January 7th was the 150th day of The Happy Nomad Tour. I spent the day on buses, first going 6 hours from Merida, Venezuela to San Cristobal, Venezuela. Then I spent 1.5 hours going to the border town of San Antonio, crossing the border, and then 15 minutes to Cucuta, Colombia.
But as excited as I was to return to Colombia and the great things I have lined up there for the coming month, it was very bittersweet. My heart was in Peru all day as one of my best friends from my MBA got married.
Initially I had planned to go no matter what, figuring I could spend a few hundred Dollars on flights or more likely using frequent flier miles to fly for free.
As it turned out, flights in Central/South America are crazily expensive and I couldn’t find any free flights using The Star Alliance or The One World Alliance.
Once I got to Mexico, I started thinking a lot about how I used to live, how I want to live, etc. I’m a very giving person and I felt like going to the wedding would be another example of me giving way too much. It’s a long story, but this made sense for a while.
But then about a week before the wedding, one morning in Caracas I woke up at 4am with a burning desire to go to Peru. And I realized the desire was rooted within me – wanting to go for me and not due to external or self-imposed obligations.
Of course, I wanted to go to celebrate my friend’s relationship and congratulate her. But I have lots of other friends in Peru and other friends who made the trip to Peru for the wedding. It would have been a wonderful reunion.
Despite the high cost, I know I would have had an amazing time there being around so many wonderful people I’ve been fortunate to meet on this journey called life. But at the same time, the cost of going there would probably be roughly equal to 2-4 months of Happy Nomad Touring.
I already don’t like the idea of valuing things, but this was a bit of an internal crisis for me. An amazing weekend in a place I’ll get to on The Happy Nomad Tour organically in a couple of months vs. all the experiences and volunteering I’d get to do in 2-4 months that money could offer me on The Happy Nomad Tour.
As my savings are still healthy (though I haven’t signed into my online banking in a solid four months), this may not be an either-or proposition. Maybe my 2012 goal to become financially sustainable will come to fruition and I could have gone without feeling much pain at all.
But in the end, another close friend is getting married in India in February. So this “issue” isn’t going away any time soon.
While on the bus, the song below came on my iPod’s playlist. I listened to it a lot on the boat going from Panama to Colombia as it’s a very positive song, I think I’m living “the good life” as I’m happier than I’ve ever been, and I associated it with my friend. I most strongly associate with Peru in South America since I lived with four Peruvians in Madrid and developed some wonderful friendships with many Peruvians. But this song starts off talking about London, where this friend, who is Peruvian, currently lives!
The fact that the song came on my ipod’s playlist isn’t terribly remarkable as it’s a shuffle and I only have about 50 songs on it, the rest podcasts. But when I turned on my computer on the bus to start writing this post, I opened up my computer’s playlist that has over 5000 songs and this song played randomly again…
Anyway, it almost brought me to tears the second time. I never thought of asking myself “what are you doing” because I know what I’m doing. I have a purpose and I’ve never been happier. But I guess this post is just to show that there are tradeoffs in life, that I’m only human and have bad/sad days too, and that although this life is perfect for me it has its drawbacks as well.
Had I still been living/working in Denmark, I would have attended the wedding without thinking. I would have gone home for Christmas and then flew down to Peru for the wedding and then back to Denmark. I don’t wish I had my old life so that I could have done that. The past 150 days have been amazing and precious beyond words. I’m just demonstrating that even when you “take the plunge” you’ll run into suboptimal situations and, possibly, even times when you miss your old, unsatisfying life.
In this case, I know my friend understands where I’m coming from. It’s a shame I won’t get to spend time with some of the awesome people in my life, but I have seen or will see all but one of them in the past/coming year as it is.
Anyway, as I said, I’m excited to get back to Colombia. I’ll spend this weekend with the brother and father of a friend of mine from business school. How cool is that? Again, a reminder of the thousands of other awesome people in my life. Still, for today only, I wish my body could be in Peru since my heart is already there.