I have been home for a week now long enough to "mostly" adjust to being back home now. I am still having some issues with adjustment back to normal adult life here. Whats ironic is the most trouble I am having is the food here. It is tearing me up inside! I guess I am just not used to all the chemicals/processed stuff we have here. I am in the process of looking for a job and settling in. Getting bank stuff arranged and all that "normal stuff". I will still write this blog every now and again but, since I am no longer traveling I have to end this somewhere and get started on this book printing process!
I just thought I would add some final thoughts and do a final recap of my 575 days (19-ish months) away. My fondest memory of my entire Australia trip if I had to pick only one would be singing slightly drunken karaoke with my mate Josiah from Boston. I loved it so much because I am a horrible terrible singer with a bad voice but that night I just didn't care at all and I got on stage and let loose. The crowd ate it up when we sung "Lost that Lovin' feeling" and I loved it! I loved getting out of my comfort zone and doing something new. I may never do that again though haha I don't think I could top that night.
My fondest memory from Thailand was just hanging out with The Wolf Pack and all the great times I had with those guys who will be lifelong friend's now. In Laos I loved relaxing and driving around on my motorbike like a local. In Cambodia my best memory is the massage I got by Nika the blind woman and having the power go out to the entire city every night. It was really peaceful actually. As was the golden temples of Cambodia.
In New Zealand my greatest memories were all the friendships I made and all the new jobs and skills I got. I can't even begin to narrow it down to one thing there is way too many and I will have countless life long friends there for sure.
In Chile my best memory is the awesome party we got to go too with our great CS host Jordan and his amazing hospitality to Ben and I which I will never forget. In Bolivia the Salt Desert sure was amazing. In Peru I loved the food and of course Machu Picchu was absolutely amazing and breathtaking. In Argentina my favourite memory by far was all the great times I had with the sugar active Couch Surfing group there and the tango lesson I took. Because that was really out of my comfort zone but I did it anyway and really enjoyed it!
What can I say about Colombia? I loved every minute. My up's and downs and crazy times, fun times all of it. Even when I had no money I was having fun. The Colombian people are by far some of the nicest people I have ever met. So kind and caring and giving. Willing to help out a random gringo like me. Their Spanish is so clear there and the country is so beautiful! The safety has much improved and there is so much to see and do. Almost untouched by tourism and has so much to offer I just love it there! The Salt Cathedral was by far my favourite though.
It is so hard to narrow it down to just one favourite memory from each country but I am trying for you. I experienced so many amazing things and places I will never forget. Saw so many amazing sunsets/sunrises and things I can't even begin to accurately describe for you, you just have to be there. I met SO many amazing people all along the way. My life will never be the same again and it is forever changed for the better.
I have so many countless people to thank for making my 19 months so special and amazing for me. My family, friends back home, friends I made along the way, All of my CS hosts and friends, I have to thank all the random strangers who helped me out along the way just out of the kindness of their hearts. I must thank the strangers who helped me and became good friends. Most especially I need to thank Sandradee Makejev (my amazing now lifelong friend from Sydney) and Bernie Czislowski my good mate from Queensland.
I have to thank tons and tons of people from CS in New Zealand and most especially Vikki Neal who helped me out tons! My list of people to thank is endless! So many people to thank all over South America! Without Couch Surfing my trip as it was would not have been possible.
My best mate Ben deserves a special paragraph all to himself. I randomly met him on the city bus in Sydney in December 2009 and since then we have been through thick and thin together. He truly will be a life long great friend of mine I will never forget or lose touch with no matter where we end up in the world. He has helped me through countless situations and I will be forever grateful for his friendship. I like to hope he feels the same way about me. Thanks a lot mate! :) I wont forget our good times together (and our bad ones) we always managed to make it through!
Last but not least I need to selfishly thank myself. I chose to go to Colombia and in the process of that trip learned that you can't believe everything you hear and read about a country. I had an amazing time there and everyone was great! This has been a great ride and it is over for now but maybe not forever. I have learned so much about myself and about life. I am closing this chapter of it but will always remember all of it forever.
The biggest thing I learned while I was away was perspective. Don't bitch about the little things and be grateful for what you have. Be grateful for hot water and tap water you can drink and toilets you can put toilet paper in. Be grateful for Walmart and good clean sanitation and cars and money and westernized life styles. Because many many people in this world can only dream about what you have. I have experienced the worst so I can be thankful for the best. Thankful for my friends,family,health and my life. I am one of the luckiest guys alive.
Remember always pack your own toilet paper. Thanks for joining me on this ride it has been fun sharing it with you. Traveling with Tyler Volume Two will start up when I decide to start traveling again. For now I leave this journey with a full passport and a brain full of memories and experiences I will cherish forever.
Over and out for the last time. Your traveling Texan,Tyler