As we sat in a wi-fi zone in La Candaleria, between museum visits, we met a kindred spirit. Jerry from California is the first American we have met in Bogota. He had just flown in from Quito, Ecuador after having visited Machu Picchu in Peru and the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador.
After talking in English for a while we found ourselves going in the same direction and ended up visiting a museum together. We then headed to lunch where Jerry shared his story and graciously treated us to lunch! As we parted ways we exchanged emails and I had to laugh when he wrote out JJJJeronimo! Yes, his is email is the same name as our new favorite Colombian ice cream. A coincidence? I’m beginning to think not.
Jerry travels full time as he represents several international artists and sells their beautiful artwork in high end galleries primarily in the western US. It was this trip that made him realize he had lost his sense of adventure. When had travel become just about work? As it so easily happens, years had somehow turned into decades. It was this trip that got him thinking about where had all the time gone and about all of the places he still wanted to visit.
Jerry said that it really hit him, when he was sitting on a bus heading to Machu Picchu. He saw all of the young people strapping on their backpacks to take the four day traditional hike. He said, “Wait a minute, I should be in that group. I’m not 67”!
When Jerry was young he was a distance runner and had spent time hiking the Sierra’s in California before there was Ultra light hiking gear. Think of the 70’s with big 60 pound backpacks. I found it amazing that 48 years later he could recall the sense of accomplishment that came from hiking up Glenn Pass, a pass that left it’s mark on Ol and I as well, when we hiked the John Muir Trail. He also told stories of backpacking through Thailand and about how life got in the way of his love for adventure.
Then we shared our story. It was a trip to the Galapagos and hiking in the Sierra’s that made us realize that we wanted to travel and see the wonders of the world while we still could. We want to hike Machu Picchu with the 20 and 30 somethings and not ride the bus with the older tourists.
However at the rate we are eating, I’m afraid we may end up on the bus!
Our chance encounter was a reminder that we could have been Jerry in ten years had we not taken the leap and decided to trade in our safe and predictable lives for a life of adventure. Jerry also inspired us to live our lives with few regrets. He is already making plans for his next adventure, Thailand and Istanbul. Maybe our paths will cross once again.