In the summer of 2013 after I completed my first year at University me and a friend (the same one who I will be going to Costa Rica with) made the decision to volunteer in Peru. University had opened up new opportunities for us and we were both looking to do something different which would take us outside of our comfort zones. Neither of us had barely left Europe before so to spend a month in neglected areas of Peru was certainly a new experience for the both of us. We built foundations for local impoverished schools and taught the children some Basic English skills. The University funded most of our trip as we were both linguistic students, we represented our University and saved a lot of money whilst doing so!
To save us and the University money we booked indirect flights to Peru which would take us to France and then over to Lima, Peru and finally Cuzco. We somewhat overlooked the thirteen-hour layover in the Lima, we seemed to think we would find a bar and the hours would soon pass. We were wrong. The airport was empty, nothing was open and we had nowhere to go. At one stage a couple of hours in we took a wander outside the airport. But walking around an unknown foreign land in the middle of the night is never a good idea. We quickly returned to the airport where our sanity was tested for another ten hours or so. Once the wait was over, we boarded our third and final ‘plane’ to Cuzco – I use the term plane loosely. I was unconvinced the plane was fit to fly and the holes in the windows further confirmed my uncertainty. I peered out of my window most of the flight, to find a mask of cloud with frequent mountain tops breaking through. Rest assured to finally feel the ground beneath my feet and to know we had finally made it to Cuzco was a joyous relief.
However, our journey had one final blow instore for us. Do you know that feeling when you are waiting to collect your luggage and you find everybody else is collecting theirs and then you begin to fear the worst? Well before we knew it we were the last two people at luggage collection, tired, frustrated and a little delirious. For one reason or another, our luggage was still in Lima. All we had now were the bags on our back, usefully packed with non-essentials like magazines and food, not a change of clothes. Now began a whole new reality and process, filing for missing bags and living in constant frustration. It was the first time my luggage had ever gone missing, but it wouldn’t be the last.
We eventually reunited we our luggage 3 days later. Despite the shaky start to the trip I wouldn’t change it for the world – apart from the luggage part. Peru was my first real experience of travelling and embracing a new place and culture. It changed my perspective on a lot of things and has certainly shaped my future ever since. If it wasn’t for Peru I wouldn’t have had the courage or enthusiasm to travel, to go study abroad, and definitely to move to Costa Rica. When faced with a big decision, do what feels right even if it scares you. Whatever makes you happy at the time, the rest will work itself out for that’s the beauty of life.
You would think we learned out lesson to fly direct this time round but we didn’t. Our journey to Costa Rica is a 3-part trip with layovers in France and the Dominican Republic. 24 hours to Costa Rica to follow. 🙂