Sometimes I’m completely irresponsible. Almost always, these time include opportunities to travel, like that time my friends invited me to Vegas on a whim, or when we went to Cabo San Lucas for a week because the lodging was paid for. These times usually hit when I’m trying to be good, to stay put for a while, get my finances in order, and just when I think I’m doing quite well and giving myself a little pat on the back, another friend will propose a trip I just can’t turn down. If I’m hesitant, the one line that always twists my arm is, “You only live once.”
I’ve been in Fort Collins for four months, and with the exception of a few weekend excursions and a nice Thanksgiving holiday back in Oregon, I haven’t explored as much as I’d like. Homework has me hunkered down, dreaming of an escape. So when a guy I’m dating mentioned he was going to South America for three months – a place I’ve said will be next on my travel bucket list – and that his first few weeks will be spent seeing Colombia by motorcycle, I couldn’t help but exclaim, “I’m free in January!”
So, after some debate and haggling (with the tour operator, not the boy), I’m booked on a 16-day motorcycle tour with Motolombia; a travel Colombia tour that will take us to coffee farms and banana plantations, through the mountains and down to the sandy beaches, from cattle towns to big cities. Here’s the itinerary:
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As amazing as it sounds, this will be a totally different kind of travel than I’m used to. I’ve not spent more than a few hours on a motorbike at a time, and I usually feel that in my body shortly after; I don’t often stay in four- and five-star resorts of the kind we’ve been promised.
I’m used to surfing beds and floors of local’s homes, or paying $5/night for a shared dorm in a hostel. I’m used to not knowing what I’m going to do until I’m doing it. I’m used to a slow pace, to eating street food or sharing meals with locals, and to spending endless days on the beach, alternating between writing and swimming.
However, I can already imagine how good a clean, cozy bed will look after long days riding pillion (passenger – I’m already learning the biker talk!) on a motorcycle. I’m beyond excited to try a lengthy organized tour – something I usually avoid because it prevents spontaneous decisions and special encounters with locals – but I am a little afraid I might get used to all this, umm…luxury.
I’ll arrive in Cali on January 3, where I will meet Mads, who’ll be flying in from a Christmas holiday in Denmark. We’ll kick off the new year in a new country, and we’ll have a couple days to couch surf, explore on our own, meet locals, eat street food, and practice our Spanish skills before the tour starts on the 5th. So, I’ll still get my fill of backpacking and adventure, and maybe a little romance too
And despite missing the first week of school next semester, I believe this is just what I need to get back on track. I crave adventure – I need to get it out of my system before I can commit to another five months of nonstop reading, writing and studying. So, irresponsibility aside, I need this dose of carelessness not for my bank account, but for my sanity.