Note: I wrote this note when I first arrived in Trujillo, after the craziness of getting to Chavin de Huantar, the CouchSurfer in Huaraz, and countless hours spent in buses (see my previous post for more details about that). I was on the verge of an emotional breakdown, and seriously considering changing my return flight and coming back early. I even contacted several people back home via phone and instant message, because I just really needed level-headed, unbiased advice and perspectives. But my mom in particular gave me some very wise advice, and in the end I decided to stay. By the end of the trip, I saw God work in such an awesome way, and I was sooooo glad that hadn’t given up when it got hard. But still, there WAS a time when it was very very hard. These were my thoughts in the middle of that struggling. Even though they’re not particularly happy, I think that they’re important to share, important to keep in mind when things get difficult and you want to throw in the towel.
When people see my pictures from my travels, they are often jealous of the opportunities that I’ve had. I’m sure my writing style often doesn’t help, as I generally do my best to make them as upbeat as possible and only focus on the positives.
But I think it’s important to point out that what you see in the pictures and read in the writing isn’t the whole story. What I usually try to leave out are the countless hours spent in buses, the sleepless nights in freezing rooms, the rude natives who don’t like foreigners in their country, the lonely days filled with homesickness.
Those are the details that are overwhelming me right now. The trip from Cuzco to Trujillo, where I am now, was absolutely grueling. 40+ hours in buses within the span of 3 days, and I’m absolutely exhausted. Perhaps I can chalk it up to that exhaustion, but this morning I was seriously considering changing my plane ticket and coming home early. I was just done with it all.
But (at least for now) I’ve decided not to leave early. And here is why. The only other time in my life when I was this homesick, this tired, and this just over it all was when I first arrived in Korea. And that turned out to be the single most incredible year of my entire life. The people that I met, the things that I learned about God and myself, the insights into life and fun cultural experiences that I had while in Korea are absolutely priceless and completely irreplaceable. And I think that the same can happen in Peru. I really believe that if I’m willing to listen, there are amazing things that God can teach me about Him, myself, and people in general while I’m here. I just need to be willing to slow down and hear what He’s trying to tell me.
So that has been my prayer since I started struggling with all of this – simply that I would be able to just be still and listen. It’s so easy to miss important life lessons because we’re too busy trying to figure out the lesson on our own, and refuse to just be still and listen to the teaching. While I am certainly enjoying seeing the sights of Peru, this trip – and really traveling in general for me – has never been solely about being a tourist and seeing cool sights. It’s about gaining more insight into the world around me and the One who created it. And if I can do that, I think staying here the full 3 more weeks that I have left would be worth it. I’m excited to see what God has to teach me!