It was the event that would solidify my love for solo travel. It was also the most intense moment of my entire life.
Before my travels began to Peru I was faced with a painful breakup, and the fact that the trip we had planned together would be faced alone. I decided that it was best to still go off on my travels, and it was the best decision that I have ever made.
I had been warned by all of my friends and family to be very careful, especially as a young North American girl traveling alone, and there was one day when I was neglectful, leaving my iPod out in my empty dorm room while I went sandboarding. A taxi driver had wandered into my hostel and up into my room, and had taken my iPod. While I was frantically searching for it, this man re-entered my room to replace the iPod he had taken with an older (and broken) model, which he had put in my iPod case with my headphones. Fortunately I caught on, and, with the help of an amazing receptionist, retrieved my iPod.
Soon after I would wish that this had been how I had lost my iPod.
For a week I traveled with a Peruvian fellow I knew named Pepito. We had stayed with his family in a couple of towns before heading north towards the jungle. In Tingo Maria we booked a bus ticket for 10pm to head up to Pucallpa. We boarded the very uncomfortable bus. It was immediately one of the worst busses I had been on in my month and a half in Peru, with seats that wouldn’t recline properly and a mess of garbage. No matter, though, it was all worth it for travel. I popped my headphones in.
Half an hour or so in a soldier boarded our bus. Since the region directly north of Tingo Maria was known to be a dangerous drug-ridden land, he was there to protect us. Strangely, we had to each give him a little bit of money for him to stay on the bus. I listened to my iPod and I passed out. The soldier would be long gone by the time I awoke.