Trip Start Aug 25, 2005
5Trip End Dec 25, 2005
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So first of all, I apologize for the lack of updates. I've heard several complaints, so here I go with an attempt to catch you up on the past three months of my life...
Life traveling through different countries is so interesting. Each country has defining characteristics and personality. In Peru, I was witnessed the everyday struggle surrounding the oppression of the indigenous and the build up of tourism, the presence of the past if you will. Bolivia was the rise of the middle business class at the same time as a resistance anarchist movement, a country defined by a history of passionate political struggle. Then Chile took me by surprise with extraordinary hospitality and the security of Santiago, an almost American city in the fastest growing economy in South America
The history that overwhelmed me in South America has been replaced with a sense of freedom and liberation. I've found the ability to just live life. I don't know what it is about island life, but it's unlike anything I've ever experienced. Why in America do we constantly stress ourselves out? Why are we so concerned with the rat race to the top of the corporate ladder? We're motivated to "succeed," to achieve the American dream, and it's made us the most powerful nation in the world. But what is the cost? What have we lost along the way? Where does "progress" lead us? We work longer hours, we stress out more often, the divorce rate rises ... what exactly are we progressing towards? I ask these questions now because, for the first time in my life, I'm living in a society with a culture that stands for just being. We, as outsiders, judge them; call them "lazy" dismiss their reality because they live on "island time." But what is real time?
I've learned that you can be successful in life without being unhappy. Success is possible without rushing from one act to the next. It's about the process. My education is not a means to an end. I'm not working hard so I can flaunt in my wealth in twenty years without anything meaningful to show for it
In every travel experience there will always be one adventure that you look back on as your defining moment. It's the story that you share when people say "So, tell me a story about your trip." I had that 'adventure,' for lack of a better word, two weeks ago at the International Surfing Competition. It was the culmination of everything that I've learned and experienced on the island...
The weekend started out normal enough. My friends and I spent Saturday morning at the beach and made the spontaneous decision to catch the bus to Bathsheba (the east side of the island with the better surf) to see the surfing competition. We barely made the bus ride because we had to stop for pizza and beers for the road, but thankfully the bus driver was a Bajan and also on island time.
The bus ride across the island is always interesting. Once the bus hits the road, I know to keep my eyes open because without fail the landscape will take my breath away - lush vegetation, seemingly endless fields of sugar cane, quaint homes along the road, children playing soccer in the street, and the spectacular view of the coast. The waves on the east side, the Atlantic coast, are world famous
We spent the afternoon watching the surfers only to be blown away (and humbled) by their talent. Surfers come to the island from all over the world for the competition - Australia, Hawaii, Florida, North Carolina, California, and Europe to name a few.
For a late lunch, we decided to go to the Roundhouse Inn after the afternoon's surfing competition finished. Needless to say, when I walked in to find all the surfers eating there, I was pleasantly surprised. Because we're obviously American college students (obvious if for no other reason than our drinking habits), they decided to hang out with us. It was awesome to hang out with the surfers I read about in magazines and have pictures of on my wall. But what surprised me the most about the guys, other than their incredible good looks, was their humility. They were, except for two, unbelievably humble and down to earth people.
After spending the evening hanging out with the surfers, we decided to spend the night "homeless" on the beach
Watching the sun rise is one of the most profound scenes that we can witness, yet it's an everyday occurrence. We take for granted the simple beauties in the world. The sunrise means that no matter what happens in our lives, there's always something more. We're not the end all be all of life. There's more to the world than us than humanity, so enjoy and celebrate everything about life. Enjoy the process, every sunrise and sunset.
I hope you all made it through this long update ok. Have a fabulous Thanksgiving and I'm sorry I won't be there to see you all. I miss you so much! I love you.
p.s. Dad, try to make it through Thanksgiving dinner without me. I know it won't be the same without my snide progressive comments. Love you, you crazy economist.