The (New) Idea
The (New) Idea: I struggled with what I wanted to do with my site after my trip was over. I thought about only posting when I would travel, but then the site would be idle for long stretches of time with only intermittent activity. I thought about completely shutting the site down, but I also didn't like that. Things may change. I suppose the site will be more like a journal - only writing when the time is right and that is where I stand at the moment.
Last Update: June 2020
The (Original) Idea: Most things start with an idea. A thought, a word, a sentence, a feeling. Ideas start small. They bounce around in one's brain, ricocheting and resurfacing, looking for a foothold. Often, ideas ricochet until they are no more - forgotten. However, the ideas that do survive only do so because they managed to find a connection. They found a chance. With the possibility of this chance, the idea bunkers down and grows. It presses the back of your skull. It invades your thoughts when you're studying, when you're talking, when you close your eyes. This is how my idea started. There was always something holding my idea back, however. I'd fantasize about it, entertain it, research it - yet never act on it. This is how it went for about half a year.
Until one cold night in Rochester, New York.
On that late cold night in January I found myself booking a flight. To Bogotá, Colombia. It was a one-way ticket and the reality hit me that in a few months, I would be embarking on a multiple month backpacking trip exploring the South American continent. At least that was the plan. The idea. I contacted one of my longtime best friends and, after some time, I convinced him to join me. Two weeks before we set out, our other friend spontaneously joined us as well. Reactions ranged from some of the people I informed of my plans. From pure shock to people telling me I’m crazy, to worried inquiries of “Aren’t you scared?”, and everything in between. In response to these reactions, I would smile lightly and say “It’ll work out”.
As some background, the past few months were a whirlwind of events - finishing up my last year of college, graduating this past May and closing that chapter in my life. I have to say it was a joy to witness my friends and fellow peers take the next steps in their lives - medical school acceptances, jobs in cities all across the world, and continuing education in top-notch graduate programs. I am incredibly proud of all of them. However, as my final year ticked down and as I continued to read and hear of all the next steps I reflected on myself... I couldn’t get rid of the nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach - “What are YOU going to do?”, it said. I was torn with this question and I found myself overwhelmed with high expectations, general unhappiness, and realizing I was worn out from four years of rigorous academic work. My idea had thus found it's turning point.
"It'll work out." The answer I gave to so many was not said in an attempt to end the conversation. I would say it because I believed it. I am not going down south expecting nothing "bad" or "worrisome" or "scary" will happen, on the contrary, I expect that something or many things will happen that I do not anticipate and that I am not prepared for. And that’s okay. What matters is how I react to the situation and persevere through it. That’s not to say that I haven’t been preparing - not at all - I’ve been collecting gear, information, and saving money for months! But I recognize the risks in taking a trip such as this and in response to all the worried looks I get - Bring. It. On.
The idea is to travel to Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Brazil.
Edit on 11/29/18: We traveled to 8/9 countries listed above. Paraguay will be saved for another time.