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Where have I been?

It has been six months since I was trekking through South America, and as much as I wish this blog came out sooner, life has changed so much in the last six months that a part of me feels this delay was intentional. Sometimes life is so fast paced that you lose the ability to slow down and reflect on exactly what is going on. It is no secret that I am happiest when I am traveling, but I have come to realize that my life needs balance and consistency. I can't navigate life 11 months out of the year with one big trip being the payoff. This blog was always meant to engage, educate, and entertain and I don't think that it has to be exclusive to food, wine, and traveling. If you are reading this I want to make sure a couple things resonate with you: - Life is way more then that next thing you are working towards or looking forward to

- Don't be afraid of change and challenge

- Appreciate the highs life has to offer, but also realize that growth comes from the lows


Since you last heard from me I was leaving Peru (having already visited Columbia) and on my way to Bolivia. Since then, I have been to Chile, Argentina, Singapore, Austria, Slovakia, and Czech Republic. 3 continents, over 3 months, and 9 countries. Life was moving at such a fast pace and I think I needed some time after everything settled down to digest and appreciate what I was able to see and do. Here is where my head ended up:


- My job was responsible for me getting to visit Singapore and Europe and I think that is one thing I never want to lose sight of. I have a job that allows and enables me to do one of my favorite things in the world, travel. I am really grateful for this.


- I got to spend two weeks traveling through Europe with my sister, and it might be one of my favorite trips I have ever been on.


- I admire that each time I travel the experience is so different, and I truthfully think this has contributed to my growth as an adult.


- No matter how fast life might be moving, you always have enough time to stop and reflect on who you are and what got you here.


The last six months of my life have been so necessary and insightful and I can't wait to share them with you.


Bolivia:

It is Saturday, September 10th and I took an early morning flight from Lima, Peru to La Paz, Bolivia. I am running off of 3 hours of sleep and have 5 hours to kill before I can check into my hotel, so I found a nice little breakfast spot.


I am going to be in Bolivia for 7 days visiting 4 different cities: La Paz, Sucre, Potosi, and Uyuni. My expectations for this country are non-existent but there has to be a reason why this country takes up almost half of my tour itinerary over the next two weeks, right?


La Paz is the capital city of Bolivia and it sits almost 12,000 feet above sea level making walking and breathing a much harder task than it should be. The roads are steep, air is thick, and the foot traffic is heavy. One step outside and you are immediately engulfed in the Bolivian culture. Local street vendors take up the outer perimeter of the streets and are packed tight one after the other selling fresh fruit, clothes, bags, accessories, and anything else you can think of.











Superficially, the city might not give you the "wow" factor you are looking for when visiting a foreign country as the downtown area is populous, buildings are one dimensional in both shape and color, and the cobble stone roads make walking that much more of an adventure. The city itself is quite fast-paced and might initially come off as overwhelming and intimidating. Combine the fast-paced nature of the city with the side effects (light headed, shortness of breath, headache, nauseous) of high elevation and you might be ready to hop right back on the plane you just got off of. Have I done a good job of selling you on why you should visit Bolivia? Just like the city, give me time and I will change your mind.


This brings about a potentially controversial yet fundamental question, what is vacation?

- Something that is fun, relaxing, and stress free?

- Adventure, discomfort, and challenge?

- Something in between?

- All of the above?


I will always encourage travel (especially as a means of vacation) and I a firm believer that travel should be whatever you want it to be; however, what if there are certain parts of the world that require a bit of uncomfortability to be appreciated? I had a constant headache 3 of the 7 days I was in Bolivia, spent one night on an overnight bus, spent 13 hours trekking through the mountainous desert in an off-road vehicle, went rock climbing, and spent two long uncomfortable nights in the freezing cold.


All of it for views like this:















So what is vacation? - My answer would be. I think there are certain aspects of the world that require adventure and discomfort to appreciate, and I think Bolivia would qualify as one of those places. The fascinating thing to me is that the views and pictures above are all from the same country, but you wouldn't know it unless you were willing to spend 3 days traveling through the dessert. My previous blogs have tended to be a good balance of pictures and words, but I felt like the diversity and uniqueness of Bolivia was better articulated through pictures. The next blog will cover Chile and Argentina and I really hope it doesn't take another six months to write. Cheers,

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