This is a guest post by one of my closest friends for my section “Travelers’ Tales”, that once again supports my belief that great things never came from comfort zones and everything happens the way it’s supposed to happen.
By the end of 2015, I travelled to South America. I have been to some Latin American countries before, and this time it was going to be Chile and Bolivia.
I think, I don’t have to emphasize how excited I was to spend 5 weeks over there. Of course I had read some stuff before about these two countries so I had some expectations, mostly about how beautiful the landscape is going to be. So I flew over to Santiago in middle of December, excited to go on a new adventure, meet new people, learn new things and just enjoy the gift of travelling.
After spending some time in the beautiful coastal cities of Viña and Valparaiso, I decided to go up North, and finally dive into the famous surroundings of San Pedro de Atacama: The Atacama Desert. It is the driest desert in the world (with exception of the polar deserts) and covers over 100.000 square kilometres – you can imagine the special quality of this place. Everywhere you go it makes you realize how beautiful our planet is and you automatically see and feel everything more deeply. Deep canyons, salty lagoons with hundreds of flamingos or fizzy geysers – all that and more can be found in this astonishing landmark in northern Chile.
After spending a week or so up there, I decided to go on a trip through the high plateau of Bolivia with its final stop at the famous Salar de Uyuni. Since you need a 4WD to pass the unknown areas, I decided to book a 4 day tour (There is a vast variety of agencies you can choose from in San Pedro de Atacama!). On January 1st we started as a group of 6 people. Some of us did not know each other and that is the beauty of traveling- meeting new people from different countries and exchanging opinions.
Also, like maybe some of you, I always wished, that maybe one day (hopefully while traveling), I will meet the one person I am supposed to be with and we will both know immediately. Believe it, or not – exactly this happened that day! I will come back to this part of the story later, but for now some details about Bolivia.
We had a crazy trip through high plateaus with hot springs, deserted areas, volcanoes, more lagoons with more flamingos and finally we arrived at that place which had been my dream for years now: the biggest salt lake in the world: Salar de Uyuni.
The Salt crust is 140 meters deep and it is more than 10000 square kilometres big! We were driving for hours, took hundreds of photos, had amazing talks and soaked up unique views. It was a once in a lifetime experience either way, but it was made even more unforgettable by meeting the man of my dreams.
On the 4th day, the group separated and I went to Bolivias capital by myself: La Paz (how beautiful is that name – Peace!!) , which is the highest capital of the world. And I can tell you, with almost 4000 meters altitude it is not easy to explore a city! But it’s definitely worth it! This city, like the whole country of Bolivia, is going through many troubles- economically, socially and political but it is also incredibly beautiful! The people, the markets (food and artesanias) and just the organized chaos of the city are wonderful!
Finally let’s get to the reason, why I actually started writing this: I met the most wonderful man in the middle of nowhere, when I expected it the least, but when I needed it the most. I had no expectations about any of the countries or the people. I went with an open mind and an open heart and got to see how beautiful and unspoiled nature and people can be. I guess, when you work every day and have this routine in your life, sometimes you forget to open your body, hide all your senses and take in how much the world has to offer to you. So, for me, traveling (in being one opportunity to get out of your comfort zone) is the best way to open yourself up again.
If you wander through the world with all your senses wide open you will be able to recognize all the saddening and wonderful creations of our planet, sometimes you will ask yourself if you are doing the right thing or if you are in the right place. Don’t think too much, just enjoy and let the energy of the world flow!
Now, more than ever before, I believe in destiny. Everything happens for a reason, and even after a period of rain, the sun is always going to appear again.
Sometimes the things are right in front of you, but you cannot see/feel/hear them – I was lucky enough to be able to recognize the most important feeling there is – love! So go out there, fall in love, with nature, culture, feelings, adventures, people!!! Don’t be afraid to do something wrong, as long as it feels good for the moment, go for it! But if you go for it, do it full on with all your heart and effort! I promise – you will not be disappointed!