The Joys and Struggles of Travel

2 mayo 2013

It’s been a while.  Life has been busy, stressful, a lot of fun, rad, and everything in between.  All of  that comes with travel.

In the past few weeks I’ve made a third trip to Uruguay, hiked and camped just outside of Bariloche, Patagonia, and spent a lot more time in a classroom than I’d like to.  I’ve drank a few beers and cafécitos (coffees), and eaten some damn good food.  I’ve contemplated life, school, the future and the present.

My third trip to Uruguay was a nice weekend stint to Colonia, Uruguay with the entire IFSA-Butler program.  All 100 or so students were invited.  We spent a beautiful afternoon at our program director’s estate in the countryside of Colonia eating a grilled beef, stakes, salad, and all the sides, a couple of nights in Portuguese/Spanish-infused Colonia, and tasted wines and cheeses at a bodega about an hour from Colonia.

Bariloche was a different trip.  Forget the sangria, wine, asado, cheeses, and nice posadas.  Enter the hostel, tent, no shower for a few days, and beautiful hike into the mountains.  This trip, I consider, equally as enjoyable as the trips to Colonia, Punta del Este, and Punta del Diablo.  For some, camping and hiking might not be their idea of “fun and enjoyable,” and that’s alright, but for my friends Sarah and Taryn, and I, it is.  The fresh air seeped into my lungs, liberating them from the dusty, humid, and exhaust-filled atmosphere of Buenos Aires.  No longer was there sounds of horns honking, busses’ brakes squealing, and others in my apartment building yelling at one another or cheering because their favorite fútbol team just made a goooooaaaaaallllllllll!!!!  In fact, there was a moment when the three of us reached an overlook just over an hour into the hike.  The three of us stood there in silence, looking out into the distance at the nearby mountains covered in maroon-colored shrubbery, a glacial lake that had indigo-colored water, and silence that I had not heard in quite some time.  Silence that struck us, so much so that we each knew and decided, without having to speak to one another, that it was best not to talk, but to experience the silence and take in the moment in our own way.  There may have been one or two birds that squawked in the distance, but other than that, the sun shone down on me, my lungs exhaled and then inhaled.

School has been going well.  It’s been a struggle.  As I said before though, that’s what comes with travel.  But this time, I almost threw in the towel and chose to run away from the struggle, and prolong the inevitable.  Classes are going well, in the moment, but it has taken some perseverance to get myself back into a traditional classroom setting.  The stress and anxiety that comes along with school is not much fun either.  However, I’ve learned to deal; I enjoy the courses, and I enjoy my friends, classmates, and professors.  Knowing what an experiential-based learning style is like compared to that of the traditional model, as well as living my dream life of traveling and experiencing other cultures and ways of life, fostered the thought of what would a semester off from school do for me.  It would relieve me of the stress and anxiety that for some reason comes along with school work, projects, tests, obligations, etc.  After a couple of weeks of dialogue and discussion between myself and my parents, friends, professors, and advisers, I’ve come to decide that it would be best to finish my last year of undergraduate studies, get my degree, and then be free to do whatever the hell I please (travel/adventure/dirtbag lifestyle/the like).

This semester has been one of even more growth.  I’ve fallen victim to both the travel bug and senioritis.  It’s the struggle of psyching myself up enough to do school work, not only now for this semester, but to know that I’ll have to do the same next semester.  Would I be able to give up graduating alongside my best friends from school?  To just prolong the fact that I’d have to go back to school at some point?  Money was a large consideration too.  The idea of living in the moment, has never been more appropriate now than ever.  In the face of struggle and lack of motivation, it is very important that I enjoy each day as it comes, while not losing sight of the overall picture.  To go out at night even though I might not have read that extra page in my book or wrote one more paragraph… there’s always tomorrow.  As I write this blog post now, I know that I should be doing research and editing/writing the thesis that that research will comprise.  It comes down to costs and benefits (there’s the one year of business school getting put to use).

At the end of the day though, I’m a damn fortunate person, and love being here in Buenos Aires.  I can only be grateful to my family, friends, professors and advisers throughout the past two months (and school year).  Travel changes a person.  It’s not all rainbows and unicorns, or margaritas on the beach (that’s a vacation); travel forces a person to confront and embrace their vulnerability, while at the same time, being the authentic and real human that every person can be.  Just as I did last semester, I have been fortunate to meet some very real and authentic people on my study abroad program, which has been a beautiful experience in itself.  Alongside them, I have entered into the second half of this program.  We have two months until the end, and until then, I’m gonna have fun, live simply, keep it real, and take it easy.

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2 responses to “The Joys and Struggles of Travel

  1. Hi Dustin. Great account of your adventures! Your photos are spectacular.
    Shawn (Sarah’s mom)

    • Hi Sarah’s mom! Thank you! Thank you for reading as well. You’ve raised a great daughter, I’m glad to call her my friend! Enjoy the day!
      -Dustin

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