Published on May 12th, 20172
Distractions & Detours: The Fickle Brain of a Wanderlust
O.k. this is gonna be a short one (I promise!) But I just thought I’d share a glimpse into the deranged (yes, it must be said) workings of a profoundly addicted wanderlust brain.
So here I sit, pretty much satiated from my recent 6 week skip through the Balkans, and even more recent gawk at those luscious mariposas dripping from the trees in the mountains of Mexico. Happy to sit still for a spell here in my (ever fascinating – with a wee carnival on every corner) adopted home of Cuenca, Ecuador. Happy to sit tight awhile, but nonetheless already looking forward to *finally* heading to that amazing bucket-list hillock in neighboring Peru (Machu Picchu) come September or October.
I’d already done a good bit of research in anticipation of a (suddenly aborted) trip there two years ago. Ah but… (speaking of “Fickle Brain”) we all now know how THAT turned out. So this year I am/was?/am again? determined to hop next door to Peru, to see for myself what this legendary ancient icon is all about. Indeed, what with little more than 4 months out, today I’d planned to knuckle-down and begin/renew my research on making my way to Machu Picchu. A chore, I might add, that I find almost as much fun as the trip itself.
So there I was, with fingers poised on my laptop keys ready to begin poking incessantly into most every website, blog and Tripadvisor forum report on Peru in general, and Machu Picchu in particular. And for starters, to better visualize the lay-of-the-land, I pulled up a Google map of “South America”.
Hmmm… gazing at the borders of the dozen or so countries/territories that make up this huge South American continent I’ve been parked on for the past 3+ years…
Suddenly my eyes darted – not south to Peru/Cuzco, but rather north to…
No not Venezuela (sadly, traveling there these days would be profoundly foolish given the current economic situation there), but to…
And then… to Suriname next door…
And then a smidge to the right to French Guiana.
Hmmm… 3 perfectly fine countries to explore. But who travels there? You rarely hear anything about any of the three, and none seem to be on the well-trod South America backpacker trail.
Precisely why I’m intrigued. I mean three little countries tucked arm-in-arm along the Caribbean/South Atlantic – that nobody seems to visit much?
SIGN.ME.UP. Clearly my cuppa travel tea.
But woaaa! Hold on there pardner – let’s at least give Google a spin to see what these three mystery lands are all about. I mean um, maybe folks don’t go there for good reason, yes?
So off I skip to TripAdvisor, and – wouldn’t you know it – by sheer chance I happen to pull up this sweetly detailed report:
And I have to say – reading the lad’s blow-by-blow account of traversing overland from one country to the next, my Indiana Jane travel heart did a little happy-dance in my chest. THAT’S the kind of travel I favor. Traveling by the seat-of-your-pants, never knowing what’s around the bend, pivoting on a dime, and resorting to “Plan B” (C and D if necessary) when things go awry. YESSS!
And while I admit that the intrepid lad’s wacky 3 hour sally through the Suriname jungle via muddy roads (not to mention the hair-raising robbery stories) gave me pause… Nonetheless, it’s not as if I haven’t been-there/done-that (um yeah: me + Honduran taxi driver + soldier with a *machine-gun* bumping through the middle of nowhere amid the jungle to the Mayan ruins at Copán back in the 90’s).
In short, the lad’s free-spirited approach to exploring three obscure little countries hanging on the edge of South America definitely got my Indy heart happily a’thumpin’. And even at my breathtakingly dodderin’ years, I can’t help but dream of replicating his 3-country overland adventure.
Likely but a momentary flight-of-fancy here. Indeed, one of many in my life-long travel playbook. I mean, after all – letting your heart roam free to embrace ALL the luscious possibilities is arguably a GOOD thing, no?
But in this case – though I’m mightily tempted – after due contemplation…
I’m 87% sure I won’t be hopping into any colectivo taxis and speeding through the jungles of Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana any time soon.
And I’m 90% certain that it will be Machu Picchu in Peru that marks my 50th country before 2018 rolls around.
I’m sure the latter will prove to be spectacular and totally worthy of its legendary bucket-list acclaim. But I must say, Machu Picchu just seems so… “done”. And planning a trip there, just doesn’t make my adventurous wanderlust heart go pitty-pat. I guess that’s why I’ve put off (and put-off again, and again) heading there in the 3+ years I’ve been living here practically next door to it.
But I’m sure it WILL be an utterly magnificent sight once I gaze upon the scene with my own baby-blues. No doubt I’ll be duly dazzled by the majesty of it. So I guess this year, Suriname et al will have to wait. It’s high-time I check an icon off my list and set eyes on the glory of Machu Picchu!
(940 words… so much for “short” – sigh)
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