México part two

I’ve finally left Peru and the Huanchaco bubble. It wasn’t easy, and I over stayed my visa resulting in a small fine!

After volunteering since December and living in shared spaces with many weird and wonderful people, my whole entire being is screaming out for some alone time to do nothing but ‘be’.

So that’s what’s happening. I found a little house on Airbnb in Playa del Carmen near Cancun in Mexico. There’s a pool, the beach is close, and I’m alone.

You learn so much about yourself through travel and learning to listen to myself was one of the hardest things for me to realise. I’m getting there. We all learn every damn day.

With all this alone time and ‘being’ comes a lot of thinking.

Thinking about what my next goal is, after achieving the goal of not having to work so I can travel full time, and enjoying that beautiful freedom for over 8 months, I now realise I need a new purpose.

The happiness of pursuit.

I always thought I was happiest doing nothing. When I worked full time and had a billion hobbies I would savour those Sunday mornings snuggled up in my duvet knowing I didn’t have to do a damn thing that day. But the appreciation is lost when you can (potentially) have a Sunday everyday.

Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely in love with my life and super grateful that I have this luxury.

It’s just helped me realise that I do need something to keep me occupied. Like a small child with some plasticine!

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The Huanchaco effect

How I ended up here is still weird to me.

I flew into Lima with the intention of taking a few days to decide my next move. Lima was not the place for me to really do that, very loud and busy, a stark contrast to the tranquil forest I had just left.

All everyone wanted to do was party, much as I’m up for some fun, every night is too much for me and after two nights I found myself escaping on an overnight bus to Huanchaco.

I had no idea what I was thinking or doing, all I knew was I needed to get out of Lima and wanted to be near the sea (one of the things I miss most from home).

With no hostel booked, no volunteer work organised I arrived in the morning in this new city of Trujillo.

First impressions were not good, it was still loud and crowded and the taxi driver tried to rip me off and basically snatched my money out of my hand!

An inauspicious start, but my hostel was £6 for the night, they let me check in early. A whole room to myself, private bathroom and WiFi.

What more could a girl want after a stiff sleep on an overnight bus?

I woke from my nap to a text from the owners of the Moksha hostel, one of the workaway hosts I had been contacting for work, they invited me to interview that day.

This was a Sunday, I walked up the coast and found yet more crowds, more litter, more noise, definitely still having second thoughts!

In the interview I discovered I would be waitressing and doing kitchen work, not exactly something I consider myself good at or enjoy! I envisioned me leaving after the three day trial…

7 weeks later, I’m still here! There is definitely something about this place that keeps people here! The majority of people who actually move on are people with pre-booked flights, everyone else seems to stay.

I can’t quite put my finger on why, the sea is super polluted and rocky, so not much fun to swim in, the beach is equally dirty and sometimes smelly. So what is it?

For me, I think it’s the vibe and the people. It’s a laid back way of life, I’ve made friends with people who live here and who help find me art projects to participate in (currently in the process of painting a mural at an orphanage).

I’ve only just begun THINKING about my next stop, no action yet.

So we shall see how long I will succumb to the Huanchaco effect!

Confession

My previous blog posts have been about when I was saving up, traveling, saving up again and selling stuff, then traveling.

Now, after over 10 years of dreaming and longing and working towards the goal of indefinite travel, I am finally here.

…And I have no inspiration to write.

I feel like a fraud.

I wanted to help people who wanted to travel but thought it was unattainable.

Because at one point, that was me.

But where I am in my life right now isn’t a result of working my ass off and saving up and sacrifice (although there was a bit of that).

The reason I can travel the way I do now is a result of losing someone I loved and could never imagine ever being without, and inheriting enough money to invest it into a property and then purchasing another property on credit cards, to allow me to receive a passive income.

So I feel like a fraud because I didn’t save this time, and buying a property on credit cards is either lunacy or genius, I’m still yet to discover which.

Going back to the girl who worked two jobs, would socialise with her friends but not drink to save every penny. The girl who’s only one true dream was to not have to work (for someone else) so she could explore and travel for the rest of her life.

That girl is dumbfounded. She can’t believe that she’s actually living the life she always wanted.

So exactly four months into this ‘indefinite’ journey, I’m on a plane to Peru. Since leaving the U.K. in November, I have covered a fair amount of ground on the East coast and southern states of the USA, I had a brief encounter with Mexico where I made three good friends who I plan to return to later this year. I volunteered on Easter island for 5 weeks and followed that up with becoming a member of a community in the forest of Chile.

I haven’t paid for accommodation once this whole trip (I’m not including buying a tent!), and I am learning new skills with every placement I take on.

So this long overdue blog post is my confession, my truth and my never ending journey.

Travel without a plan

I had a little plan…that covered me for a month in the USA, after that I was going to wing it. 
I’ve now come to decision time and it’s kind of a case of throwing a dart at a map/where can I go that’s super cheap and I can recoup my loses from the ever expensive States…
In my mind I know where I would like to go (my bucket list is endless, it really could be anywhere) but I’d like to give something back at this juncture of my travel life.
I’ve volunteered abroad before, 10 years ago in fact, my first solo travel experience!
Happy travel anniversary to me! 
That was Ecuador, I spent 3 months in the Amazon rainforest thinking I was doing my bit to help save the trees and animals. 
Oh man was I wrong! 
Not only did I have to pay a rather large amount of money for the privilege of working for free, but it turned out that money went to some wealthy American guy who had bought a portion of the rainforest, ‘hired’ the local tribes and paid them pennies to act as tour guides for other wealthy Americans to have the ‘jungle experience’. He rented the land to the charity organisation I had volunteered for, and not cheaply apparently. 
Needless to say, this disillusioned my belief in volunteering, charity work and any hope in saving the rainforest! 
I have, since then, learned that there is a way to genuinely give your time in return for accommodation and sometimes food for a couple of hours work with up-and-coming hostels, small holdings or sometimes just families who want to learn English and teach you their culture. 
So right now I am in the process of sending out applications to dozens of potential hosts in a few different countries, and I will go where the wind takes me! 

Premature Plans

So I finally took the plunge and became self employed…step one of fulfilling my long term goal of indefinite travel.
To become ‘financially independent’ I used up ALL of my savings, leaving me with nothing at all and potential debt (as when you have no money for some reason all the bills start rolling in!) 
The initial plan was to lay low at home, get a Christmas job and build my finances back up so I can start my travel adventure in January 2019.
But no, I had to go and discover that Christina Aguilera was touring only in USA and only until mid November. She’s the last of my childhood pop stars that I’ve been dying to see live for ages and you never know with pop stars these days, they sometimes go on performing for years and sometimes they just disappear. I wasn’t willing to take that chance!
One concert ticket and a One-way flight booking later, I was a happy bunny for about 5mins when reality dawned on me…how the hell am I going to afford ANYTHING while I’m out there? 
This may seem like I was crazy, stupid and thoughtless, but I’ve found that things usually work out, and the worst case scenario is I have to come home and start again-not the end of the world! Plus with my passive income coming in throughout the month…it should all work out if I keep my costs low, really low. So I’m talking Couchsurfing, eating as cheaply as possible, cheap transport (I kinda want to try hitchhiking, but not sure on that one!) 
I’m actually excited to see how cheap I can actually make this. 

Port Baikal to Irkutsk

After very little sleep due to train noise and thinking about losing my brain function, we ate our dehydrated noodle breakfast and waited until it was time to leave the rent-by-the-hour room. (I wasn’t aware it was RBTH, I felt dirty once I found out!)

Onto the little boat to take us to the other side of the mouth.

Lush to watch the sun come up over the mountains while on a boat coursing through icy waters.

A whirlwind visit to Irkutsk, as no sooner had we arrived by bus it was time to catch the train back to Baikalsk. Innokentiy showed me a cafe next door to the train station which was very elaborate for a cafe.

Slow train back to Baikalsk and fly back to Saint Petersburg.

Flying over the lake can see it’s now starting to melt.

And back in Saint Petersburg to enjoy my last few days with Oksana.