Thursday, October 23, 2008

Time for Joo to Talk!

(written by JooYeon)
It has been almost 3 and a half months since we began travelling. I knew that backpacking would be different from vacation travel. Even though I was expecting that I would have difficult times, when it actually happened, it was difficult to accept the reality and many times complained about our accommodation and food. Many nights including 3 nightmary nights in Iquitos´s moldy and funny smelly wooden house, a night in a small remote island near Iquitos where I thought that the mosquitoes will suck up all of my blood, 2 nights at Lima´s central area´s hostel where I had to sleep with bedbugs, 3 nights at Nasca´s hostel with dog poo´s on the floor, and 11 nights at Buenos Aires´s Carly hostel where I had to wake up many times during the night by people walking by our room, loud radio sound or weird constant tick tick sound. During those occasions, I spent much precious time by complaining about things that would not last forever, and I learned that I need to focus on each precious seconds with beloved people.

Today, when I was washing dishes in our Buenos Aires apartment with one small sink kitchen, I thought that I would really appreciate if the sink is a little bit (just a little bit) bigger than that or if I have one more sink. And I began reflecting how much I appreciate many things that I took for granted back home like potable tab water that we can drink directly and wash vegetables and eat without heating, safe and clean street that I don't need to worry about stepping on dog poop, grass, pre-washed salad and so on.
(written by Daniel)
Actually, Joo has done a really good job about putting up with a wide variety of new situations, and hasn't complained much at all. The nights are definitely the worst part when we are in a bad situation, because they mean less sleep and therefore more tired the next day. Like she said, backpacking is much different than simply an extended vacation because you constantly challenge your own limits and test your raw strength. That said, there are of course multitudes of high moments too, and it's been so fun for me to share them with her... from simple moments like listening to street musicians, to grand majestic moments like looking out at a sea of stars in the Atacama desert or dancing in a village Incan ruins in Peru.
It's been beautiful to see her growth too throughout the trip. At the beginning, she rarely ever ventured out anywhere alone, but now she is quite comfortable with it and even initiates basic conversations in Spanish with people. Also, whenever confronted with an uncomfortable situation, she immediately reflects on it and her reaction to it, and has grown significantly through this process. I think she does miss having a girl's presence nearby now and then, so she is really excited to have Heather join us in Costa Rica next month (and then they can unite their female power and overrule me... who knows... we might even have to end up staying in places with clean sheets and hot showers... AAAAH- the horror, the horror!)


  1. It's nice hearing the female perspective of this trip! I can see where sleepless nights could take its toll during the day. As I get older, I sleep less at night and long for that time when I can take that afternoon nap. Sharon thinks I should just close my door at school and take a quick snooze. -Dad

  2. You could always do the famous university trick dad... take a high resolution photo of your face, blow it up to life size, print it out (in color), cut out the eyes... then sit back, close your eyes and tape the printed eyes to your eyelids!

  3. Clean sheets and hot showers, yes, we WILL find these in Costa Rica :). Actually, I am game for anything (except mice or rats crawling on me) so we'll see what comes of that adventure together. Joo, you are amazing and I can't wait to travel with you and Daniel!!! -Heather