Coroico is a small town in Bolivia which can be found in the subtropical zone of the North Yungas. It clings to the flank of a steep, forested mountain amid orange and banana groves and coffee plantations, with stupendous views, particularly to the southwest, where you can see the distant snowy peaks of the Cordillera Real. Most travelers make this a resting stop after biking down from the Death Road (read Jillian and Danny’s adventure on Bolivia’s Death Road) while locals venture here to get away from the city. You can walk, hike and bird watch in the countryside around Coroico.
I went here during the last days of my stay in Bolivia. I just finished a 4 day trip of Salar de Uyuni and wanted to decompress. It was an opportunity for me to find peace and quiet. My life was in a turmoil when I made this trip to South America last year. I was unhappy with where I worked and I was uncertain about my future in the US.
As a migrant, I was only allowed to be on a work visa for 6 years. I was on my 5th year when I found out that my employer can no longer petition for an extension. The original plan was to eventually sponsor for my green card which they could no longer do. Getting married to some random US citizen for a price was NOT an option for me. Although there were times that I thought this would be a quick fix.
To add to this, the economy was not in the best shape and most of the companies that started to interview me revealed that they were not able to sponsor alien workers. This sent me on a tailspin. I had gotten accustomed to living in the US and have considered it my new home. I was exploring my options: a) move to another country AND b) move back home. Neither were viable options because a) my line of work was dependent on getting work sponsorship and work was scarce AND b) moving back home was admitting defeat plus to be frank earning in dollars allowed me to fund a lot of my travels. I also felt that I would be leaving a lot of things unfinished.
I felt so trapped and so uncertain during that time. On a whim, I booked a trip to South America (Peru and Bolivia). It may sound strange but I find that traveling brings me a sense of clarity. It allows me to step outside of my life and examine it objectively. I observed that most of my personal milestones have happened after a big trip.
|Reflecting in my hammock|
Since this one was about to end, it was time for me to form a resolution. I had to have an action plan for when I get back to the US. Sitting on that hammock, I asked myself: “What do you want to do?”. All I could think of was that I wanted to travel around the world and write. This has always been my dream even before I accidentally ended up in the US (this is an untold story that I am in the process of writing). It’s a dream that I have been putting off and one that I have built a lot of insecurities around (ex. not enough money, hard to get travel visas, afraid to do it solo etc). At that moment, I was able to comprehend that I was the only one holding myself back from achieving this dream. In fact, if I ended up without a job or visa sponsorship it would actually be a sign that it was time for me to set off on that RTW trip I have been pining away for.
Fortunately, when I returned to the US I got offered a great job complete with a green card sponsorship here in San Diego at a company that I love! (Don’t you think that opportunities seem to come out of nowhere after you get clear about a goal?) Yes, I’m still in the US and working which is perfect because I have time to pursue my dream (especially on saving the money part). That time in Coroico was a wake up call for me to stop being insecure about my situation and start creating the life that I want. NOW. I was on an auto-pilot expat existence for the past few years but now I’m on the move with renewed intent and purpose. I’m more conscious and more proactive with my life.
For example, I’ve done a lot of work identifying and clearing myself of limiting thoughts and behaviors. I have also taken responsibility of my finances by following a budget, saving money and eliminating debt (also looking into investing). More importantly, I have been writing again as evidenced on this blog. I am actually committed to building a successful and inspiring travel blog because this is part of following my dream.
I’ll be on the road in my RTW trip in the near future. When this happens I will look back at my time in Coroico and know that it was when I officially started my journey.
I’m interested to know if any of you have ever achieved clarity or some type of important personal realization during a trip?
Oh and more photos of my journey:
|News reporter at the minibus station covering the transportation strike|
To get to Coroico from La Paz you take a bus or minibus (van) from the city’s Villa Fatima district for $4.25 USD. After 2 1/2 hours you will arrive at a small terminal across from a football field.
|View of the infamous Death Road|
I was sitting beside an old woman who was knitting when I took this. And I thought to myself: “should she be doing that while we’re on the most dangerous road in the world?”
|Arriving in the little town of Coroico in the Yungas|
|On my way to the hostel|
It was a steep climb to the hostal.
|Sol y Luna Eco-lodge|
I love this hostal and I highly recommend it! It is rustic and quiet. They have a camping site, 2 pools, a hot tub, yoga/meditation/massage center, cafe, internet, laundry service and walking trails. Their cottages are also clean and charming. I treated myself to the one below.
|My cozy cabana in Coroico- had it all to myself!|
|The view from my patio|
You can hear the sound of the forest up here- there were birds, cicadas and monkeys. My favorite thing was to lie on the hammock and watch the clouds move across the mountains. During the night the stars were out in full force…
|It took me 30 minutes to make this fire!|
I also liked the beer.
|This reminded me of the Traveling Canucks and their beer series.|