Leonie is going to Peru for a week. Her friends are coming all the way to South America to see her, and she’s going to walk the Inca trail to Machu Picchu with them.
The trip was organised a couple of months ago, and since then I’ve been wondering, from time to time, what I would do that week. I had a few options.
I could stay in Bolivia.
Yeah, right. While Leonie is trekking through Peru, I’ll stay put? Nothing wrong with Bolivia. Cochabamba is great, and I can get a lot of work done. But still… While Leonie is trekking through Peru? Don’t think so.
I could go to Peru too, I thought. Not to Machu Picchu with the women; I’ve been there before, and this would be a good opportunity to visit parts of Peru I hadn’t seen last time. Around Lake Titicaca, for example. And that’s easy to get to from Bolivia. I could take a few days with Leonie in La Paz first, then take a bus to the town of Puno. I imagine a peaceful lakeside cabin. That could be good for a while.
Or, since I don’t know when I’ll visit this continent next, I could go to Chile. That has the added advantage of being a country I’ve never been to before. And it has the double advantage that Leonie has never been there either, and, since she’s been to more countries than me (not that we count), I could catch up a bit (not that it’s important to me at all. Really, it’s not. Not really).
But where would I go in Chile? Santiago? Arica? Iquique? And how would I get there? When I looked into it, it was going to be a bit pricey to get to and stay in Chile. Puno would be easier and cheaper, but the internet told me it was going to be cold there. I don’t want cold.
What to do?
I’d already been thinking about it too much, spending too much time on the web. One of the things we realised we like about this life we’re living is that it’s better not to plan too much. But that was exactly what I was doing, and it was already taking some of the fun out the trip.
So, while we were travelling through Argentina, I decided I would forget about going away that week until we were back in Cochabamba.
And then, somewhere between long Argentinian bus journeys, I got an email. Funding had been approved for a project I’d written a proposal for last year. And suddenly it was decided. I’d be travelling after all. Not to Chile. Not to Peru. No new land and no lake view cabin. But to Glasgow. I’ll be leaving South America to go back to Scotland.
All that contemplating and planning was a waste of time after all, time when we were in the middle of visiting new countries. Maybe now I’ll learn to take things as they come and enjoy the surprises that arise, even those – especially those – I have to work on, that fit in with what I enjoy.
And so, Scotland it is, to work a bit, and no doubt see family and friends. Way more exciting than sitting in some chilly backwater on my own. What would I do there anyway? Plan the next trip?