I’ve been missing it. So much. That feeling when you step out from the air-conditioned airport somewhere far away in a southern country, and you are welcomed by a warm summer breeze. The warmth feels so good after a long and cold winter in Europe. And then there is the smell of summer, a scent that you can only feel when you’ve been in the cold for a too long time. You just have to stop for a second to breathe and take it all in. Ever since I was a kid and travelled to Spain every winter, this smell of summer at the airport is one of those things that always makes me happy. It comes with a thrill of excitement, start of holidays, start of an adventure. You all know how much I loathe the dark, rainy and chilly winter we have in Paris (or even worse, Finland!), but the only reason why I would maybe not want to live permanently in a warm country, is simply that I would not get to experience this joy that I am feeling now.
This is it then. I feel overwhelmed; strange but somehow happy. 199 days (200 when I land), 5 countries, 74 posts, 80 300 words, 1520 pictures. I want to thank you all for reading this blog and for following my travels. Your likes, comments, inquiries and support mean the world for me. Should you have any questions regarding the places I visited, volunteering, or anything else, keep contacting me, I'm happy to help. I hope you have enjoyed reading my stories as much as I have enjoyed writing them.
As authors often do, I wrote this last chapter long ago, when I was traveling in Cuba. Back then I promised myself that I would keep an open mind for changes and for other opportunities that would certainly come along. I reminded myself that I was free to do exactly what I wanted, that I wasn’t tied to anything or anyone. That if I wanted, I could keep traveling to exciting places, and I could find a job anywhere in the world.
But somehow I knew it all along, that I would not change my mind. And I haven’t. On this day 199 of my Caribbean life, there is really only one thing I want to say. As always, one picture tells more than thousand words, and I think this picture speaks for itself.
I'm going home.
I have a strange relationship with Miami. First of all, I don't seem to get out from South Beach because I like it so much. Second, I'm always sick here (pfff). But even if I'm sick I always manage to have a good time. Miami has already become to me like a hideaway from the real world, and a break between trips or chapters in my life. Last time it was to escape to the civilisation for a couple of days between Jamaica and Cuba, and I really made the most of it. This time, I'm here to take a break and clear my head between Cartagena and Paris. It is good because I don't think I could have handled arriving from Cartagena directly to Paris. Miami is my safe haven, I don't really belong here but it's nice to be somewhere in between and not to think about anything before facing my new life.
Friday night, time to relax, in the mood for going out for a drink. But... where? In your home town or traveling to a new city, the problem is always the same. There are so many bars around, and yet there aren't. You read about nice places on your way to work, you pass by nice places on an evening run or when walking your dog. But when it's time to go out, you suddenly can't think of anything, even less of anything new or exciting (and that is exactly why I always end up in La Perle, no seriously I just like it too much). Well I'm about to make your life a lot easier, at least if you happen to be in one of the 7 cities that made it to my list.
I must admit that I'm glad I decided to stay in Miami for a couple of days instead of just changing planes. It feels so good to be back in the western civilization before flying to Cuba and then to Colombia. I’m staying at a place they call a “luxury hostel”, on South Beach. It is pure heaven to sleep in a good bed, be in a clean place and take hot showers. Moreover, they offer a free ride to the airport and complimentary drinks every evening so it is quite luxurious here.
I'm Emilia, Finnish-Parisian, a recent Master's graduate. I'm currently traveling around the Caribbean and on a volunteering mission in Colombia. I'm passionate about writing, music and different kinds of sports. I can't wait to discover new places and cultures - and share my adventures with you!