A message meant for the Zika Virus carrying mosquitos of South America, but also applicable in social situations. I have no idea how I’ve gone my whole life and especially this trip without ever making it down to Central or South America. I’ve been to 52 countries now, including the ones literally on the other side of the world, and yet, I haven’t managed to get my ass down to the rest of the Americas. Embarrassing.
I flew back to the states for the holidays, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to pop down and explore the enormous part of the world I’ve been ignoring for 30 years. I use to joke with my friends about avoiding latin countries because my self confidence and ego wouldn’t survive being surrounded by women who do my brand of person better than me. I’ve never met a Brazilian bikini I didn’t love, but I’ve never met a Brazilian woman who didn’t make me want to kill myself. And as if that wasn’t enough, now there’s the Zika Virus to deal with. To be fair, I’ll take joint pain and fever over irreversible damage to my confidence any day. But all of that be damned… I’ll be landing in Peru before the end of the week.
This is the longest I’ve been "home” since setting out on my trip around the world close to 2 years ago, and while it’s been nice catching up with friends and seeing family, I’m ready to get the hell out of here. I’ve been splitting my time between Venice and Hollywood to try to maximize my exposure to the very few people I still care to keep in touch with. Time really does act as a natural sifter. I’ve gradually let people fall through the cracks and even though I felt bad about it at first, I saved a lot of money not having to Uber my ass all over the greater Los Angeles area. Maintaining relationships gets more and more difficult with age, and then when you add entire continents to the list of things keeping you apart, the odds of staying in touch are just not in your favor.
As I prepare to flee the country yet again, for another six month stretch (unless I die from the Zika Virus first) I have a similar feeling to the one I felt when I was flying home for the holidays. Home sick. Is it possible to be home sick for a home away from home? For a home that doesn’t actually exist in any conventional way? For a home that constantly changes? I miss the rush of traveling and experiencing new places just as much as I miss my friends and family when I’m off exploring the globe. The only thing I miss in both scenarios is good Mexican food. It’s non existent in the majority of the rest of the world and when I’m home in LA, after my last bite of burrito, smothered in Cholula, I already miss it.
I’m starting in Peru and plan to make my way around South America first, stopping off in Brazil for some Summer Olympic action and then probably head up to Central America and hit Cuba before that whole "truce” thing goes to shit.
As I approach my two year mark I have to come to terms with the fact that this journey won’t last forever, so I’m starting to form a list of "Must-See” countries before I run out of money. So far China and Japan are the stand outs, but I guess we’ll see where this next six months takes me.