We came out of the mines grateful for fresh air, sunlight, and space to move around. I can’t say it was the most pleasant tour, but I’m extremely glad I went. It’s easy to discount stories of terrible working conditions from your couch, but meeting miners, putting on a jumpsuit, and going down to see where they work makes it much more real.
As the sun rose, I was filled with a simple, unqualified joy. I inhaled, exhaled, and said thank you for the day, for the chance to be there, and to be alive.
So what does it feel like to hike at 5,000 meters? Slow, mostly. We were all breathing much more heavily than normal and Andrea got hit with a big headache. At one point, Andrea even said that she felt drunk: she was processing information more slowly, felt uncoordinated (try to put foot in one place, her foot ends up somewhere slightly different), and couldn’t think straight.
We fell in love in Colombia during our short visit and are confident you will too. From the massive Arvi Park in Medellin, to the impressive presidential palace in Bogota, to this hidden church by the Ecuador border, we were never bored and were constantly meeting friendly people.
Eventually, after a few missteps, we made it to Uvita. The bus station is not quite a bus station, it was more like a large parking lot outside a restaurant.There, we waited for a taxi to the jungle for quite some time, and made it to Selva Armonia just in time for sunset. s we were walking to the tent that would be our home for the upcoming weeks, it finally dawned on me that I was in the jungle. On top of that, I would be sleeping in a tent in the jungle. I am a city rat and this sudden realization made my heart skip a beat. As the last rays of light of the day faded away, we had just enough time to drop our things and get our flashlights out. As night fell, the jungle began to wake up. The toads came out, the spiders awoke, snakes surfaced, and I…. I… I freaked the fuck out! What had I done?!
Panama has a great mix of things to do and they’re all within easy reach of Panama City. Personally, we soaked up the sun in Bocas del Toro, got in some great hikes in Boquete, and then settled into the buzzing metropolis of Panama City for a few days.
Costa Rica is probably Central America’s most popular tourist destination, and for good reason. Although the country is quite small, it’s absolutely packed full of biodiversity, things to do, and places to visit.
The floor of the church was covered with candles in various stages of melting, eggs, soda, and copal, a native form of incense. Entire families were crouched on the ground praying aloud in Tzotzil, a local language belonging to the Mayan language group. The women rubbed eggs, soda, and other items over the bodies of small children to rid them of evil spirits.
It is impossible to be bored in Mexico City, there’s always something to be done. If you like to dance, you can be sure there are dance classes within walking distance of where you are staying. You like food? There’s a myriad of affordable and delicious places within a 3-block radius. Don’t feel like walking? Just wait on the street long enough and some tacos de canasta will come by. It’s always a pleasure to show my city to friends!
New Mexico was the state where I learned English, where I met some of my favorite teachers and best friends, where I discovered my love for hiking, where I lived by myself and away from home for the first time. New Mexico holds a very dear place in my heart and coming back to it felt like arriving home. I had missed it without knowing it, and realized how different my life is because of that adventure I embarked on almost a decade ago.