Today, on the bus back to Sevilla from Cadiz, I suddenly thought about terminating the trip by going back to Taiwan.
But in fact, during the past week, I’ve been mentally geared towards heading to Quito to commence my Latin American journey. I just haven’t bought the flight ticket.
And of course I have to decide soon.
Today on that bus I couldn’t sleep, not only because of the blazing sun, but also because I kept thinking about what I need to prepare for all the things for the South American trip:
- It’s better I take the night bus on Sunday so I can arrive in Madrid early on Monday. This way I can fetch the passport right away instead of waiting until Tuesday. After all Wednesday is Double Tenth Day, a national holiday of Taiwan’s, and if I don’t fly to Quito this Wednesday or Thursday I have to wait until next week.
- I have to book a hostel in Madrid.
- I have to buy the flight ticket.
- I have to make sure that I do the laundry.
But then I started to go through the journey to come. Roughly it’ll be:
- Two weeks in Ecuador;
- Two weeks (a bit less in fact) in part of Peru;
- 90 days for Chile and Argentina;
- Mexico (and, of a lesser likelihood, Guatemala).
Indeed, I have the couple of Limeño friends, V’s mother in Santiago, Chile, and a friend in Mexico. But I also realized that I won’t likely get many couches. And this is not pessimism talking. Most of the destination in Ecuador and, even more so, in Chile and Argentina, will be strongly tourist-oriented. I think they’ll just be like lots of places in Croatia, where it is not easy to get a couch. And I want couches.
I want couches because I want human contacts. Without couches I feel like a mere tourist, and I no longer want to travel like a tourist. I’ve been doing so for a large part of the time during the past 50 days, and I know how I feel.
Of course, there’re pros and cons. I always do pros and cons quickly, efficiently, thoroughly, and much to the point. So, about going back to Taiwan, it’s because
- I no longer want to travel without couches. Human contacts are important. (And I’m not someone who doesn’t try.) I want to really get to know something about locals.
- After months of traveling, laws of diminishing returns have shown pretty much.
- Without enough human contacts, I need to have at least enough “wow moments” at a high frequency. That can’t always happen. Shoestring-style traveling takes a lot of patience and physical suffering, of course.
- During one of the three-to-five-week backpacking trips in the past, I tend to like to be reasonably of a completist. But now things that don’t wow me enough simply aren’t enough; at times they even irritate.
- Various costs are rising due to much closer departures now. For instance LAN’s Lima – Cuzco round-trip flight has gone from 180 USD to 440.
- In any case traveling feels like burning money. Of course I knew that, but witnessing it can be daunting.
- I’ve never been that crazy about South America. Yeah, I want to be “wow”-ed by stunning natural views, but mostly I’m the cultured type focusing on music, arts and architecture.
- Shit is bound to happen at some point — I mean, again. (I did got deported, lost my wallet and camera. Will I be able to survive yet another round of attack by… shit?
But to return, that means
- I am likely never to see South America.
- (Although, does that matter? And maybe when I do get to do so, I’ll be better prepared.)
- Two days after returning I’ll soon have to cope with a thousand unpleasant things in Taiwan. (Of course, postponing that for four to five months doesn’t make any difference.)
- There’ll be a “what if” that recurs in my mind from time to time.
What if I hanged on longer? What would I have seen and experienced? (And yet is it worth undergoing more months of traveling or whatever one calls it?)