Seven months into a years adventure, these are the things I hadn't anticipated I would learn out here, little nuances in this myriad of experiences that have put a smile on my face and may even have had some longer lasting, more important effects on my overall character and outlook on life...maybe.
Eight days ago we lost 22 of our own.
Backpacking on a budget especially is all encompassing, and for the most part overwhelmingly positive (i’ll cover that next time), here I have chosen three things that grind my gears, completely subjective of course, with a travelling lifestyle. Bare in mind throughout that this all makes up maybe 10% of the whole experience, I adore this life.
The best times you will have will be spontaneous; a night out with new friends in a strange city, finding out the ocean glows like a Disney movie when you disturb it at night...
Centred around, and for the most part playing out on one main 'strip', Monton puffs its chest out and stands tall amongst the mundane Eccles, Winton and Swinton.
I know two things in this world; I know Manchester, and I know good coffee.
At 4pm our dune buggy picked us up and off into the sand mountains we sped, way more than half drunk we revelled in the adventure; the drivers take carte blanche with your existence, rallying around the peaks and troughs at breakneck speeds, belly down on makeshift snowboards you nose dive down giant slopes, we played like children in a monster sandbox and finished the day drinking more by the side of our now broken down buggy.
Alongside climbing volcanoes at sunrise in East Java and walking with dragons on the island of Flores, the Santa Cruz trail immediately goes into my top three adventures of this year long trip thus far.
It's three days and 30km of absolute beauty, of conversations with strangers not marred by smartphone interruptions, set to a soundtrack of silence only broken by the songs of exotic birds and rushing water...
From the taxi back we watched a guy strolling the busy high street in broad daylight, getting nostrils deep in a bag of Colombia's finest/or worst, who knows. I smiled to myself, Medellin was super aggressive, and I liked it.
Photographs from the early 2000's show an island paradise of unimaginable beauty, arriving by boat on January 4th 2017, although still beautiful, it was clear this place had met its 'stellar death' well before we arrived.