Admittedly I sort of suck at keeping a daily blog. There's always something else that takes up my time, from conversations (digital or live) with other travelers, to practicing some Spanish, tourist activities, working out, reading, and working. They all take precedence over trying to keep people updated as to my whereabouts and even then, my little snippets on Facebook do tend to serve the same purpose but with less of a time investment. Because let's face it, blog posts can eat up time and they're not as fun in some ways.
But here I am with some thoughts. And I'm procrastinating on pre-work that I've assigned myself before an ebook chapter kicks off at the end of the month, which isn't all that far away and it's in an area that I'm completely unfamiliar with. Not like I haven't been in that position numerous times and I'm grateful that I seem to be the type of person who can, and will, pick up on new things as needed. I think it suits my personality. I get bored of doing the same thing over and over, so the novelty of something new is motivation for me and I bring more energy to those projects because the fear of failure is more intense.
I'm writing this comfortably ensconced in my hotel room at the Cosmopolitano Boutique hotel in the first ring of the capital of Bolivia, Santa Cruz de la Sierra. I arrived here yesterday after a somewhat long flight from Paraguay. I had thought about taking a bus from Paraguay to Bolivia, but I'm glad I chose not to after my 24-hour stint from Uruguay to Paraguay. I wasn't in the mood to do another day-long trip. Additionally, because I only have two weeks in Bolivia, I have less time to waste to do at least 1 or 2 fun things. I was still tired from a 7:20 am flight with a layover in Sao Paolo where the connection process, being stamped in AND out of Brazil (so happy I have a 10-year multiple entry visa because I don't know what would have happened otherwise), had me cutting the line to make my flight on time (I got to the gate at 10:00 am when the flight was due to leave at 10:25 am).
As is my habit upon arrival in a new place, I consult Google maps, mark off some nearby restaurants, landmarks of interest, and grocery stores. Then I hit the grocery store to pick up snacks and shampoo and conditioner. One thing to note about Latin American grocery stores is that every mercado has a locker to store your bag. In fact, it's not an option. There are security guys who tell you to stick your bag in the locker. But you can use your credit card everywhere, even in some of the smallest towns in Costa Rica. I'm so happy I invested in Visa when it went public, but too bad I didn't have more money to buy thousands and thousands of shares, because damn, I only have chump change compared with other people.
Regardless, I do like this hotel quite a bit and this is more of an upgrade (price-wise) than I was paying for the apartment. However, I do miss the convenience of making coffee whenever I want to, having a laundry machine (dryers are rare outside of the United States), and eating breakfast when I want to. On the plus side, I get a fancy breakfast made for me every morning while I'm here. On the downside, I'm back to doing my laundry in the fancy tub until I can find a lavandería.
So I sit here, more than halfway through my 13-week stint away before I'm due back for the promised face time at the office with the super flexible and accommodating agency that I contract with on a long-term basis. And then I'm allowed to jet off overseas again, which I greatly appreciate! It's like the perfect relationship that doesn't actually exist haha.
But now is a good time to sit, reassess, and wonder.
Reassessing is pretty clearcut for me. Because being on the road is exactly where I need to be right now. After some tumult in my personal life, I'm enjoying going to bed early and waking up at 5:00 am. I'm enjoying solo tours. I'm enjoying eating dinner by myself wherever I want and whatever I want to eat because I'm not picky and also enjoy eating where the locals eat. I'm enjoying reading the books I somehow stopped reading over the last 2-3 years. I'm enjoying working out at CrossFit boxes around the world (I even bought myself a Mbarete CrossFit shirt from Paraguay because I had such a nice time there). I'm enjoying talking to strangers because even if I may be introverted at times, and not so interested in staying up late because it'll throw off my 6:00 am workouts, I like learning about how people live their lives in other places! I'm also really enjoying doing whatever the heck I want to do (if I have time) like sandboarding. I'm enjoying going anywhere that sounds interesting and not restricting myself only to those places that are popular on the tourist trial. Indeed, In Paraguay and Bolivia, I've gotten quite a few questions about why I chose to come here. I always say why not?!
I'm also wondering where I'll go and what to do. But I suppose those are the benefits of having options. I do know that there are at least another 50 countries I absolutely want to visit. Maybe all! But definitely these: Algiers, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belize, BHUTAN!!!, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, East Timor, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Iran, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Kenya, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Madagascar, Morocco (have a flight booked), Namibia, Nigeria, Norway, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Scotland, South Africa, Suriname, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Zaire, and Zimbabwe.
I guess I'll just have to continue playing it by ear. And I'm okay with that.