The trip is now over. I am back in Zurich, working, with my previous boss. I guess, I do appreciate her since she is genuine and does not make you feel like you are someone below her to get some stuff done. Even though I still do a lot of admin stuff for her, it is fine. I feel appreciated.

Again to the purpose of this travel. What did I write again in the very beginning? Ah a lot of questions. Did I meet a lot of people and observed a lot? I did and I tried. Towards the end, maybe less, but maybe it is because of the overload of the last 6 months. Have I tried to convey my feelings? Not quite to be honest. Especially looking at myself now, I am thinking a lot about some things whether I should say or not. I don’t want to scare people way. But for the negative feelings, I hold them back less. And I do not know whether this is a good thing or not … At work, in the house that my parents live .. I shouted at people where usually I would just let things slide through .. 

Maybe I found things that I really don’t like. But have I found out what I enjoyed during the whole travel? Which are the best days? Many people have asked me which place is the best where you have been to? I always replied: every place has its own charm, and every place had its own effect on me, also depending what I intended to do. Myanmar had a special place where I was able to discover the poor side and tried to volunteer and meditate. Playa Blanca’s planktons was amazing, Laos was a chill country. Peru is touristic and Bolivia was cold and a bit sad. 

I liked many people on the road, but rarely I felt like there is a connection. Maybe sometimes I was not too talkative, we never talked about real topics. We really stayed in my head? Mei, who lost her husband definitely did. She was also interesting in terms of what she did and that she believes in doing what is right. She digged into the things that she wanted to know about. Maybe a part of me is still feeling like to get those small confirmations that people wanted to have me as a part of something … Wout was a good travel companion .. and really anybody else? As for HD, I barely remember how I felt that day we met. And I can’t really follow how I end up in a situation like this. Is it because she always texted me and that made me feel more for her? maybe because she also read the same books I did when we were going through the break-up phase? Is it her smile that the moment we met? At this point, I can’t really understand fully how I feel today and may I am just unsure or anxious about the uncertainties in the future that I don’t have the ability to influence. 

So, what do I believe in? I want to build meaningful relationships, where I can trust others and others can rely on me as well. This takes time and time that you need to spend doing things together. Be it work, love, or friends. And other things? I am in general still curious, but looking long term, I am still not that sure where I wanna go to or accomplish. Job wise? not ambitious, financial wise? not ambitious either. Being in Switzerland does not give you the kick of wanting to cover your ass .. somehow you can always manage to do that here. Take a big corporate job if you want to retire easy … in the end, currently, there is one thing that I want, but it is taking too much space in my head that it has become a little bit out of balance. Balance, which was like the key to everything. And I need to re-find it. 

In the end, it feels like so many questions unanswered. It feels like I did not even accomplish that much with my travel. And maybe again, I am just in a moment where I am in a tunnel and don’t see the light just yet and I need to keep running … 

Stop 43: Salar de Uyuni


My last stop on this trip, salar the uyuni. I never thought I would come that far in South America. It feels kind of a bit rushed since I have skipped some places such as north of Peru. Nevertheless, here I am. 

I took the overnight bus from La Paz to Uyuni and would head back with an overnight bus again. Apparently, there is nothing to do there anyway and this is the suggestion people give us. Alternatively, some people arrive with the morning plane and then start the tour right away as well. 

There were mainly 3 well known agencies doing tours in the salt flat. I took the Quecha Connection since the comments were a little bit better than red planet and the other one whose name I can’t remember. 

I arrived around 5 in the morning, got picked up and delivered to a cafe where you can have a hot drink and it is just slightly warmer than the -10 degrees outside. In the cafe, there are some Israelis, I met some British girls, and 3 young Swiss guys, who were playing some board games. They just finished the military service and is travelling with the money they got from it. These 3 guys happen to be in the same group with me afterwards so we headed to the agency. 

At the agency, people start to come in. There was a French couple, Evie from England, Zoe from Australia, Steffi from Solothurn and studies in Basel (that makes 5 Swiss guys in the group), an Australian guy with a older peruvian woman dressed in tiger patterned pants. Also there was an Asian girl (forgot her name too but let’s call her Jane) who works in California, another guy (forgot his name, let’s call him Joe) from Australia who knew Zoe from previous group travelling. 

I ended up sitting with the Swiss guys in the same car. The tour guide we had is a short or maybe bolivian average height guy. He talks in a way that sounds like he is the best guide, the agency is the best and he has experience some shit and that’s why he is the best. (often when you claim to be the best is suspicious) During the 3 days, you talk to him a bit and find out more about his experience he had in America. He never told us much, but when you kept asking, he said his dad gave him a choice back then whether he wants to stay in Bolivia to join the army or to go to the US. Then he worked in a large hotel (5 star I assume). If that is what you think that makes up substantial experience gain in your life, yes it sort of is, but it is not everything. There is always so much more to see and to experience. And often deep down there, the more important things are not the surface that you can observe, it is the trust that you can build to get to understand how people behave, how people live their lives. 

Zoe is 26 and she seemed easy to talk to. Evie is cool, has nice legs but you figure out soon that she is one of the younger ones, just like the Swiss guys. They were trying to make fun of Steffi, but well, their “game” was pretty poor. They made some jokes that Steffi did not understood. And the conversation is then over. The other couples are rather quiet and we did not talk much. And even though I was in the truck with the Swiss guys, I can’t remember whether we talked about much important things .. 

The first part of the trip was a train graveyard where old trains were abandoned which delivered salt and other minerals (I think the silver mine down there is one of the biggest in the world). I saw some guys climbing the locomotive and one guy in the end slipped and fell to the ground. With his head down. I heard clearly how his neck cracked and some people hurried to check whether he is conscious. I felt like that guy just died since he collapsed when he hit the ground so I hurried to the hut to get the guides. As it turns out, the guys were just drunk and people chased them home … 

Drinking in Bolivia is actually a problem. It might be due to the high altitude and thus cold weather, according to the guide. But of course, there are parts of Bolivia which is not cold. Such as Santa Cruz. Economics is going well over there, but I did not have time to make it over there. 

Another story was actually the hot bath from the volcano heated underground water. People bought some wines in the town we were and being able to open a bottle became a challenge. One of the swiss guys managed to do that and became the “hero”. Then the conversation went on much smoother somehow and people started to get interested to ask questions about what they do and so on. Maybe it was the lack of alcohol, or it was lack of the warm water before, but I had the feeling, in general, people would only be nicer to you when they some benefit, or when they had some benefit from you … Is that the correct thing to do? Thinking selfishly, it is … but shouldn’t we just be nice to everyone upfront without prejudice? But often, when we see someone, in the first 5-10 seconds we already made a picture in our mind imagining whether this guy is weird or not … 

The part where the other guy fell off …
In the flats
Red lagoon, some plankton which absorbed the sun light and turned this color
A group pic
Morning scenery from the place where we slept the 2nd night.
somehwhere on the last day
and the border zone to argentina and chile

So that actually concluded my 168 days of travel. I made my way back home via La Paz, a flight stopping in Cuzco to Lima, from Lima to Bogota and from Bogota via Madrid back in Zurich. Billy and some other friends surprised me with an arrival welcome when I landed. So we gotta visit them in Helsinki over the NYE. 

That was it … Me, wanting to finish the trip to write more stuff about what have happened in the mean while. I remember someone said once, when you write diaries, if it is meant to be seen, then, you are not writing them for yourself, you are writing for those who you want them to read … In the beginning I really tried to write what I think, but I realized some things still do affect how you phrase words. Sometimes, even I would be a bit more angry about some things, I would not write it in that way … So just to be clear. The next posts are supposed to be read, by someone, but I just don’t know when it is the right time to say that … and it would also help me to sooth my nervous mind a little bit … 

Stop 42: La Paz

Somehow I feel a bit of an urge to finish more. Because I want to write other things after the trip actually …

So I arrived in La Paz with a day bus which ran on pretty high altitude and the scenery was quite nice. The bus even went on a ferry to cross the lake.

In the end, I just walked around a bit in La Paz and did the death road. The downhill bike was quite fun. From 4600m down to 1600m. Even though some places might appear narrow, it is not that scary, only when you look down. During the trip, there was 2 American girls, Banjamin Alexander (a techno DJ who is fairly known, knows Anja Schneider personally), a Dutch couple and other 2 guys from Germany, and Italy I think. Of course, Ben appeared to be the most interesting since he has a life that not many people have. He would go to Burning Man and build a stage there, maybe tour a few places in South America and use the money to travel, maybe has a house in HK and tour in Asia for a few months. Yes, you can spark some interests from other people but in the end, will this last?

In the hostel, there were 2 girls from Norwegian who stayed in my room for the last 2 days. They did not even know where Switzerland was … But they are nice people. In the night, they actually ordered a shot for me, since I just had my 30th birthday. The conversations were pretty lame though, I feel like I am worse and worse in small talks and just in general to keep some conversations going. Maybe, I am just thinking about stuff that were too deeply related to what have happened in the past. About how I should live my life or how my attitude should be.

For the final game of the World Cup, there was a mixed Bolivian and UK guy beside me. I briefly remember that he did some finance studies but now is change his subject. To be honest, I can’t remember that much anymore. He seemed easy to talk to, and we briefly touched topics that may not appear too “oberflächlich”.

La Paz itself is an interesting city. Within the valley, cable cars are actually the mean of transportation here. It took you to another place pretty fast and provided you with a good view.

I also went to the more wealthy zone and had a good Japanese dinner and went to watch a movie in the cinema by myself, which was not that bad at all. Normally you don’t talk while watching the movie anyway, but it is just a good thing to provide a topic that you can talk about after the movie with the person you went. (this part actually happened after returning from Salar de Uyuni)

I think in the end, given the cold weather and me at my end of the trip, I was not feeling that social. I rather enjoyed wandering around in the city than talking to other people.

And this time, I am lazy again. No pictures.

Me, going somewhat a bit crazy the last few days. My brain is weird and is just thinking too much …