Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Tales of crazy adventures...

So I just arrived in Pasto in Southern Colombia and am spending the night here before heading to Ipiales in the morning and then crossing into Ecuador and making our way to Quito for the weekend. While nothing too exciting happened today (other than a crazy unpaved 5 hour busride through the mountains that was unbelievably beautiful), we just came from San Agustin where Mike and I spent the day hiking in the mountains looking at over 100 ancient statues found over 1,000 years ago. We stopped there because the experience is so unique - little to nothing is actually known historically about the civilization that left the statues. One is left to imagine the reasons for the intricate anthropomorphic stone creatures left there!

This, after an amazing time in Northern Colombia for Holy Week, and I'm really getting a well-rounded image of all that Colombia has to offer! In Santa Marta, we were able to make our way north to Parque de Tayrona which has some of the best beaches in all of South America. To be honest, it was the most beautiful place I had ever seen in my entire life! We actually slept in hammocks right on the beach and were surrounded by jungle-filled mountains, amazing palm trees, huge rock formations going out into the water and even some ancient ship wrecks right off-shore! The view was literally right out of the movies! Even a Florida boy like my couldn't help but be impressed, lol.

To top it off, on our second day there we even hiked into the jungle and up the mountain to see ancient ruins from a civilization more than 2,000 years old. I felt like Indiana Jones exploring lost civilizations in the jungles of South America, haha. Then, in Cartegena, we walked the cobble-stone streets of the old city, trecked along the wall surrounding it (built to protect it from invading pirates in the 1700s) and even went 50km west to take a mud bath in a dormant volcano (we even got to wash off in the nearby swamp)!

So yea, I've basically been having the time of my life. This after volunteering and growing as a person more than I ever have. I just feel so alive! I've been talking with Mike every day (who has been to 53 countries!) about the amazing impact travel has. It's so remarkable to me how enlighteing and enriching it is to spend time in other cultures. It's difficult to explain, but having grown up thinking I had most things figured out, it's unbelievably humbling to see the world through other people's perspectives. Especially interesting is being able to compare experiences with other travelers from all over the world. In Santa Marta and Cartegena, we met a couple from Austraila who was backpacking throughout South America and spent two days with them. In San Agustin, we met people from Germany, London and France. It's just so cool to talk about their countries, their view of Colombia and to just compare life stories. It really gives me a fresh and global perspective on existence!

With that said, I'm actually considering wating a year to start law school so I can stay in Colombia several more months and then travel the entire world. I see how much of a difference just this one short trip has made on me as a person and I can't help but imagine what the rest of the world holds! I know it seems crazy, but I realize that once I start law school, I'll never really have the opportunity to travel extensively. I feel as if everyone always wishes they could travel or that they had chosen to. I don't want to wish, I just want to make it happen! I have a rare opportunity that allows me the freedom of an entire year if I want it. And as for law school, it's always there when I'm ready. Besides, the traveling will only make me a more attractive candidate!

Well, that's my opinion at least, haha. Feel free to tell me I'm crazy. In fact, feel free to tell me whatever you think. It'd be interesting to hear everyone's thoughts. Okay, I have to get going. We're leaving early in the morning and need to make it all the way to Quito, so I need a good night's rest. I'm sorry I haven't been able to send many updates. I've been so busy traveling that time and internet are both hard to find. Nonetheless, know that I miss everyone back home and am thinking of you all down here!



Alison McKellar said...

Hi Kevin.... I love your blog, miss you a lot, and completely support your taking another year for Colombia and world travel... I think I've mentioned that once or twice already but I'm so excited to actually get to spend some time with you and Colombia at the same time.
Thanks for all your help with projects in Colombia, for being a great ambassador of Americans to Colombia, and for helping encourage people to take risks and broaden their perspectives.

Anonymous said...

Hey Kev!
Everything you're doing sounds unbelievable! I'm so glad for you. Chris and I think about you all the time and we're really grateful for these highly informative blog entries ;) We miss you big time.
I think it's amazing that you're thinking about taking time to travel more. I want to support you in doing that any way I can. I'm really excited because I got into this program that I didn't think I'd have a chance at called InterFuture. It will allow me to spend two separate but consecutive semesters in two different foreign countries. The goal is to independently create a comprehensive research project by studying a current phenomenon/a abroad. I'm definitely thinking about Colombia. I'm going to get in touch with Alison to talk more about it. I'd also like to check out places in Africa as a possible second location and I know you're planning a trip there too--it would be great to hear more about. Pero, quiero mejorar mi espanol antes de enfocar en otros lugares ... y me encanta Latino America, por supuesto.
One more quick thing. Chris and I have Skype now. We don't use it at all since we don't really have anyone to talk to on it, but we love that it's available. If you ever feel like chatting my skype ID is nadia.kalhori (I'm pretty sure). OK man -- we're thinking of you. Be well.