Getting Lost in the Experience of Travel
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”
– Henry Miller
Hi Joriki Lovers!
Hilary here from Life of Travels, here to talk travel.
Last month we talked about challenging ourselves to be a traveller instead of a tourist – so really allowing yourself to experience a place instead of just see it. I’m hoping to expand on that a little more today with the personal account of how I became completely lost in the experience of Guyana.
First off, let’s get our geography straight. A lot of people don’t know where Guyana is. I’ll be honest, when I first heard about the country I had to look it up on a map. Turns out it’s a wonderful little country situated in northeastern South America – just east of Venezuela and north of Brazil.
Okay. Now that we know where we are in the world, let’s talk about how I got there and why it was awesome.
I went to Guyana to complete my Master’s in Biology – shout out to Miami University.
While I had previously traveled to other places in the world for this program, Guyana was the first where I truly didn’t know what to expect and I really couldn’t imagine what it would be like before I got there.
I found myself walking into this journey with a lot of questions, but an open mind.
I decided I would just put myself out there, ask questions when necessary and just immerse myself in whatever was happening around me.
Just like in yoga, your mindset can change how much you get out of your experience. The open mindset I adopted was key to the amazement that would follow.
Imagine being dropped in the middle of a country you’ve never visited on this tiny little plane that landed on a grass runway. If your reaction is panic, you’re not alone. But I took an alternative perspective and thought – Whoa! This has never happened to me before and it may never again. How different. How cool.
Keeping my smile, a group of us ventured to the beautiful Iwokrama River Lodge where I fell in love with the nature of Guyana.
How could I not?
A boat ride down the river looking for different species of monkeys and macaws would make anyone grin from ear to ear. Of course there were just as many frightening creatures as there were cool and beautiful, but consciously making the decision to not let creepy crawlies impact my impression of the incredible rainforest left me with a positive impression that I will cherish forever.
So, rainforest adventure – Check!
Time to check the savannah. We piled into what I guess we’ll call a truck.
Yep. That truck.
We drove down some “roads”, all the way to the savannahs of Surama.
And my, oh my, there’s no place like Surama.
While the nature of Iwokrama pulled me in, the people of Surama made me never want to leave. Having the chance to play citizen scientist with the kids of the local environment club, make bread with the women in the Cassava Factory and hear the stories of farming and cultural change from one of the village’s oldest members solidified Guyana’s place in my heart.
I left Surama with an understanding of what it was like to live in Guyana. The environmental and cultural challenges they face, the hard work necessary to grow and make food for your family, but most importantly, the unwavering joy and positivity shared by all.
In the short time I was there, I was truly lost in Guyana. I was taken in by her people and amazed by her nature. I understand that the experience was once in a lifetime, and I may never have one quite like it again. But everytime I go someplace new, I open my mind and let the unknown takeover, always chasing my next great experience.