As I got into my taxi at 4am outside of my house yesterday, all I felt was nervous excitement. I’d just said a teary-eyed goodbye to my Mom (the worst part about traveling) and I just couldn’t believe I was actually doing this. But as reality set in, I noticed that the cars and roads around me were covered in ice, and then it hit me – “I’m going to the Caribbean!!”
One of my strongest skills in life is my ability to make friends easily. I love talking to new people! But even knowing that about myself didn’t stop me from feeling very apprehensive about full-time hostel lifestyle and my ability to find people to pass the time with. My favorite activity while traveling is to sit on a terrace with a good beer or good coffee, people watching and chatting with friends. This was going to be hard to do without the last ingredient. And yet there I was in line to go through customs in Cartagena chatting away with two girls who are here for about the same time as I am. We shared a taxi into the city and made vague plans to see each other again (they’re staying at a different pace). Before I had even taken off my backpack I had already overcome a fear.
Once I got settled (meaning I opened my backpack and the contents spilled out from every pocket – I can’t wait to get control over where I actually put things in there) I grabbed a map and set out to explore the walled city of Cartagena. As I was about to walk out the door, I met a guy who was leaving to do the exact same thing. So we wandered around together for a couple hours, ate some delicious ceviche, and chatted about our travels on a terrace with a beer in a busy plaza. Day 1, and I’ve already experienced my favorite activity. What the heck was I so afraid of??
“What a coincidence, so am I.”
“Do you want to find a place to stay together?”
“Why yes, yes I do.”
All in Spanish of course! Not a bad start to my trip.