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Lovely pastries, Ushuaia.

A year since Tulum – Aspiring to Change – Change.

A year ago we celebrated Shreesh’s last birthday at Tulum, the Mayan site gorgeously overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. How long ago that seems! We have traveled much since then, both physically and emotionally. We have visited the rainforests of Costa Rica and Panama, snorkeled in Honduras and Belize, paid homage to Darwin at the Galapagos Islands. We learnt Portuguese in Brazil, video editing in Panama and practised macro photography in Guatemala and Peru. We met people and cultures and friends. And as our trip comes to a close, we feel that we have grown a little.

After a year on the road, Shreesh said “I was hoping to change in a big Che Guevara type way, but that has not happened for I still remain a humble and optimistic Ernesto.” Then along came Argentina. It is ironic that the country Che Guevara left was the one that forged changes in us. And it is also fitting that the catalyst would be Argentina’s neighbor and an ex-enemy for many years, Chile.

Wherever has Shreesh been for the past year?

Click here for larger pictures.

The reason for change can be directly attributable to Ovidio Lagos,an Argentinian author and journalist. While visiting Chiloé in Chile, we came across his travelogue about the island. A mix of history, legend and stories of the common people, the account is not only fascinating reading, but also an example of a type of travel which we have since aspired to. A form of travel where you look beneath the surface, connect with the people of the land and keep ears and eyes open for their stories. And although it is wonderful to visit the famed glaciers of South America, the penguins of Antarctica and the awe inspiring Iguazu Falls, cities like Valdivia and Talca have more meaning for us and just as enjoyable for their stories.

As our journey comes to a close, we feel satisfaction that the year and a half on the road wasn’t just self indulgent travels. We have learnt many useful things but we feel a fundamental change, Argentina has given us the the confidence to dig deeper, a new perspective of observation and the drive to be more engaged. This is why of all the countries we have traveled through, Argentina remains our favorite, by far.

Happy Birthday, Shreesh. What a year its been!

13 Responses to “Happy Birthday, Shreesh – Older and Changed?”

  1. Suhasini Taskar says:

    Shreesh and Neena,
    You guys have come a long way during the past several years, not just including this journey. Invaluable experience accumulated over this period makes you mature persons with optimistic and constructive outlook towards life which is required at this difficult economic time. Everybody is watching helplessly their retirement portfolios dwindling down. Folks, old and young are loosing jobs left and right.
    Hopefully the worst is behind us and better times will follow soon. I wish you all the best.

  2. abeline says:

    Happy birthday Shreesh. And congratulations to you both for having reached Tierra del Fuego! Cheers to your health and happiness, and living life to the full!
    Much love from Abeline.

  3. Ram dada says:

    Happy (belated) Birthday Shreesh:

    And hearty congratulations to you and Neena for having completed this long and arduous journey.

    Following your travels has been highly educative for all of us lesser mortals, vicarious couch travelers too!

    Are you guys tired or are you guys tired?

  4. Aniruddh says:

    Hey Shreesh mama:
    Wish u a very Happy Birthday….
    Congratulations to you n Neena mami on completing this journey… what seems to be more of a dream to many!
    Alongdrive.com has pretty much given a lot of people the opportunity to be a part of this journey and learn a lot from it.
    Wish u guys great luck ahead and look forward to meeting with u guys soon…

  5. Shreesh says:

    Hi Abeline –
    Thank You so much for your continued good wishes!

    Ram Dada –
    No, we are not tired! We have had our ups and downs during this voyage but currently we are in one of the ‘up’ phases. There are so many interesting things to discover and explore. Buenos Aires is a very rich and fascinating city, already we have at least three projects to research and learn more about!

    Aniruddh –
    Our motivation in creating the Alongdrive.com website was to share our journey with family and friends. It has been that, but it has also pushed us to get more involved with the countries that we visit. Who wants to yet another boring descriptive account? We have been trying to bring interesting history and stories that we discover along the way. At times we have been successful, but there is still much room for improvement! That is what keeps us going, the desire to get better and to improve.

  6. Kels says:

    Happy, Happy birthday! Thanks again for all your time and advice with shipping our car!

  7. Dalva says:

    Dearest Neena and Shreesh,

    Congratulations! What a year it really must have been, but I guess it was worth every minute, wasn’t it? And of course many changes are about to come! It has been so much fun “following” you on this great journey. And thank you very much for having had the opportunity of being (at least for a few days) part of it.
    Best luck on the return!
    Lots of love,

  8. Neena says:

    Hello Dalva,
    It is bittersweet being at the end of the trip. It will be nice to see all our friends again, but we will miss very much the novel and serendipitous experiences that every new day brought us. We will feel a twitch to be in the car again, driving to a different, unknown place.
    The other day we visited a tier shop. Now normally it is very boring going to a tire store to fix a puncture, but it now it evokes the feelings of being on the road and I feel comfort in this.
    One day we will be back on the road. For now, it will be nice to go back to a routine and rest a little.

  9. Shreesh says:

    Kels –
    Good luck to you in getting to South America! We’re going thru the second shipping experience in Buenos Aires!

    Dalva –
    Thanks for hosting us! Overall the experience has been a positive one, now it remains to be seen how we reintegrate back into society.

  10. Dalva says:

    Unfortunately or not… things come to an end. But I sure think that all things happen for a reason… I wish you had been here during a “better” moment in my life – things were messy, I was way too emotional, etc – , but if I think a little hard enough, I simply loved every moment of it !!! And do hope we meet again!

  11. Dalva says:

    Oh, and I also miss our talks!

  12. Neena says:

    Dear Dalva,
    We loved being in Panami and appreciated the time you spent with us and the help you gave us.. It was great to be a member of your friends and family circle. I do hope that one day we will be able to reciprocate!
    Until next time,

  13. Shreesh says:

    Dalva –
    It was wonderful of you to take time out to be with us during that stressful period. Hopefully all of you are well settled in Petropolis by now!

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