I felt more at home at the hostel of El Refugio than I had at any point during my trip to Bolivia. Reason being was the mountains. I had spent a week in the small riverside town of Rurrenabaque and had a great time, hours in the airport of La Paz and felt mostly the uncomfortable symptoms of altitude sickness, but it was in El Refugio, whose exact geographical location remains unknown to me, where I was most content. Not necessarily happiest, that’s not the right word, but satisfied with where I was. The mountains surrounding the hostel were towering, covered in dark green greenery, but still left massive expansive of red rock faces exposed. Looking out at these damn large rocks, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Asheville, North Carolina, not my true home but where I go to school. The school which guides me, stresses me, teaches me, controls me, loves me. In less than a month I will return to my school, my school where I face the typical struggles of any other high schooler. I will return to the homework and the tests, my friends and my future. Through it all, I will remember the Bolivian mountains. Bolivian mountains which reminded me of Asheville, Asheville, where mountains lie. In those mountains of western North Carolina, I will see the mountains of Bolivia. Those mountains will last longer than anything I will ever create, feel, experience. The mountains will be my rock. My rock to Bolivia, to Asheville, to past, present, and future.
14th of July, 2019