Every piece of travel literature i read always advises people to go traveling without expectations. But how can I do that when I am returning to some of the same places. I sort of know what to expect in Colombia and I cannot help but hope I repeat many of the same great experiences. Like last August, I hope to meet interesting locals and travelers, party in great clubs, relax on tranquil beaches, and explore beautiful and bustling cities for hours on ends. But every time I return somewhere for a second time or try to repeat experiences it is never the same, understandably. Often times, I come away disappointed because the new experiences do not meet my expectations. My first year of overnight camp when i was younger was always filled with meeting new friends and having a fun time. But when I would go back another year, many of my friends did not return and I had trouble meeting new ones.
This is something I worry about as I return to Colombia for a second time. Will my expectations and experiences last year make me want to control all aspects of my return in an attempt to repeat many of the great experiences. Will I go to place and not feel intrigued by what seemed so foreign and exciting last year? Will i stay at the same hostels and not meet many interesting people because I will be distracted by wanting to meet the same people I did last summer? Will I not enjoy the nightlife as much as I did last august?
I have spent hours on the internet reading travel blogs and looking at my old travel photos each day for the past 8 months. If you ask any of my friends or family they will you that I mention something about Colombia about every 5 minutes, even if it has little relation to anything we are talking about. I read up on the news in Colombia each day. More so than news about the United States. I found out about the Colombia/Ecuador/Venezuela conflict almost instantly and am following the situation with the cousin of Colombia’s president who sought asylum in Costa Rica for supporting the paramilitaries. What I am trying to show here is that Colombia has become a hobby for me like cars are a hobby for others.
I really hope to keep my mind open and welcome new and different experiences as I return to Colombia. I am a future oriented person in that I tend to have a vision for how I want many aspects of my life to be. But travel is the only thing that allows me to come close to living in the present and fully enjoy my surroundings. Only time (14 days) will tell if Colombia lives up to my expectations. Or if once I get to Colombia and I will be able to forget or ignore any expectations I had. If not, there is always Peru and Brazil which will be completely new experiences.