As we were pulling weeds as part of our volunteer work this morning, Abe and I agreed that after only 24 hours on San Cristobal island, we love the place. He doesn’t think two weeks here will be enough. I reminded him that I only have one, and then we started planning how to maximise our time. Luckily Cristian, the coordinator, and the other two volunteers have lots of recommendations, but it’s a shame I won’t have time to spend a weekend on one of the other islands.
It was very easy for Abe to ponder on the possibility of changing his flight back to the mainland. He’s planning as he goes. I’m booked into a different programme in Cuzco next week which is paid for and I don’t want to miss out on that. I’ve got a week or so yet to plan out during which, in theory, I could come back to the island, but in practice that would take at least 2 flights and a day of travelling which isn’t that great. It’s also very possible that I fall even more in love with Peru and want to stay there longer.
It’s sent me into a bit of a bittersweet haze. I knew I had to plan my month away rigidly because I’d be too nervous about anything otherwise – as it is, even one week unplanned is causing me a teeny bit of stress. But listening to people talking about spending 8 weeks in Costa Rica, or in the rainforest in Ecuador without internet, changing their plans at the last minute and planning only a week at a time, I kind of wish I’d done that. I love hearing about the people they met in other places and the things they got up to because they could spend as long as they want in one place.
It’s only week one.
But what if I cancelled my flight back? What if I just stayed? I could give loads of excuses, to do with money, and work, and family, but in reality I know that simply staying out here is probably too much of a stretch for me. Money is always a good excuse though.
It’s also easy to think about how much I love it here now that I’m settled in to one place. On Monday morning when I’m nervous about my next step, I’ll be glad I have a flight home booked.
It’s a bit annoying, loving travelling and yet being so anxious. But every time I start feeling like that I just remember the faces of the locals when I tell them I’m 18 (“dieciocho años?? Eres un bebé!!) and I remember that I’m doing ok. Anya and Sander are both 23 and travelling after finishing their degrees, so that just gives me something to look forward to.
Still, San Cristóbal is so amazing that I’m already thinking of returning for a visit to every island. I’m not even home yet and I’m planning the next trip.
Anyway, as I was sorting through all these muddled thoughts a wave powered right up the beach and crashed over us and all our things and I had a panic attack thinking that it had dragged my phone back with it, scrambling through towels and sand to find it. Somehow it didn’t, but it’s a miracle it’s still working. We’re taking a dry bag next time.