We met in person the night before and decided as a team that we would haul-ass as fast as we could in order to make Carnaval in Oruro, a journey that we documented over the last few weeks. The journey wasn't always smooth, the roads were tricky and frustrating, and we did lose one of our team members only a week in. Overall though, we saw a side of Bolivia that most people don't have the opportunity to. We were able to find tiny off the beaten path towns, stop whenever we liked and learned what it takes to overcome hostile environments.
We did end up coming to Chile a bit earlier than originally planned, but the toll that the journey had taken on us was pushing us to our limits, and I don't think any longer would have been fun. Our biggest problem in Bolivia was finding gas, and when you are driving your own car, that can be incredibly scary and frustrating. More than once in tiny towns in the middle of nowhere, we would be knocking on doors and asking if anyone had a few liters to spare us so we could push on to the next small town. The dirt roads that prevailed also put strain on our driving skills, and we got stuck more than once in soft sand pits that hid along the way.
Besides the tough parts though, we got to learn a lot more about each other and how we handle stress. Joe had to finally get some muscle relaxers towards the end to ease tension headaches he was suffering with from tight muscles in his neck. Luckily the ladies at a Uyuni farmacia had just the right thing for him. I learned that I drive too recklessly on dirt roads, and that sometimes desperation to get somewhere before dark should be mediated with some caution of the driving conditions.
We made a new friend who I'm sure we will be seeing more of, her calm presence was a godsend, but it was always funny to watch her squirm when we were dealing with cops. We are lucky that the three of us got along so well, since we spent almost every waking hour, everyday for weeks in each other's company, mostly in the car, driving. We learned that we all have things to learn from one another, Joe gave NayNay lessons on her camera and how to take better pictures. Naynay told us from experience as an entrepreneur how to start a small business, and taught us a lot about treating people respectfully. I would give lessons as I cooked to NayNay drawing from what I learned in restaurants, and I think we are all better for having met one another.
Overall the trip was a great success, although it ended up being more expensive than we planned on. We all fly to Colombia in about two weeks, where our adventures will continue to the warm beaches of northern Colombia. It's fun to do something so unexpected and unusual, and was a fun twist to our already wild adventures in South America.