With my eyes closed, I listen to the calming sound of the sea. My back is on the soft, warm sand. Some salty water drops are slowly making their way from my belly down to the beach. I`m about to take my last jump in the Atlantic Ocean (for now). I gaze at the famous Ipanema beach, the buildings, the taxi`s, the buses that are rushing past. The high green mountains in the background who, like an older brother, embrace the city with their calm and strong appearance. And of course Christ, the 38 m. high wonder of the world. Looking down at the city like a friendly, kind-hearted father. His arms wide and open. Built on top of a mountain, where you can see him watching over you from every angle of the city. Strategically put there in the hope to change the minds of any (potential) criminals and lower the high rate of crime in town.
Pablo drops us of at the border. To get back north, we have to travel via Chile. As always, he greets everybody on his way with a warm embrace and a short chat. For a short moment I think he must know almost everybody in Argentina. We get our passports stamped, while Pablo catches up with all his friends at the border crossing. Now the time truly comes to say goodbye to our special and endearing friend. “Saturday I`ll fly to my house in Buenos Aires. I`ll wait for you there with my wife, children and grandchildren.” We promise him to make it to Buenos Aires and say our farewells with a tear and a smile.
The year 2015 is coming to its end. I`m already on the road for more than a year now. Time flies when you`re having fun. What a time it has been, especially the last two weeks on Galapagos. Absolutely unforgettable. I never wiped away so many tears of joy in my life. What a richness in wildlife. Young sea lions, curiously gazing at our camera`s. The nights we spent sitting on a bench in the harbor, enjoying the clumsy movements of the sea lions coming to shore after a hard day of work at sea. We biked along a dozen giant tortoises on island Isabella. Drank wine on the beach together with other backpacker on Christmas Eve. We`ve seen massive sea turtles swimming past, elegantly, almost ballerina like, pushing themselves forward with their flippers through the water.
After a burn-out it was time for a change. I quit my job, sold my stuff and bought a one-way ticket to the Dominican Republic. What was supposed to be a 4 month adventure turned into 2,5 years and counting......
Photo by: Vanessa Marques Barreto