When 25-year-old Dan Robinson from St Leonards got tired of his 9-to-5 existence he did what many of us only dream about; he handed in his notice and took off on a four month adventure in South America. Here the one-time Filsham Valley student shares some of what he saw, and felt, during his travels, taking in some of the most beautiful and most desolate sights in the world
Travel! Why do we do it? What purpose does it serve? Escape, a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, new experiences…Travel means something different to everyone, we all travel our own unique path towards our own unique goals. So why did I do it?
I was working full time for a national company here in England and just found something wasn’t clicking in my life, I was missing something, so I took a drastic step, I handed in my notice at work.
I decided to discover what it was I was missing and that took me to Latin America and Colombia. I had no idea what I was going to do out there or how, but I had a hostel booked for one night and my journey began.
The first morning I realised I was waking up in a country where I spoke none of the language and had no idea where anything was. On my own I had no option but to strike up random conversations with the other hostel guests.
Within an hour I was discovering places to visit, building my network with people who felt a little lost – just like me – and I even found a travel buddy for the first few days.
I immersed myself in the culture, learning a little of the language, the history, the values of the people and I began finding my place in this utterly beautiful world that was so foreign to me.
The days started of well, visiting the top of Monserrate, having to acclimatise to the 3,000m high city. The days turned to weeks and weeks to months. I travelled to Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil, experiences people tell me they can only dream of…why dream? Why not go and make it happen, take a leap, I implore you!
I had found a home in Latin America that I had never found working for different companies or experiencing different places in England. I had become a ‘person of the world’.
I ended up spending about a month in Colombia, visiting beautiful cities on the Caribbean coast like Cartagena and Santa Marta. I hiked to water falls up in Minca, visited coffee farms in Salento, partied in Medellin… and all this time my Spanish was improving every day.
I danced salsa with the locals and spent time with Colombian families appreciating their way of life, the food they enjoy and the way they show affection to those important to them.
My next stop was Quito in Ecuador, what a city, full of history and more happy people!
I found myself making new buddies once again and we worked our way up to 5,000m looking down on what felt like the world.
It was like a new lease on life, I had freedom to explore and took the opportunity to walk, to challenge myself and live free.
As I road tripped down through Ecuador with a couple of my travel companions we stopped in this beautiful little surf village near the border of Ecuador and Peru. I took the time that evening to look out over the sea, watching the rolling waves sweeping across the beach, the breeze blowing, my world was serene.
The journey continued, onwards to Peru and the wonderfully spiritual Machu Pichu, each step allowed a moment more of reflection and the direction of the life I wanted to live. On reaching the summit and really feeling the energy of the mountain top city you can lose yourself in the aura of it all, learning of the history of the Inca people along the way.
When you lose yourself, body, mind and spirit, you connect to the world in such a deeper way, the moment I set foot on the salt flats of Bolivia, hundreds of kilometres in each direction of barren land, you appreciate the moments of utter magic, the pink flamingos living near the red lake, the ever reaching whites of the salt lake, an island of cacti, it puts everything in perspective.
On the final part of what ended up being my four month journey I ended up in Rio de Janeiro, you can not be in a more spiritual place, the people will sit an hour before sunset on the bay looking out as the sun sets and literally applaud the beauty of the moment, all together, one mind, it’s a truly special moment.
Travel helped me discover who I really am and what truly makes me happy.