Eglė in Lima 
“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” 
– Aldous Huxley

It has happened pretty much everywhere I go and everywhere I have been. Out of the blue, you meet someone under whatever circumstances and you guys just click. It might be just you and one other or 4 of you. It might take a little bit longer just depending on the time you have in the same proximity, but inevitably, you began to talk and realize commonalities. In either case, you know that you’ll try to enjoy your new company despite the known brevity of the situation.

The most meaningful aspects of these friendships are usually temporary, short-lived, and in many cases non-existent after that initial encounter. That’s just something you have to get used to. Its the nature of the state of travel and is inevitable. I experienced this as a soldier, although it may be for longer periods of up to 3 years at a time. You’d serve together at one duty station, but at some point, one of you gets transferred to another place or leaves the service entirely. If you’re fortunate, you’ll see each other down the road again.

Eglė in Lima 

I’m was at my first AirBnB earlier this month. I’ve had an account for years now, but have never actually stayed at a place using that service. I’ve almost been exclusively I saved $160 for my two week stay compared to the hotel I had originally booked. I have my own room with a private bathroom, which is my usual requirement, but this place has about 8 available spaces in this house and we have the option to join everyone for breakfast.

For me, this is where I learn the most. These numerous encounters allow for a more various exchange of ideas. I’m learning more about the countries my fellow travelers are from, as well as getting input on my own travels. I’m in Tumbes this very second because of a German girl I met in Bogota back in November who’d already been here. This place was not on my radar at all and right now, I’m writing this post listening to waves crash on the shore mere feet from my bungalow.

Eglė in Lima 
“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” 
Anthony Bourdain

I think its also important for me to listen to the world view of perceptions about Americans. This is an opportunity for me to be an ambassador for my country. Sometimes I might be able to change a negative perception or just clarify them. Other times, I can do naught but listen. Case in point, Cartagena. I met a Canadian couple who expressed themselves with relation to the US calling Canada a security threat and raising tariffs back in September of 2018.

Andres, Moses, Sasi, Plaza de Armas, Lima, Peru

About two weeks ago, someone asked me why do Americans hate Mexico. We talked about this for a bit, and I have been honestly dismayed. Right now, the overall perception, at least as far as my travel experiences have taken me, have been the world is basically wondering…”WTF, America?” I’ve been happy to address their questions. I try to do so in the most, I guess you would call it, diplomatic, means possible. I’m never interested in a heated debate. I won’t engage in that. Meaningful dialog is all I will entertain.

Recently, while staying at an AirBnB in Lima, I got the privilege of meeting Andres from Colombia, Sasi from Finland, Eglė from Lithuania, and Moses from New Jersey. I enjoyed getting to hang out with these guys and learn from them. Moses and I even found a Popeye’s (fried chicken)! I spent longest with Eglė. She was there for another week after I arrived and then she packed up her motorcycle and followed her heart. Talk about an amazing woman. Absolutely fearless, but maintains the ability to see a good spirit in people. I think she has faith in humanity still. Talking to her, I was able to offer insight on perspectives important to her and she reciprocated by opening my mind to alternative possibilities that I had been searching out. That is the epitome of the exchange I am referring to.

Andres, Sasi, and Moses, Pisco Sours are a huge Peruvian tradition

For about 30 minutes, I talked with a Croatian woman who I could tell was heavy into yoga. You could definitely tell she is a highly perceptive woman. After a couple of discerning observations, a few intuitive well-targeted questions, I had to ask what she did for a living. Yep… Therapist. I could only guess a good one at that. She called for an Uber soon after to catch her 41-hour flight back to Croatia. Thirty minutes is all it took for an indelible memory.

Btw…I’m just a kid from a small country town in Texas. I now know TWO women named Eglė from Lithuania.

Sasi, Andres, Moses doing Cebiche where the locals do Cebiche!