Sunday, June 4, 2023

Jump With Both Feet


A street in Cartagena
The flight was scheduled to depart at 5am. It was an international flight with a connection in Florida. I have TSA Pre-Check, so the security screening process is quick. One bag to check at the self-service kiosk. Being at the airport three hours early certainly did not apply to me!

I had difficulty sleeping, so the ride share dropped me off at the airline's departure doors at 2:10am. The self-service kiosk indicated I needed to speak with an airline service agent. It must be an error. The third time this came on the screen I decided to follow the instructions. Off to the rear of an endless line which moved at a snail's pace. Because my destination was South America, the airline's agent needed to verify and approve Colombia's entry form which I had previously completed online according to instructions. After receiving paper, color coded boarding passes for my flights the rest of the process went as I had expected. Note to self: there is a reason for the three hour arrival before your flight advice!

This was my first, solo international flight. I have never been to Colombia or South America. On previous overseas adventures, my younger daughter took care of the details and so I just followed her. It made travel easy, but I did not learn the details of such travel. This time I had no one to follow, so the learning curve and the anxiety were steep. One way to learn is to jump in with both feet!            

One of the hiking guides

After returning and processing what had occurred over my ten days in northern Colombia, what rises to the top are people. The various cities and landscapes held a unique beauty. Individual tours, as well as the five day group hiking experience were packed with information, as well as physical and emotional fatigue. Beyond the Caribbean music, the hectic and chaotic traffic, the lush jungle, and countless varieties of tropical fruit, images of individuals continue to surface in my memory.

Cecilia in the market
Women who cooked with basic heat sources and marginal cookware in a crowded market produced delicious food and abundant hospitality. One of the guides on the hiking trip was not only agile and strong, but made certain everyone was cared for both on the trail and in our campsites. Most of this caring was accomplished with less than detailed communication. The ride share driver, who though recently married, treated me as a friend making certain (due to the late hour) that my lodging was available and acceptable. A woman from Canada who noted her sixtieth birthday by sweating, hiking, and persevering over five days while never second guessing her decision. 

Seeing the terrain, landscape, and sites of another part of the world is awe-inspiring. Seeing and interacting with a wide array of individuals makes me plan the next adventure. I am glad I jumped in with both feet!                 

Not just people,
but personalities

No comments:

Post a Comment