I signed my freedom today. Black ink on white paper, the document expressed both in Slovak and English my will to terminate my contract next October.
I had known it for a long time. My gipsy soul had been trying to get rid of these office clothes for way too long. Before I even went to Costa Rica, I knew that change was in the air. Every big trip carries big changes along, and this time it was maybe the biggest of them all. I came back to Slovakia with one word in my mind. One word, four letters, and a whole new adventure inside it: Peru.
I quit my job today, to go to Peru. I came back from Costa Rica with my adventures intertwined with those of the other backpackers I met while traveling. They told me about their trips that had taken them through Central and South America, and from all those stories the country that stuck into my head, for no special reason, was Peru.
The idea of hiking Machu Picchu, and of being surrounded by Peruvian music and colors started to develop into my mind, and before I knew it I was buying the latest Lonely Planet edition online. A week later, when my book arrived, I did it. I went back to my computer, looked for the right form, filled it with all the information and signed.
I called my manager and told her that that was it, the moment that we both knew would eventually arrive had come. I left the quiet room almost levitating, in a status of partial numbness. It’s done, I did it. Fuck reason, fuck economic stability, fuck appealing career prospects. I am going to Peru. What I am going to do there, I have no clue whatsoever. I will travel, I will volunteer, I will see. As usual, it’s a planless plan. And that’s exciting and scary at the same time. But I need to do this, I need to do it for me, and I need to do it now. Life is way too short to wait those extra three months – just three months! Can’t I wait until my contract expires? No, I can’t. So, 21 months after touching Slovak ground for the first time, I am going to leave.
I have traveled the country, and now I know its mountains, its hills, and its rivers. I have learnt the language, its unpronounceable vowel-less words with letters that don’t even exist in my alphabet. I have immersed in the local culture, participated in folklore festivals and dancing evenings, and I have learnt how to drink like a Slovak.
I have mixed feelings for this country, so different from mine, so much colder, but at the same time so welcoming. I have made friends for a life time, and I even moved my residence here, in Bratislava. But it’s now time to take my home elsewhere. And like a snail with its shell, once more I’ll put on my backpack, and once more I’ll start walking new unbeaten paths.