Dirt and Delirium
Two days in, covered in sweat, mud, leeches, and blood, we rolled into a quiet mountain village greeted with smiles from our friends, inquisitive stares from the locals, and a delicious and much needed lunch. Even though exhaustion might have slightly overshadowed it, the feeling of accomplishment made it so we couldn’t help but smile back. A fast rinse in a pool of a stream left us plenty of time to unload our backpacks and start getting to know the kids who lived there. We made a lot of friends running around in the rice paddies and playing with balls in the village till long after the sun had set. That night we also had a special ceremony before dinner, where we had the incredible opportunity to meet a shaman, who shared with each of us a blessing for a safe journey ahead.
The next morning, sitting on top of a hill and watching the sky lighten over the rice fields, the clouds coming and going through the valleys surrounding us until the sun at last burst over the mountains we’d be climbing later that day, that’s what makes the difficult days worth it. Falling up muddy slopes and tripping down trails can leave you dirty and deliriously tired, but moments like that, and views like that are what it all comes back to. The world seems too full to talk about, and you take a breath that feels like it goes right to the center of you, and suddenly even if you’re 10,000 miles away from home, you don’t feel so alone. - Juliette Jamieson