Ayyy, there’s so much going on around me! If I look back at 2013 or 2014 or wait… maybe it was 2011? Doesn’t really matter, cause most of these years were pretty much the same. For my big escape from the reasonable, organized and mature life I was preparing step by step. For first several years, probably a bit subconsciously, later with raising awareness and increasing excitement I was looking in the direction of the unknown. Finally, Fate, God, and the Stars have listened to my silent cries and unspoken appeals and made this decision easier for me to take a leap into the new world. And since then not even for a second have I regret this step. However, one needs to be said. This thing called Career Break, so a break from previous work, lifestyle and the decision to leave family and friends behind for God knows how long is not for everyone.
My adventure is not always as colorful as the photos that I post on my Facebook wall. It is not always as hot as the salsa and reggaeton songs that appear on my fan page. It’s not always as exciting as the stories that I describe on my blog. Most of the January, I was feeling like the main character of the Korean movie ‘Oldboy’. The guy closed in home prison for years and fed with nothing but dumplings by his torturer. To save my money and keep the budget stable every day I was eating nothing but empanadas, arepas, and carrots (to get some vitamins too). And budget constraints is just one of many drawbacks of leaving the corporate life and full-time job. Still, even if I have to change empanadas to breadcrumbs I will not return to my home country any time soon. The ice cold water under the shower every single day is not a problem for me either. It’s discomfort for a while, but after a month I got used to it and now I take cold showers even when I don’t need to. I knew what I’m was getting into so things like these only get me going even more. But to all those who write to me and say how jealous they are I gotta say that my current adventure is definitely an alternative, but for sure not a paradise. So far it wasn’t necessary to scrub toilets and wash other people underwear, but it’s highly possible that one day I will need to experience the charms of such work as well. Wait! I did wash the underwear some time ago as a part of my volunteering at elderly women house. So, this one is already ‘checked’. I guess what I am trying to say is that if you decide for something at the same time you have to give up on something else. I gave up on a fixed salary, comfortable apartment, full-time job, close contact with my family and friends, and blissfulness of comfortable everyday life. In return, every day I receive the whole range of new experiences. Below, a little more about it.
Travel broadens the mind
I’m thirty-four and I use the phrases straight from teenager’s diary. But what the hell, I really feel that I learn something new every single day. The things that I learn are unfortunately hard to translate to my CV, so after returning home country or my previous business track my Resume will not shine among the other CVs bright like a diamond. Nonetheless, I feel like these are the things that will allow me to live my life better, to appreciate things more and scoop from every day some joy and fun. Speaking of which. This year Colombia has been once again selected the happiest country in the world according to its inhabitants. 87% of respondents identified themselves as happy, and only 2% said that the happiness is missing in their lives. Colombians are able to enjoy the simple things, the family is the most important value for them, and to nonimportant details like a traffic jam, queue, or someone stepping their foot in the bus, they put as much attention as should be put to things of such importance. None. The fact that they enjoy life and value the family does not mean of course that they are the Saints. Far from that. However, despite some, every day sins, and as one Colombian told me, despite salsa dancing on the border between legality and illegality, still at the end of the day with their families they enjoy and appreciate another blissful day. Or at least that’s how I see them after nearly three months of living in this country and trying to get to know as many Colombians as possible.
Travel broadens the mind. You bet it does. Traveling teaches me the lessons every day. Lessons that sometimes I can painfully feel on my own skin. Like last time when I got myself involved in stupid, stupid conflict with the twenty-year-old boy, resulting in me leaving “the Big Brother” house of volunteers two days before New Year’s Eve. Oh, fate’s irony… a week earlier I worked with the homeless, a moment later, I become one. And all that pretty much as usual. The stupid ego. If I were able to bend my neck and bite the bullet for two more weeks after which I was to officially complete my program. Yes, I am thirty something but I still have lots and lots to learn. But there goes another lesson… I do not remember where I read it and who said that but it goes like this: if life closes one door it opens a few other ones at the same moment. Kicking me out of the volunteer’s house, although it cost me some bucks which I won’t get back, cost me ten times more pride too. All this, however, I’m able to rebuild with time. What is more important this incident, brought (as usual) a lot more good than bad. At the time when I became temporarily homeless so many people reached the hand to me and so many people offered to help me to look for work or other volunteering opportunities that it really exceeded my expectations. After I finished my safe, pleasant and nicely organized volunteering I started more unpredictable part of my journey. I was here and there. I was helping in one school in Bogota, then in Apartado for some time. Now I reached Medellin and look for another job, probably for a longer time, if lucky.
Will it work? I have no clue. But despite that I am peaceful and calm. Every day new opportunities pop up, new circumstances surprise me and unforeseen events happen, which usually takes me to next tracks and new places. I am surprised by saying that, but I really feel much more relaxed here with this highly unpredictable life than when I lived in my cozy apartment in Krakow surrounded by family, friends and stable job. This week is exactly five months since I left Poland and came here to Latin America. And this week I feel that my adventure with Latin America is only just beginning.