So far, Colombia is the best place I have ever visited. Perhaps because at the time it was my first taste of true freedom and ultimate inner growth. It was November and I was still at my volunteering job, but I was ready to leave. Not only there, but I was ready to leave Ecuador, and my past behind. I had just gotten over getting Giarida, which I might add, is the sickest I have ever felt in my life. I woke up one day and packed my things up in my backpack and left. It was about a 2 mile walk to town, and I had no idea where I was going. I decided the first bus that came by at the bus stop, was meant to be my next location. As I was walking, a camineta, or a truck, stopped and gave me a free ride to town. Right when I was dropped off a bus had just pulled up. It was a bus to a nearby town, which then brought me to the town of Banos, Ecuador. In my mind, that was a sign that was where I was supposed to be going, and that was the path I needed to follow.
There, I met a Quebec girl, Cynthia, who instantly became my friend and travel companion. She taught me that it was okay to be free, and it was okay to let go of everything that was holding me down. That it was time to focus on myself and do what I wanted to do. That first taste of freedom after being held down so long and manipulated in my past relationship was the most myself I had ever felt. I had a sense of euphoria and happiness that completely overwhelmed me. This was traveling. This was what my experience should have been from the beginning. Each day my state of mind became healthier and better than the day before. I woke up everyday ready to explore, ready to adventure. I decided then I was never going back to the person I was before.
For the first time in a long time, I felt powerful, and I felt truly happy with myself and with who I was. This was a time of great transformation in my life. It was such a breath of fresh air after being suffocated for so long.
Not only was my state of mind at an all time high, but there really was something truly special about Colombia. In the past, it had been a full of drug lords and a very unsafe atmosphere. When my family heard I was going to Colombia they about had an annuirsm because of all the horror stories they heard about it. At first, I was nervous as well, because of all the negativity associated with that once crime ridden country. However, each travler I met reassured me that it was the most beautiful, lively, friendly country they had ever visited. And it was. The people there were proud of their country, and wanted to share it with all those who visited, so they could see it how they did. Completely beautiful and surreal.