blog (2021), I’m on a bus. Taking this bus trip is an adventure even I’m in my hometown. I rarely take buses but today, I have to go to a place that can only be accessed by bus (or cars). This is an adventure for me.
I had been looking for adventures out there when I was travelling. That’s why I wanted to become a long-term backpacker. What I didn’t realise was adventures existed anywhere and anytime even in your hometown. When I was travelling in Ecuador, I got a WhatsApp message from my friend asking me how I was doing. We chatted for a while. She expressed that she envied me and I told her I envied her too. She had two kids and a happy family. Then she said, ‘yes, I guess that’s an adventure for me too. I never know what they are going to do next.’ 😄
It sounds like adventures have a lot to do with uncertainties. Maybe I like dealing with uncertainties then.
One thing about backpacking is you don’t know what will happen next. The only thing you know is the person who is travelling with you now may go separate ways tomorrow. And that happens very quickly, usually within a few days. So, we treasure every encounter and every single moment we spend with each other. This kind of short-term relationship helps us realise how precious time is and how precious the others are to us. (Some people find their soul mates on the road and get married but that’s another story. Most of us continue to travel solo.)
The entire thing about backpacking is like a dream or a happy marriage. But it doesn’t mean we don’t encounter any bad moments. As travellers, we are the easy target. Being ripped off is the most common one. Yes, it does feel like a dream. You have nightmares sometimes. It does sound like a marriage. You go through ups and downs.
What’s reality and what’s a dream?
Maybe when we reach the end of our lives, we will know the answer.
I still had (and have) a lot to do.
So, I chose not to do ziplining. 😄 (but I chose paragliding as a hobby. I know it sounds weird 😄).
I wasn’t sure about the gear that they used so while the others were enjoying it, I just watched. The other reason was my budget. I still didn’t have time to sort out my credit cards yet. They did ziplining for half a day. While I was watching, I met some other travellers. One Japanese girl was so amazing. She posed and hung herself upside down while she did that (hands free of course). She had a very good physique and she looked very confident. Somehow, we were put in the same car after everyone finished ziplining and we had a chat. We even exchanged our contact. She shared with me her travel stories in different countries and a bit of her personal stories. I loved listening to all of them. I also met another Dutch girl from another tour group. When I knew that, I pointed at the Dutch travellers from my group who were chatting in the distance. I was about to say something but she went ‘sh’. Then she said, ‘I know but I don’t want to talk to them. I am here to meet other people from other countries.’ I totally agreed.
Travellers can take a train to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu, but we walked instead. We even walked on the railway lines. As we walked, our tour guide continued to explain to us the plants grown in the jungle. One of the interesting things that I jotted down was that morning glory grew in an environment with humidity between 50%-70%. That means, next time, when I see morning glory (provided that I can identify it), I can immediately tell the humidity of that place. I love nature.
Aguas Calientes was nothing like I expected. It was very touristy and very westernized. It felt like Queenstown in New Zealand or Reykjavik in Iceland but probably even smaller. There were pubs almost everywhere and live music could be found anywhere.
Today would be our last time to have lunch and dinner together. Tomorrow, we would wake up early in the morning and head to Machu Picchu.
Stay tuned. 🙂
4 December 2012
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