Some of the Best Parts of Travelling – The People
I have to say, the last 4 weeks travelling have been some of the best. Colombia and Ecuador combined, it really has got me back into that backpacker feel of things. I’ll be honest, Brazil, Guyana and Venezuela, never really got me into it. That kind of feeling. Which all backpackers know. The daily buzz and sense of freedom. The constant laughs. The constant energy from meeting someone knew. The feeling good about yourself, your adventures and what you are doing next. Brazil was too big, no real vibe. The World Cup was awesome for what it was, but for a backpacker, well that wasn’t backpacking. Guyana was and is off the beaten track, an amazing experience for what it was. Something knew and very un touristic. Venezuela was amazing for what I saw, but a challenge given its well documented problems at the moment.
I think it began when I went to meet my buddy Leighton, from NZ. He was part of a real hedonistic, happy group and by far the best group of backpackers I’ve ever been apart of. Not in South America though, back in Thailand and SE Asia. I made the effort to meet him. Already conquering the North of Colombia, I was in Bogota, far South. I flew back up to see him, to reunite and to tackle the Lost City Trek. An automatic buzz immediately came. It was strange because I never would of thought that it would have been like that. I was laughing like I was randomly and uncontrollably. Sharing stories and reminiscing of times in Asia, our lifes since then and our plans going forward. We get on well, and really wanted to travel with him. After our hike, a few heavy nights out in Santa Marta, our reunion was complete and we had to go our separate ways. But things were in motion. It was awesome to reunite, to know someone you have travelled with before, to feel comfortable yet have that new feeling again seeing though the last time we saw each other was 18 months ago. New and old energies combining.
So I arrive in Quito, Ecuador. I meet up with another reunitee, Nico, whom I had spent time in India and Thailand with, back in Asia also. That first night we went out, man there was so much life the whole time. That very Saturday night, my only night out in Quito, that energy of ‘Asia’ came back. It was through our veins and raring to go. It helped there was a big group of backpackers with us. People on the same trail, Colombia south to Ecuador. I had travelled and known a few of them in Colombia also. I mean, nothing in particular happened eventul that night, just backpackers exploring a new city, getting to know each other, and some again, drinking, enjoying our freedom. But that night, It was Asia again.
Just a thought on Asia. The difference there I’m starting to realise like no other is, it’s insanely sociable. Asia is very much about the ‘life’. It’s most peoples first time backpacking. It’s new, exciting and the place is extremely odd compared to most of our cultures. The place is humble, beautiful and welcoming. This creates the energy that presents itself in backpackers being sociable in every form you can think off. Imagine it, so many backpackers all happy, wanting to explore, adventurous, confident and generally have money in their pocket. It turns into a big happy hedonistic paradise but with the rough and challenging parts to keep you on your toes.
Coming to Montanita, Ecuador, again with Nico introducing me and showing me the ropes. It reminds me of an Asia. The mini streets beside a beach, the alcoholic street stalls, the constant parties, the amount of backpackers. It brings people together. I never thought how much partying brings backpackers so together, PRIOR to my travels 2+ years ago, but I tell you, if you haven’t backpacked, alcohol is the biggest social tool on this earth, and boy is it used when you travel. In Montanita, the last week, has been a real adventourous group of backpackers getting together. You name the country, we have that nationality here. It’s felt like backpacking again, we are all alone here, but we are as one, for a short time, knowing that, all together in this place, we will never be here again. So what do you do? You take advantage of such a feeling, an opportunity. You enjoy the people, embrace it and party.
I’ve done more activities in the last 4 – 6 weeks than I would ever thought. And thats great. But the people are half of travelling. They make it. And when you reunite like I have, with Leighton, with Nico, you meet new travellers you get on with, well, these are the memories that last forever.