I know what I want travel to look like in the future. After seeing a few gems of South America, the predictability of Europe sounds incredibly dull. Part of what made the places I saw awesome is that I hardly knew anything about them. Seeing them for the first time was genuinely seeing them for the first time, in a way that seeing the Trevi fountain and St. Peter’s Square in Rome weren’t. They made me wonder what other secret natural treasures are scattered around the world, off the beaten European path and off of my newsfeed. I’ve already started researching other places to go in South America and Southeast Asia, and will hopefully do so once I fatten up my bank account like a pig for slaughter.
(Side note: I’d love to travel with cool people who like to roll with the punches and nature. If you qualify, let’s explore Vietnam or Lao or Ecuador or Colombia or Turkey. I’m not kidding. Let’s go.)
Another valuable lesson I learned while traveling was how fun and cost-effective hostels can be. Not only are you paying a fraction of the cost of a hotel (I stayed in several hostels that cost me $8 per night. That’s right, lodging for the price of a burrito), but the people you meet can transform your experience. They inspire you, they broaden your world view and they give you awesome advice you can trust. Sure, you might wake up in the middle of the night to an Irish beefcake yelling “OI. OI. WHAT ARE YOU PLAYIN’ AT, MATE. WHAT ARE YOU PLAYIN’ AT” to a terrified dorm mate (he was sleepwalking) and you might have to clean your own dishes and share outlets, but these things hardly matter in the grand scheme of things.
When I boarded that flight on August 10, I was optimistic and enthusiastic about my time in Argentina. I didn’t know that one of the most trying times of my life was just around the corner, but I also didn’t know how much I would learn, what I would learn or how I would learn it.
I had only a vague understanding of how much beautiful World is out there, ripe and ready for exploration. Any number of factors could have made my experience as a whole better, but I’ve already spent too much time dwelling on the hypothetical rather than accepting the situation for what it was. As previously stated, I’m glad I went abroad and would highly encourage anyone else to do so as well. It’s an enormous risk, but you never know what kind of magic will happen outside of your comfort zone.