Not a Change of Heart but a Change of Plans

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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.


Join the Conversation

  1. As they say “you gotta do what you gotta do”, right? Looking forward to reading more of your dispatches from down there.

  2. Lisa E @chickybus says:

    So glad you’ve decided to stay in South America! I lived in Ecuador a while back and it was life-changing for me.

    I think it’s wonderful that you want to take your time vs leaving for another continent.

    Buena suerte con tu viaje!

  3. India would have blown your mind and rearranged all you know as normal. But your heart might not have liked it.

  4. 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!


  5. 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?

  6. Oh to travel without an agenda or an itinerary! What a great sense of freedom! Follow your heart!

  7. Congratulations for listening to your inner voice and choosing to follow it. I’m sure you won’t regret it. 🙂

  8. great decision i reckon! que la vaya bien!

  9. turkey's for life 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. 🙂

  10. Camels & Chocolate says:

    That’s amazing! I would have done the same. Happy travels…

  11. Corinne @ Gourmantic says:

    “Should” is a word that is best banned from the vocabulary. Follow your heart and intuition. It knows best 🙂

  12. Adventurous Kate 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? 🙂

  13. 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 !

  14. Good on you! The sense of relief says it all and is perfect affirmation of your decision 🙂

  15. 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.

  16. 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….

  17. 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.

  18. Change of plans – that’s a freedom you can enjoy (and practice)!

    Glad to hear you’re staying and enjoying it so much.

  19. Laurel @Expat in Germany 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.

  20. Jill - Jack and Jill Travel The World says:

    I think either decision will lead to wonderful stories and adventures. You can’t go wrong… so why not follow your heart?
    Looking forward to hear more of your adventures in South America.

  21. 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!

  22. 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!!!

  23. Wahooooooo!!! I love this post. Good for you for following your heart. When will you be in Argie?

  24. Well, I think I am headed that way this summer…… perhaps we will run into each other! (if you are still there and following your heart past this next six months 😉

  25. Eatlaughloveanon says:

    Profound message coming soon…. You have done the right thing by listening to your heart. It’s just v late here.

  26. 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.

  27. I felt the same sense of relief when I decided to skip Vietnam. Just because it was in southeast Asia, didn’t mean I needed to go there. Never gave my decision a second thought!

  28. 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. 🙂

  29. It’s that sense of relief that makes you know the decision is right. There is so much to see there and you will continue to be immersed in Spanish…which will be lovely! Congrats to following your heart!! Cheers!

  30. Samantha King says:

    Good for you! I am glad you are listening to your inner self, and now feel relieved. 🙂

  31. Good for you for trusting your heart and following your instincts. It’s a courageous thing to throw your plans to the wind like that. I hope you’re well rewarded.

  32. Shannon O'Donnell 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 🙂

  33. Sounds like a good decision. We love India but I’m a firm believer that you shouldn’t leave a place until you are ready. There will be time for India later on.

  34. How amazing that you have found your piece of home! I am so hoping that we can meet up when we start our adventure. You inspire me lady!

  35. Follow your heart; and just in case, remember that we have plenty of couches for surfing in Costa Rica.

  36. 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

  37. Lindsay aka @_thetraveller_ says:

    AH! You’re the worsties! I wish I stayed in SA for my whole trip to be honest. I am SO jealous. Good decision though, those other countries arent going anywhere and if you’re enjoying SA that much, then embrace it!

  38. John in France says:

    Go for it! Enjoy!

  39. 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.

  40. Wow. Great choice. India will always be there!

  41. Michael Figueiredo says:

    I agree with everyone else– follow your heart! India will always be there so you can discover what it has to offer you at a later date. Take your time and savor South America while you’re there now 🙂

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. great decision…because I’m selfish and enjoying hearing about South America as I’m going next year 😛

  45. eat-laugh-love-anon 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.

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. You’re my role model, Ayngelina! Such a brave, bold decision! And amazing, to live life without a plan…

  49. Aww girl. It’s good to follow your heart! I mean you can always visit India in the future. If staying in South America is what makes you smile now then it’s a great decision. Plan can change but your heart is what matter!

  50. 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. 🙂

  51. Bravo, Ayngelina, that’s my girl. I make last minute decisions too and never once have I regretted making them. Your heart directs your travel. India won’t go away, so enjoy Southamerica as long as you want.

  52. A Tramp Abroad says:

    I think it’s always best to listen to your gut, heart, whatever you call that little voice that is always looking out for you. Plans are made to be broken – and you can always change your plans again. Good for you!

  53. Awesome! South America is absolutely amazing, and if you’re loving it there, why leave? India will always be there, and by now you know that it’s impossible to go everywhere you want to go on a trip like this. Some countries/cities/places just have to wait until next time.

  54. Matt | YearAroundTheWorld says:

    I was thinking about slowing down a bit too… who knows, maybe in 6 months you’ll be able to afford another 6 months!

  55. Go/Do what your heart takes/tells you. Enjoy the journey 🙂

  56. This is your trip, you get to do whatever you want. India will always be there.

  57. Todd | Todd'sWanderings says:

    Glad you listened to your heart. I’m sure you will end up where you are supposed to be. India will still be there another trip.

  58. Jozef Maxted says:

    Looks like you we still be out there when I go then! At least I know I will be able to rely on you for goopd tips! 😛

  59. Nice to know you can do whatever you want, isn’t it. Good luck – and South America is definitely a continent I would like to see more of.

  60. Excellent decision, Ayngelina. It’s infinitely better to take a deeper dive into one culture than to skim across many.

  61. Kirsten Alana says:

    I think you should always follow your heart, if it’s in South America … then stay! You won’t regret it later I don’t think. Can’t wait to read the stories you will have to share!

  62. On the plus side, India’s not going anwhere! 😉

  63. Christy - Ordinary Traveler says:

    I completely agree that you have to follow your heart and do what feels right. India will always be there for you to see another time! I imagine this is how I’m going to feel once I get to S. America! 🙂

  64. So you were feeling melancholy before you then made your split second decision…so how did you feel after that?
    If you truly want to understand yourself, who you are, then begin to understand those feelings.

  65. 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.

  66. Nick Laborde says:

    Hell yeah! Living life on your terms, Rock it out!

  67. I love Jason’s post…he sums it up beautifully.

  68. 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 🙂

  69. Good for you! You truly live in the moment – and that is what life is all about! Enjoy and have a wonderful time! Happy Holidays!

  70. I don’t think there is a wrong decision that you can make in this case. Just do what feels right. India can always happen at another time.

  71. I think if you feel “immediate relief” then you’ve made the right decision! Enjoy

  72. ciki/agentcikay says:

    rock on Aynge you gutsy chick! whatever your choose, you’re gonna be OK because your a positive person and that sort of energy only brings the good stuff around. good luck babe;)

  73. 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!

  74. Dave and Deb says:

    Good for you! You stay in South America and enjoy yourself. I am glad that you are feeling better.

  75. Cornelius Aesop says:

    Yay you, enjoy your trips I can’t wait to backpack South America. I’ve only been to Peru and Brazil and that was enough to get me interested.

  76. Yay for doing what you want! I am always up for big changes in itinerary – or none at all 🙂 I think ours changes daily!

  77. Justin Hamlin 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.

  78. You are the owner of your time, and in any case you can always change your mind and head there later!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Very true. I like the idea that I am the owner of my own time.

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