What's the secret to ALWAYS being prepared?

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What's the secret to ALWAYS being prepared?

Sometimes no matter how much we practice for an interview, a tennis match, or a presentation, we still find that we are not prepared enough. ​My trip to Bolivia was one of those trips, I could have never prepared for enough.

"Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing"  ~Helen Keller

So high...

My last day in Bolivia I relaxed in my Airbnb, 17 flights up and enjoying the view but looking forward to going home the next day. Reflecting on my trip, it was far from a walk in the park.

It started the moment we exited the plane. My friend immediately began to feel ill from the high attitude. The airport is one of the highest airports in the world at 13,323 ft. 

To give this a bit of perspective that's more than double the height of the mile high city, Denver. Coca tea (made from the same plant as cocaine), Sorojchi pills, moving slowly and staying hydrated are considered the best defense to altitude sickness. But sometimes that is just not enough.

After sipping on Coca tea in the airport cafe, my friend (who is from Bolivia but lives in Miami) began to feel worse. So we headed over to the airport health clinic where they gave her oxygen.

After a bit we tried to leave, but on the way out she fainted twice and we agreed to have an ambulance take us to our Airbnb. She anticipated after a nap, she would likely feel better. Since neither of us had slept much on the redeye, we both decided to take a nap.

Startling Noise Awakes Me

I woke up to a crashing noise! A tea mug was near my bed...I ran into the other room and found my friend on her knees choking and gasping for air. After a few seconds she began to convulse and then she passed out unconscious.

Not knowing how to dial out to an ambulance and with minimal grasp of the Spanish language, I was frantic. I finally managed to get an ambulance which arrived after another 30 minutes or so and began to give her oxygen.

Over the next few days, we were in and out of 4 hospitals/clinics, 2 ambulances, and also in the middle of all this, there was a transportation strike. As my friend continued to struggle, we both agreed with the doctor that she should end her trip as soon as possible. After only a few days in Bolivia she was back on a plane to Miami.

Sometimes coming home is the best part about your trip. For her this was definitely the right decision. As soon as she landed in Miami she started to feel better. 

Alone in Bolivia

After she left, I stayed in Bolivia on my own. Although I had never planned or had a desire to travel alone in Bolivia, in the coming days I found myself feeling quite comfortable and connected in this country. 

Coca Tea & 42 Dubonnet Lip Gloss. Two of my favorites for this trip. Coca Tea for the altitude and lip gloss to keep my lips moist in the dry air.

Yikes!! Attacked by a Dinosaur!

I left La Paz and took an overnight bus to Uyuni. There I visited the Salt Flats (Salar de Uyuni), several lagoons, valleys, and volcanoes. We climbed to a height of 15,000 feet, where we reached a bubbling crater and walked through the steam. We saw pink flamingos, walked across the border to Chile, and bathed in a hot thermal pool (outside temperature: -5 F). Our accommodations were bare minimum with no heat. It was freezing! We drove over 1000 km in 3 days and the views were stunning! 

Brrr...it's freezing in the Salt Flats!! My fingers were frozen even with gloves!

The animals there were huge and scary! lol!

I stood on top of my lip gloss to escape!

I was even scared of my own shadow...

Jumping for joy, I made it through the first day.

The next day a sexy Llama stops to say hi.

A pink flamingo strolls through the blue lagoon...

We pass a Dali painting on the way...

And I'm blown away by a boulder with a window that had been carved out by the wind.

The mountain views were stunning! We were already around 14,000 and those mountains were still so tall!

Escaped Safely!

After 3 days, I headed back to La Paz for my flight out. I gazed out of the window of the 17th floor Airbnb and took in the stunning view of La Paz. I now understood what my friends who had visited Bolivia before meant when they called it "a rough trip". Sometimes there is nothing that can prepare you enough for what lies ahead.