Saturday, 21 February 2015

Maybe Not Quite 8 Weeks

SO! I´ve been in Santa Elena at Aldeas de Paz for just over a week now! 

I had some reservations right off the bat because the situation was not quite as advertised, ie: the founding director was not here, there were no other volunteers, and things seemed a bit disorganized, but I thought I would give it some time to see how it all worked out. 
Its not that its terrible or that I´ve hated it...but I found myself getting antsy and wondering what I´m really doing here, or if I should be spending my time elsewhere. Without any volunteers I haven´t really been able to meet new people and go exploring, and the NGO admin work I´ve been doing is pretty basic since there are no real programs running at the moment. 

I felt guilty when I thought to myself that I would rather be traveling than sitting around here at a computer, because I had committed my time to the organization and I didn´t want to be flaky and back out. But eventually I realized that I wasn´t meeting the goals I had set out for myself, and I didn´t sell my soul to the organization, so I should just do what was best for me. Its very quiet here and I¨m by myself quite a bit, and that makes me go a little mental sometimes...its not good for me. 
So I´ve decided to only spend a couple weeks here and then hit the road again! 
As soon as I made that decision, I felt so relieved and excited, so I knew it was the right thing! I didn´t realize how much I was dreading plodding through the 8 weeks I had planned on originally until I decided to leave. 

The hard part has been breaking the news to the staff here...I´m terrible with confrontation, and sometimes I´m such a people-pleaser and I don´t want to hurt anyone´s feelings that I end up backpedalling so much from what I mean that I don´t even make sense anymore. 
The two guys here have been very understanding and still want me to get as much out of the experience as I can, so I will be more involved in shadowing the manager this week I still have to hear back from the founding director, which admittedly I´m nervous about.

Meanwhile, I´m in the process of changing my flight so that I will head home from somewhere besides Caracas! Right now I´m contemplating traveling to Colombia to see Medellin and Bogota after I´ve done the two treks here in Venezeula, and then bussing down to Quito in Ecuador and possibly seeing some Amazon jungle! I´m so excited! I´ve heard so many good things about Colombia lately that I kept thinking to myself, "I´m going to have to come back for another trip to S. America", and now I am incredibly stoked to actually get to spend some time in two more countries! 

(I will still have to come back to see Bolivia, Argentina and Brazil though...traveling only makes the to-do list longer and longer!)

This will be significant for me as well, because it will be my first real solo backpacking trip! While I didn´t know anyone in Peru or Venezuela, I wasn´t really backpacking it. When you are volunteering/going to school you are kind of plugged into a specific program and centralized in one place. This time, its just me and my backpack and the open road! Kind of scary, and kind of exciting! I know my poor mother is probably terrified for my life, but everything I´ve heard and read is that these countries are very safe now, even for solo women travelers. 

So, in conclusion, I have approximately 2 more weeks here and then I´m off to see more of this beautiful continent! Wahoo!

1 comment:

Kriss said...

I'm sure you're going to rock the solo backpacking! I'm totally jealous and cant wait to hear all about these upcoming adventures!