This year started off with huge promises and high expectations. And most of them came true. The past year has been anything but dull. I quit my job and gave up the apartment and together with my man I started volunteering and travelling in Central and South America. After eight months we reached La Paz where things started falling apart. We got back home and picked up the pieces and are now working very hard to rebuilt our lives. Together. And we have no idea what it is going to look like. Another very exciting year lies ahead.
I never dwell on the past, but since last year has been life-changing I thought it would be wise to recapture all the things I learned and pile them on one big heap for closer examination. And because it’s my birthday today, I’ll share my wisdom.
- Tiny women who knit socks from llama wool on the streets of an Andean village may not have access to good conditions for creating knitwear without branches, dust and poo in them. They make nice tiny knitted llama’s for Christmas decorations, sure. But knitwear is a totally different ballgame (a particular situation that is radically different from the preceding situation). Those tiny women and I should now know better.
- You really can live with only 2 pairs of shoes. I always thought the emptiness that a life without shoes brings, would kill instantly by creating a black hole that sucks you in completely never to be found again. But it turns out I was wrong. It just gives you fewer options to choose from when getting dressed.
- Guinea Pigs make a healthy and filling meal, especially if you eat more than one. Check out ‘How to eat your guinea pig’ for some tasty recipes.
- I’ll try everything once, at least that has been my motto so far, but I won’t spend another New Years Eve at 5.000 meters above sea level. Obviously I should know better and not post this as a life lesson learned because life which is always full of surprises (haha), might do its best to place me in a situation where I actually believe (again) that this is a good idea. Which it is not. It sucks all life out of you and not just from the alcohol (de-hydration).
- Don’t let the Dutch fool you. Their summers really suck. No matter how much time you spend in Amsterdam inside a dodgy hashy place being absolutely stoned out of your mind, biking through the rain is not going to be festive.
- Try to look for anaconda’s in the swamps when it isn’t pouring with rain. You might have more chance being eaten by one. Now they just felt sorry for us and refused to come anywhere near us. Double ponchos, rubber boots and a stick do not provide adequate protection to battle Anacondas or piranhas.
- Patriotism is something learned abroad and then instantly forgotten once you return home. Except if you are American: Patriotism is something learned at home and then instantly forgotten once you go abroad.
- Never stop dreaming. Ever!
- Diving is fun and it can be even more fun if you learn this lesson: try to get one of the divers on your crew to throw up in the water and instantly thousands of brightly coloured fish in an amazing variety of shapes and sizes magically appear from nowhere. Well, I may be exaggerating here, it could be hundreds. But it is still fun.
- A swimming pool can never be big enough and should always come with a waterfall that you turn on and off whenever you please. Without it, it might as well just be a big bath.
- Chickens deserve a statue for being so delicious. Sorry, vegos & vegas but they should. #chicken #mjam
- Hombres with two huge golden guns attached to their hip and a bed full of bullets are not named Elvis and are most likely not scuba instructors. The ID they have telling you that their name is Elvis and that they are a dive instructor is probably fake.
- I am not immortal. In fact I am deteriorating as you read this. Slowly but assuredly my hair is turning grey and ridges are starting to appear in my skin’s surface. I’m trying to get rid of them but they multiply faster than I can keep up.
- Birding is for nerds. And nerds are birds. Nerding is birds. Or something like that. Anyway it sucks.
- A young lamb makes a better-than-nothing substitute for a chihuahua when you are a highlands girl selling goods (as in groceries, you perv) on the streets of Cusco. I have neither but am considering one for myself.
- Teaching Guatemalan children English is harder than it seems. But with the right tools it is possible to survive (read: having Angry Birds and Hipstamatic on your iPhone).
- You want to make your man really happy? Forget about sex (with all the free porn on the internet) bake a cake instead.
- Sloths (the animal) are really ugly when wet.
- Have you ever had to get through a day, smiling at people, talking, as if everything were normal and okay, while all the time you felt like you were carrying a leaden weight of unhappiness inside you? No? Don’t worry, you’re still young.
- Earthquakes rock.
- On a serious note, I’ve found that being in the Andes on a decent height, say anything above 3200 m.a.s.l. (which is 10,500 feet) can cause gas. And that once you are in a bus going down to lower grounds you actually deflate like an untied balloon in someone soapy hands.
- I don’t know if the thirties are the new twenties, but the new thirties are certainly more enjoyable than the old twenties.
- Guacamole saves lives! I just have to figure out how.
- Make*ability is the likelihood that something is going to be made in the future. Everything I have photographed has already been made, even though I try to bring it into another dimension, not by forming, shaping, or altering the material, but by giving it a different viewpoint. It is a representation of that second in that time and can never be re-made. It is unique.
- Giving up your job and your apartment & saving up your money to travel the world is almost as much fun as the act of travelling itself. It is the journey that counts and gives you the experience. But the brochure really should mention something about living with your parents afterwards.
- Fear of heights is a good thing. There’s nothing irrational about it. Because once you climb up `something you also have to climb down (eventually after they tell you you’re not allowed to live on top of Tikal temple and forcefully remove you). People who lack this quality called Acrophobia will have a higher chance of dying through sheer stupidity and so-called bravery. Give me one good reason to cross the “worlds highest hanging rope bridge” when there are perfectly good accommodation options on this side?
- I learned to only take what I need. I don’t take things that I don’t need or which could be of use in the future. I don’t want them now cluttering up my space or my mind.
- The mere fact that Justin Bieber is acknowledged as a musician by unspoilt children and pedophilic fans who also feel the need to express this, shows us that Darwin’s natural selection theory doesn’t hold up. There are limits to evolution. Darwin gave us a narrative. The history of life is a tale of epic forces and scales. It is ours to discover…
- Flor de Caña Rum, 12 years old goes down smooth and should be enjoyed with friends and a Caribbean sea breeze.
- I’m not the only one in their thirties not knowing what I want. When people turn forty they still do not know what they want. Not knowing what you want isn’t just a phase, it is a state of life. Just choose something. You can always change your mind later.
- Good friends, good food, good drink, good art, and good times far outweigh all of the evils of the world. Except vampires. (Stolen from Maxwell. Not sure what he meant with the vampires, they’re cute right?)
* It’s my birthday peoples! Congratulate me. Unless you’re reading this after 10 September 2011, in that case only hugs and kisses will do.
*Some of this stuff isn’t even mine. I just stole it from someone on the internet. If this doesn’t look familiar to you, then it probably is original and written by me.