The group was tired, dirty, and ready to get back to Rurrenbaque. After three nights of sleeping in the jungle of the Amazon, everyone was eager to take a shower and sleep in a real bed. The work we did in the Charque community was fulfilling and we were satisfied with what we had accomplished, but nonetheless it was time to go home. We hiked twenty minutes from the community school where we slept to the beach of the Rio Beni where we would depart by boat to Rurrenbaque, looking forward to the calm ride out of the jungle and back to civilization as with which we were familiar. As the group arrived on the beach, however, something was obvious. There was no boat waiting for us. It was a few minutes past our scheduled departure time, but there we were, standing on a desolate beach, miles away from anywhere at all. Time passed, no boat arrived. My white shirt had turned all different shades of dark from the sweat, mud, and dirt I had lived in for four days. I smelled like a dog. My water bottle was almost empty. Yet underneath the beating sun, I sat content. Not just content, but at peace. I had found the adventure I had been looking for. I felt like the characters of books I had grown up reading about. On that day, after almost two hours on the beach, I felt like the romantic vision of adventure I had idolized all my life. At that point, I was my own protagonist of whatever story was about to unfold. When the narrow, wooden boat finally came to ferry the group back to the comfort of Rurrenbaque, I wasn’t sad to leave. I was only glad to have felt the heat of the sun, smell my rank clothes, and have spent time in the jungle of Bolivia.
13th of July, 2019