I felt sick, I felt overwhelmed, I felt relieved.
Is it really possible to have so many feelings hit you simultaneously?
The truth is ‘yes’
The dominating force was that of being relieved, relieved that I would not need to spend another waking hour thinking about the Darian Gap, no longer would I need to contemplate crossing it; it was over and I could finally retreat back to my home and normal life.
That is when it sinks in, back to normality, no more planning my next move, wondering who was there to help me and who was there to cause me harm.
Normal. Every. Day. Life.
Was that it? The pinnacle of my life was now nothing more than a memory. All I had gone through, just a series of photos and several blogs on this website?
Of course, it is, that is the case with every vacation. But this one - what a memory to have!
If you have been following my journey across the Darien Gap, you will be well aware of the, erm, ‘excitement’ I had along the way.
The experience was indeed very humbling and I was fortunate enough to meet some wonderful characters along the way.
For the most part, 80% of the people I met could not have been any more accommodating in assisting a foreigner on his travels. They were happy to help in some way, shape or form, whether that be to direct me to a different area, a safer passage or to warn me that I was being followed.
And those that were following me, fall into the 20% of the people I care never to meet again. These are the people who saw me as an easy target, not the stranger to help along his way but the stranger they can capitalise on financially.
They, for their own reasons, had a lot of aggression and frustrations toward a Western person coming into their country.
Why was I here? What do I want from them? The fact I may just want to experience their country with no ulterior motives never crossing their minds.
Another thing I never want to relive is spending my time travelling barefoot - yes, barefoot.
My boots were almost obliterated! They were by no means new but I was hoping they would see me through this trip. You could say the Darien Gap became their last hoorah.
Walking around with no boots and my feet being in a terrible state I was treated by some people as that person they really did not want to be around.
Two very long days passed and finally, the mini shop opened. I was able to get some new shoes on my feet.
Who knew that a $12 pair of sandals could make you feel like a brand new man?
The Darien Gap is, in itself, a massive adventure and as I mentioned the pinnacle of my life so far. That said, I hated every single moment for different countless reasons.
I mean what is there to love about being eaten alive by insets, the skin coming off my back and losing toenails - a dream vacation obviously!
All that aside, my thoughts now are how to process it all. Relive the good, forget the bad or take it for what it actually was? A once in a lifetime adventure.
It will take me time to go through every moment, every emotion, good and bad, but I will get there.