Denver International Airport – Denver, Colorado 4:51pm local time
Well, it is officially over. I am writing from Denver which means I’m back in snow land (there’s currently a blizzard happening outside with barely any visibility) and officially on my way back home. Even now I can’t believe that just 48 hours ago I was swimming in turquoise waters on white sand beaches and snorkelling with the starfish and just 12 hours ago I was still in a tropical climate where shorts and t-shirts were daily wear and +32º was the normal daytime temperature. But alas, we can reminisce together while I get everyone caught up on my final 5 days.
From Bocas del Toro my plan was to catch an overnight bus to Panama City and then proceed straight to Guna Yala a.k.a. Kuna Yala (previously known as the San Blas Islands) – complicated, I know. All of our travels worked out as planned and even though it was a long journey, thanks to comfortable buses, some naps along the way, and multiple changes of travel modalities, it didn’t seem too long before we arrived in the tropical island paradise located in the Caribbean Gulf of San Blas, Panama. A 4×4 vehicle is necessary to reach the boat port and then it’s just a wet boat ride to paradise.
The islands are all small and local laws prohibit foreigners from owning land in the territory. Though accommodations are not luxurious by any standards, the outside scenery is why anyone comes to the San Blas Islands. Crystal clear turquoise waters, palm trees, white sand beaches, and hot sunny skies are abundant across the islands and days are spent soaking up the rays, taking dips in the temperate sea waters, and playing with the starfish (responsibly).
After two nights on the islands, I returned to Panama City for my final two nights abroad. Panama City is much more cosmopolitan than any other city in Central America and I wish I had actually have more time to explore but I had decided that I was going to spend my final day visiting the Panama Canal. Though it wasn’t something I thought I would find particularly interesting, I likened the idea of not going to see the canal similar to that of going to Rome and not seeing the Coliseum…possible but unacceptable. Also, the canal had a drastic effect on Winnipeg’s own growth and economy when it was built (http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/analysis/the-panama-canal-and-the-decline-of-winnipeg-272262601.html) so I felt a bit of a personal connection to it. Needless to say, watching the mechanics and process of ships passing through was actually a lot more interesting than I thought it would be and I’m glad I checked it out.
Last night I reunited with my Israeli friend who I had met in Bocas del Toro and travelled to San Blas with. We had a beautiful dinner, shared a bottle of wine, and good conversation and then said our goodbyes and with that, my journey came to a close. Travelling alone has been interesting. I did not learn anything monumental about myself (the way the blogs make you believe you will) and I actually rarely actually felt alone. That being said, I actually was looking forward to going home more so than I have on other trips however, that didn’t lessen the sinking feeling in my stomach as I approached the Tocumen Airport in Panama City this morning to begin my journey home. So, with that being said, here is a list of things I am looking forward to seeing/doing when I get home as well as a list of the things I will miss most about life on the road (and yes, I realize some of them contradict themselves).
Things I am looking forward to at home:
- Seeing my family and friends
- All of my animals (especially GC!)
- 2-ply toilet paper
- Drying off with a normal towel (not microfibre)
- My bed
- No longer having to handwash underwear
- Warm showers
- Not living out of a backpack
- Painting my fingernails
- Doing my hair & makeup properly
Things I will miss about travelling:
- Hot & sunny weather
- The simplification of living with minimal things/stuff
- Beautiful beaches
- Meeting new people and hearing their stories
- Experiencing something new everyday
- Cheap beers!!
- Not doing my hair & makeup
- The boats – all the boats.
- The accents
- Sunsets over the water
And with that, another journey is wrapped and over, as is this blog until either Kelsey or I embark on another adventure. Thanks to those of you who kept up with me along the way. Can’t wait to see you all!