When you’re gearing up for a big trip, people want to know why. Especially if you’re a girl travelling alone in South America for four months. The assumption is that you are mending a broken heart, or you are “lost” and trying to “find yourself”. In my case, neither of these reasons quite apply.
As a late-twenty-something girl who spent the past eleven months sleeping in her childhood single bed at her parent’s house (teddy bear bedding included), and working three jobs to pay off student loans (in this never-ending, bone-chiller of a winter, no less), this is more a case of I-need-some-adventure-or-else-I’ll-Sylvia-Plath-myself. The idea is to get away, somewhere warm, with no plans and plenty of options. Which brings me to my current location, aboard Copa Airline’s flight to Panama City. I’m heading to the cobble stoned streets of Quito, Ecuador, where my four month adventure will begin. While my trip is largely unplanned, my aim is to be sipping a caipirinha on Rio’s Ipanema beach, in time for the beginning of the World Cup, sometime mid-June. As I sit here, my face to the sun beating on my passenger window (a sensation I haven’t felt, it seems, in nearly seven months), I can’t help but feel ripples of excitement and anticipation. And if I can come out of this experience without malaria or yellow fever (because I neglected to be immunized… let’s not talk about it), I should have my pulse back in time to get back to the daily grind.