I actually wrote about 5 different farewells to Latin America. Some of which were supposed to be humourous, others serious and some just to let my emotions fly free. I was just planning on posting the one, and then adding a different one to my newsletter. However, after having just put together the newsletter, which you can subscribe to in the sidebar of this page, I decided I might as well post this one too. Tomorrow I will be posting another article from the Galapagos Islands, which will likely be the last of that series for now. I hope you enjoy this article and that you’re beginning to get a little bit excited for the holidays.
Leaving Latin America
I look out through the tiny air plane window which seems to suffocate my emotion. I love this land, its people, and the cultures to which they abide by. But it’s time for us to take a break I think.
Sometimes a destination becomes more than a simple place on a map or a name in a story. In special situations a location can even become more like a home away from home, an escape. But on the most rare of occasions a place becomes even more than that; it becomes a very piece of the fabric of who we are as people. Latin America has become that to me.
The plane’s pull tugs us through a thin spread of whipped cream clouds. Through the window I watch as my loved land disappears from my eye’s range as we submarine through the white mist.
“It’s gone” I think to myself as I turn my attention away from the upside down world I see outside the window.
My attention turns to the tiny television screen on back of the seat in front of me. A cartoon map shows me that our flight has crossed from land to water, we are now officially off the continent that has been my home for the past two and a half years. My spine turns to mush and my emotions begin to show through the wetness of my eyes which I hide from fellow passengers.
I never felt sad when I left North America, my native home so many years ago. I’ve never felt sad to leave anywhere really. Departing has always meant the start of a new journey for me. And although that is again the case today, my shaking hand can’t help but wonder if I’ll ever be back. I have experienced everything I dreamed of experiencing in South America and much more beyond the capacity of my imagination. But now that I have seen it all, what is there left to draw me back? My family is in North America, I know that I will always have them to force me back home. But South America, for all it has been to me, well, maybe our time together has run its course. Like asking for a break from a relationship, part of me wonders if this is actually the end.
I begin to wonder what this means to me as a person in general, as a traveller. If it weren’t for my family would my feet ever allow me to stop moving? It seems like wherever I am my heart is drawing me elsewhere. Am I missing out on the moments I live in because I am constantly dreaming of my next adventure? Am I really letting life pass me by? Or am I living it to the fullest as so love to claim to be doing?
Perhaps, like the end of any relationship, it is natural to feel regret regardless of whether leaving it was the right thing to do or not.. It is natural to feel guilty. Travelling is a beautiful thing, so beautiful in fact that those of use who have the opportunity to do it for a living often feel guilty for indulging in our pleasures, but should we?
Latin America, you have been good to me, and I like to think that I have been good to you as well. But I think I have gotten from you what I came seeking, and I can’t stay with you without beginning to resent you for holding me back from discovering new worlds, new people, and new ideas. You will be missed, you’ll never be forgotten, and I will never stop being grateful for what you gave me over the years.