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paradise

Paradise in Puerto Rico

After almost a year as a nomad, I was more than ready for a some vacation. No more frequent, long and uncomfortable bus rides. No tours, no touristing or stress at all. I just wanted to stay in one and same place for a week. So after probably the quickest research ever in my life, I found this place called Rincon which seemed nice. However, to choose and prepay for one place for a week can be risky – because you don’t know whether you will like it or not. But as they say; high risk – high reward. I was lucky and was rewarded with one of the best stops so far on my trip!

Nice long beaches, crystal clear blue water, amazing sunsets and a very relaxed vibe. That’s how I would describe it. It was low season when I was there, but also the 4th of July a lot of American people were there and once again I met some really good people, that I will stay in touch with. Most of the people that I’ve met that I still keep in touch with on this trip, and will visit later, are either Americans or Australians. Which I don’t mind at all since that’s my two favorite destinations and I will visit them many times in the future. It also makes sense I get most friends from these countries, because are lives are somewhat comparable and we can relate to each other lives and there is of course no language barrier. Perhaps poor people in poor countries have even more interesting stories to tell and live lives that can be both good and interesting to follow, it’s not the same when there is a language barrier and also not much understanding for each other lives. I probably can’t understand how poor they are actually living and they for sure can’t imagine the luxurious lives we are living in the western world, even though my life is pretty average.

Puerto Rico is an own country, but it’s also American territory and you can easily see how it’s influenced by the US but also by the Latin American culture. A perfect mix in my opinion! Starbucks, Wahlgreens and other typical American chains every where (in the capital San Juan, that is). Some might find this not very charming, but I really love the United States so I couldn’t be more happy than having the vibe of the states and looking like a tropical paradise at the same time. It also clearly had Spanish influence when it came to architecture and of course, the language, Espanyol! I was actually stoked to be back in a Spanish speaking country, since my trip started in one and I spent 4 months in Spanish speaking countries in the beginning. I was positively surprised how good my Spanish skills were now and it was really funny to be able to have conversations with the locals in their language.

The Spanish speaking people, and Latinos in general, are for sure different from us vikings from Northern Europe. They are louder, speak faster, have more energy, charisma and take more place – at least compared to where I come from. I’ve actually been told a joke about Scandinavia a couple of times on this trip, and it goes like this: “There is no reason to learn a Scandinavian language – because they never speak!”. Of course a big exaggeration but I do think they have a point – we are in general more quiet than most other kinds of people. I’m not saying that is bad, because sometimes I miss quiet surroundings. Especially the fact that all over Latin America they play LOUD music everywhere and all the time.

Speaking of music, my next stop is known for being home of a specific type of music; reggae! With this, I shouldn’t have to tell where I’m actually going, but if you still haven’t got it, I’m going to the home country of Bob Marley.

Galapagos – does paradise exist?

Long white sandy beaches, blue skies and crystal clear blue water. Sounds pretty much like paradise, doesn’t it? Our dear friend Google claims that too. Just check it yourself – takes you 10 seconds! Has to be right then. Another place it also describes perfectly is the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean a two hour flight east of Ecuador. So is this perhaps paradise?

Galapagos belongs to Ecuador and consists of 18 islands of which I think 3-4 are inhabited. The rest are either very small or in the National Park of Galapagos which is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The reason for that is the marine life here. There are LOTS of different animals, both on and off land. Here you can find the biggest turtles in the world and a huge variety of birds. Of course also lots of fish like different sharks and even orcas. It really is an epic place when comes to nature and wildlife. The fact that Charles Darwin spent some time of his year here to study the wildlife is probably proof enough. And just as paradise, according to Google, the beaches and waters here were beyond everything else, and trust me, I do have pretty much to compare with when it comes to paradise beaches.

Alone one week in this so called paradise. How was it? At first it was a blessing to put my feet in the incredible sand and dive in to the ocean and let the sun warm my skin. Also a relief to get away from the buzz in the capital Quito. But to be honest, and I’m an honest man, you get tired of picture perfect beaches. At least I do.  Luckily for me I met some fantastic people to share the days with. People from Poland, Hong Kong, Canada, Germany and The United States all gave color to my stay on the islands. Especially the guys from the US, I will meet up with them later this winter in Colombia. Travel is not only about the destination, but even more about the people along the way. The good (and sometimes bad) thing about traveling alone is that you have to make new friends pretty much every day. Sometimes perhaps you feel that you are not soulmates, but easily can kill some time together – but sometimes you hit the jackpot too!

So back to the start; does paradise exist? I still choose to believe in paradise, but I’m pretty sure it’s not a place – it’s a state of mind. It’s a feeling, situation or a moment where everything is just the way it should be. Since it’s not a place, you can’t search for it.  So how to find it? I believe the best way to find things here in life is to stop looking – and things will eventually come to you. Go with the flow, and make sure you enjoy the ride. Both small and big moments. Probably you’ll have more small than big. So make sure you also enjoy the small ones and you will live a happier life. Find happiness in less. When was the last time you reminded yourself of how lucky you are to be healthy and free from decease? (Which I really hope you are).

Don’t misunderstand me; I had a blast in the Galapagos, but at the same time I’m glad leaving. Should I leave some travel tips it must be to have at least two weeks. Also make sure you have the Advanced Diving Certificate. Galapagos is more than just a beach destination. If you really want to see the unique thing about Galapagos, make sure you spend a lot of time under water. Perhaps take a 4-7 day boat cruise. I went on a one-day-cruise for some snorkeling and beautiful islands, which suited my budget well this time.

Diversity is the key for a restless soul like me. I had a return ticket to Guayaquil in Ecuador, but no plan from there. The plan was to go somewhere in Peru and I chose between a surf and party place called Mancora, an alpine destination by name Huaraz or the capital Lima. I chose Lima, without any high expectations.

By the way, sorry for late blogpost but the wifi on Galapagos was weaker than my tolerance of seasickness.

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Galapagos Tortuga Bay

Unique for Galapagos