I am sitting on a bean bag and stare at the cracks in the ceiling. It is hot as hell. A black fan is rambling on from the top and does not really cool much. Someone is playing Spanish music outside and cars are honking in a distance.
Today is the first day of my longed for South America trip.
I left the United States after living in South Florida for exactly 7 months.
I traded a stable income, a nice house with a pool, good friendships and weekends of partying in Miami for the completely unknown… the prospect of an adventure.
I got $7,500 in my bank account. I got a Travel Rewards Credit Card with a $1,000 monthly limit and I hope to make some money working remotely with my computer.
Apart from that, I got no idea what I am doing.
I am in Cartagena, Colombia.
My plan: To make it all the way down to Chile and come back up through Brazil.
Sounds great… in theory.
In a perfect world, where I have infinite money, everybody loves me dearly and the world takes perfect care of me, this seems easy.
In practice, I already encountered the first challenge at the Fort Lauderdale airport today. It came in the form of an attractive airline clerk, asking:
“Sir, where is your return ticket to the USA?”
Ehhh… There is none.
I mean, who would have thought that countries like Colombia require noble German citizens like myself to show a return ticket?
And here you have it, one of my many problems: arrogance (maybe hubris?)
Did not even cross my mind to check entry requirements for Colombia. I somewhat assumed they would be happy to see me. Turns out they are not. And I need proof of return. Damn.
That took a good $140 off my credit line.
Though I would like to not say it and have you feel more sad for me, Spirit Airlines refunded me and I could cancel the flight as soon as I got into the country.
Is that cheating the government? Is it dumb to write that in public?
Oh well, I will worry about it once I have more readers than myself and my mom.
Soon after I entered the country, I encountered another challenge:
My incapability to budget myself.
I went into a restaurant. I saw the prices. I thought: Wow, that is expensive… and I went ahead and ate coconut chicken in cilantro sauce anyways.
I liked it… and I thought I should eat cheaper.
Now I am still sitting on a bean bag and still sweating.
Here is my biggest takeaway from my first day in Colombia:
You always take yourself with you on the road
Well, in this case I took myself with me.
I just wanted to write this in second person to make it sound like a cool rule.
I have been living abroad for over 10,000 days now (not on end).
I see it over and over and over again: I always take myself with me.
That means, I can never outrun my mind.
If I do not solve issues at the core, they will follow me wherever I go. I may trick them for a few days by changing my location, but eventually they will catch up.
My main issue?
Probably compulsive thinking and worrying… especially about things that are impossible to change. I call them thinking-dead-ends.
The best way I found to deal with them is to share them with other humans.
I am going to find me some humans to talk to now.