Has it been a month already? Amidst a swirl of activity—of sightseeing, volunteering, and the buzz of day-to-day living—the time has flown by and already feels like a dream. After a month in Peru, I find the prospect of leaving bittersweet. There are things that I dearly miss about home. Friends and family notwithstanding, I miss simple things that are hard to find in Peru—2-ply toilet paper, being able to drink water from the tap, toilet seats, consistent water pressure, eating without fear of salmonella and parasites, and of course, decent coffee.
On the other hand, I will miss some things in Peru that are hard to find at home—beautiful landscapes punctuated by the ruins of a masterful empire, imprints of a culture centuries-old, guileless school children who are overjoyed to see you and who regard the world with wonder, excitement, and a refreshing lack of jadedness; and a sense of purpose—that feeling that what you’re doing really does make a difference. Last but not least, I am going to miss my group of fellow volunteers, those fun-loving Aussies who teased me relentlessly for being an American, but who adopted me as an “honorary Australian” anyway. After a month of living, working, and traveling together, they are as fantastic as they were when I first met them. Perhaps more so for having shared such incredible experiences.
In all of my years of traveling, I’ve never felt less ready to leave a place.
Still, all good things must come to an end, so though it is a bittersweet departure, all I can do is be thankful for having had the opportunity to live and work amongst such wonderful people and to do such rewarding work. I thank all of those who made this experience so colorful and rich. And I also thank those of you who have kept up with me and supported me through this experience.
Until my next trip…