Not a change of heart but a change of plans

heart key chain

Day 233: Mancora, Ecuador

There’s been a black cloud looming over me for the last few weeks and it was darker than my disdain for dirty backpackers. As the holidays draw nearer I feel more stressed about my travel plans – something I haven’t felt yet as I’ve been pretty much going in the direction of the wind.

But lately I’ve been waking up, going for breakfast and feeling a sense of melancholy because the Spanish conversations that I’m hearing will soon be fond memories.

I’ve I realized that I’m not ready for English or any other language. I want to stay in South America.

So over lunch today I decided to throw it all out the window. I think I can afford another 6 months of traveling and I will spend them all in South America. I don’t want to rush through countries and there’s so much more to see.

It was a split second thought that turned into a split second decision and immediate sense of relief. With six months left I can continue any little whim to stay or go as I please. I don’t have an itinerary and I don’t need one.

As much as this trip is about seeing wonderful places and experiencing new things, its been so much more about personal growth. Understanding who I am where there’s nothing familiar to define me. One of the things I’ve come to realize while traveling is that there are many things I feel I should do that contradict with what I want to do. I felt that I should complete my itinerary but my heart wants to stay.

So maybe I should go to India, but I’m staying in South America.


  1. says

    That’s great that you are going with your gut! Travel is about finding your bliss (at least it is for me) and you should follow it! Enjoy your extended stay in SA! Can’t wait to hear all your stories along the way!


  2. says

    How exciting! It’s great that you’re able to follow your heart in these things–and it seems like you really love South America! There’s no point in leaving before you’re ready–who knows when you’ll be back?

  3. says

    I think it’s great that you decided to stay in South America. It’s obvious in your posts how happy you are there. And like you said, there’s so much more to see. Why move on if that’s where your heart is telling you to stay? Travel’s not just about ticking countries off the list. That’s my two penneths anyway. :)
    turkey’s for life recently posted..Turkish Food – Lost In Translation

  4. says

    WOW! So happy for you, girl! I can relate to you completely — my passport is currently (oh God, I hope) at the Thai embassy here in Phnom Penh…waiting for a fresh two-month visa, despite my already spending six weeks there! If you’re happy, why not EXTEND your happiness? :-)
    Adventurous Kate recently posted..Funny Pictures From Thailand

  5. says

    Well, I think it’s important to do what you want to do. Just make sure you won’t regret later to have passed on the opportunity to see the rest of the world.
    I don’t think that will happen though because you can always change your mind and your plans, that’s the best part :)
    Enjoy your future adventures in Souh America !
    Alex recently posted..Hejorama Christmas List

  6. says

    I think that’s so wonderful! More and more I’m learning that itineraries are kind of useless. Good for you for listening to your heart and I think you will have a more enriching trip for it in the end.

  7. says

    It sounds like you made an intuitive decision and nothing wrong with that. And the immediate relief isn’t exactly a bad sign. So you’re not finished doing what you’re doing yet – India isn’t going anywhere….
    robin recently posted..Sangre

  8. says

    I’ve never been to India, but I love Central and South America so can see why you’ve decided to spend more time there. I think often the split second decisions end up being the best ones since they’re made by instinct without over thinking.

  9. Ali says

    You definitely need to do what feels right to you. You can always go to India some other time. I like what you said about the trip being more about personal growth. If South America is giving you what you need & you’re enjoying your time there, it’s the right decision for you.
    Ali recently posted..A Day in London

  10. says

    It’s clearly a great decision for you, based on your instant relief! It’s absolutely clear to the reader how much you love it there and I agree, why leave a place before you’re ready? Looking forward to 6 more months of fun South American posts!
    Annie recently posted..6 Months Blogiversary!

  11. says

    You don’t often get a chance to make a descision solely based on only what you want. So often other things dictate your decision…so enjoy, be safe and keep in touch with your mother as often as possible!!!

  12. says

    Listen to your heart and do what will make you feel right. One of the best gifts travelers can give themselves is freedom to stay when they want to stay and go when they want to go. Good on you for realizing this and acting on it. India and the rest of Asia will still be there whenever it’s the right time to go.
    Audrey recently posted..Our Low Tech Travel Gear of the Year

  13. says

    Good for you! Rob and I were talking about travelling to a South American country in 2011 so I’ll be looking to you for tips on where to go.

    ps. I’m like 6 months late to the party, but I’ve just added you to my Google Reader. :)

  14. says

    Good for you for making the choice that feels right! That’s one of the wonderful parts about an open itinerary, the whole point being you can follow your heart.

    Enjoy your months in South America! I look forward to reading your stories :)

  15. says

    It’s wonderful that you can follow your heart and stay in South America. Have a wonderful time and I look forward to another 6 months of blog posts and photos. Have a very Feliz Navidad, wherever you are and best wishes for 2011! xox
    Alix recently posted..Carthage

  16. says

    This is a powerful post, I am so happy for you. You are following your heart and doing what feels right for you!

    I am so glad I have stopped planning & messing with my Itinerary. I know where I am starting and what direction I am going but thats it. I have no clue how long I’ll be in each place or where I will be going. I guess its the best way to do it.
    jaime recently posted..STATE OF MY BREAKAWAY

  17. says

    I can sense the relief in your post – sounds like staying in South America is absolutely the right decision! I don’t blame you, I absolutely love Latin culture and can’t seem to get enough of it.

  18. says

    Good job letting your heart lead you. You are doing the right thing.

    Too many people try and stick to a set plan, be it travel or life, and realize they rushed past all the important stuff simply because they had an “end” in mind.

    You have decided that the destination is not the goal, it is the journey.

    Much love and respect.
    andres recently posted..My name is Andres and I have a problem…

  19. says

    One of the greatest things about traveling is the freedom to nominate a “home”. It sounds like you have decided to call South America home for a while. Maybe even longer than six months!

    I’m glad you’ve found a sense of peace.

    India can be hard work. Nepal, however, is easy – relaxing, amazing and exotic. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get there for a while.
    eat-laugh-love-anon recently posted..My Baby Is A Rockstar!

  20. says

    I think you made the right decision. Your immediate sense of relief followed by knowing that this was a decision, not a feeling tells me that. Too many things in life we have to do whether we want to or not. Travel isn’t one of them. Who says you should go to India? You can go some other year or not go at all. What matters is that you don’t regret this year of your life and that it becomes a wonderful memory for you some day.

  21. says

    Yeah for thrown-out itineraries! I was really torn when I came back to Thailand to volunteer because that meant skipping Cambodia & Vietnam (well, hopefully not SKIPPING… just kind of putting them off). But at the time it was the right decision… I think. I just wasn’t ready for Cambodia & needed a bit of a break in a relatively familiar place. I’m still a bit conflicted about my decision, but I’m pretty sure it was the right one.

  22. says

    Good for you!! I’m SO glad you’re listening to your heart instead of what you “should” do. :-) I’m so glad you’re happy and fulfilled where you are. :-)

  23. says

    Damn straight! Good for you. Some decisions are hard to make in the moment, but when you look back, you can’t imagine having ever done anything else.

    Congrats! Can’t wait to read your next steps.

  24. says

    Although I totally understand your reasons and your love for South America (that I definitely share!), it is such a pity you don’t go to India, I’m going to Delhi end of January and it would have been so nice to meet up! 😉

    Keep enjoying your stay in South America and its beautiful people :)

  25. says

    Ayngelina, always follow your heart on what it tells you. If you feel you must stay in South America, then why not? Go with the flow of your feelings and be where you want to be. Keep on growing and enjoy the moment! :) BTW, Love your idea of staying there!
    Norbert recently posted..International Toilet Etiquette

  26. says

    First time reader, so my first comment here.

    Always follow your heart. Your heart, its desire to travel, is what helped you get to where you are now. No point in denying what your heart desires now. Everything happens for a reason. Have a blast, follow your heart.
    Justin Hamlin recently posted..2010 – The Year in a Word


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge