Why do we travel? What compels a person to leave the familiar comforts of home to strike into the unknown?
For most, I think, it’s pure boredom. You sit one evening absently eating mac and cheese and watching the news and think maybe a new exotic locale with winding dirt paths and spicy foods might cheer you up a bit.
For me, it took a job loss, a bad economy and the general sense that I had nothing to lose.
Regular readers know the story. I was a reporter at a U.S. daily. I was laid off. I sunk into deep despair, careening into a downward spiral of self-pity and Daily Show reruns.
Then, in the deepest dark corner of my gloom, a shining beacon appeared: A job offer in the dusty Latin American capital of Lima, Peru. I took it without question. The next day, I started this blog. In my inaugural post, I posed the following question:
… was it random chance that I found a job in Peru while idly browsing international job listings, or was it the grand narrative arc that would bring me from rock bottom into something amounting to self-actualization?
Well, some time has passed since then. What’s the answer?
Let me begin with a small caveat. Those closest to me know that I can be a heartless cynic. I don’t believe in ghost stories or hear voices in the wind. I hated The Notebook. I think things are what they are, and nothing more.
But even the hardest realist might get a little choked up at what I experienced — that on my first night in Peru, riddled with the anxiety of a new unknown place, the very first person I met in the doorway of my new home would become the one I’d spend my life with. That her smile and laugh reinvigorated me and filled my heart with joy. That one year and four months later, we would be getting married in the only country we’ve known together.
It’s a story made to star Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, but it’s real life. Destiny or random event, I don’t really give a damn. I’m happy.
Thanks, Peru, for a great year.