“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, ”and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”
As every good philosopher knows, there can never be one beginning. Was it the day at university when Tess overheard me talking about field studies in Bolivia and I caught her with the phrase are you coming with me? or was it when I, in Lisbon, was sweating over the application for the scholarship to fund our research? Or when we booked the tickets? Maybe it was even earlier, when I was in sixth grade and started studying Spanish. Or we could start by yesterday, when we headed out in the light of dawn to leave Sweden behind for a while.
The plan was to go Copenhagen – London – Miami – La Paz – Cochabamba. It worked out fine until we got to Miami, where we were met by ridiculous cues to get through passport security. With a tight schedule, we kindly asked if there was another way and got a sweet shout back. Nope. The dude who took our fingerprints on the other hand was all jolly and surprised when we told him that Denmark and Sweden are two countries. He told us Swedes are all nice because they like heavy metal and essentially, you are just like us Americans!. Oh fabulous. Running, running, got to the gate which was empty. What? Oh that’s right, I set my watch according to the air plane, which was still one hour behind. So we missed the flight.
23 hours until the next flight to La Paz. Great. We tried to sleep on the floor for a while, but it was just too cold. So after chatting with my mum (it was 8am at home, 3am here) she convinced us to take into the hotel om the airport. Very good decision, which we were just too tired and irrational to make on our own.
So here we are now. Tess is sleeping and I’m awake. So many thoughts running through my head.
This country, where the most fundamental right is freedom. Where giving your fingerprints takes a good two hours, research is biased, state money is spent on war overseas, healthcare is for the rich, and the equality is among the lowest on earth. This idea of freedom… Where to be free is to carry a gun and drive a car, to be able to step on anyone to get ahead in life. I really don’t want that kind of freedom.
Instead, I feel my longing back to that marvellous continent stronger than ever. So many memories from there that I’ve had to push aside to be able to lead a normal life in Sweden, that overwhelm me now. Freedom to me is having all I need strapped to my back and the road ahead, waiting, patiently. The driving force is my curiosity. I long for the language, the people, the Andes, the thin air, the green colour of the hills and trees.