The Mini Stuffed

Updated: Nov 27, 2018

This blog post from my time in Bolivia is an oldie but goodie that’s been stuck with me this week after my dear friend encouraged me, while teaching this week ,to create that back to school giddy with excitement childhood feeling.

As I dwelled on the HOW to recreate that feeling of newness that’s missing in adulthood I realized that usually that feeling only comes to me when traveling, and in the kind of travel that completely takes you out of your comfort zone. Hence the re-emergence of the mini stuffed. And so I pass it on to you, how can you re-create that feeling of back to school excitement in adulthood? When was the last time you felt it and how can you get there again?

This week my goal is to live life so authentically that I can’t help but feel nervous, probably uncomfortable, maybe scared and definitely refreshed.

I rode my first mini bus (or as my mom calls it, a mini stuffed) to go downtown. It’s really just a mini van with a sign in the window that says where it’s going. You go out to the Main Street and wave it down. When I got in , the entire back row was open so I sat there… Big mistake. As we headed downtown and collected people , there was at one point 15 people in the mini stuffed and I was the very last sardine packed in this thing. I was prepared to tell the driver that I would like to go to Plaza De Estudiante. But he never asked. Instead when someone wants to get off they say in the quietest whisper ” el esquina por favor” ( the corner please) somehow the driver hears them and the mini stuffed abruptly stops , it doesn’t pull to the side of the road because there are no lanes here . It just stops and the person gets out and pays at maximum 2.60 bolivianos which is about .37 cents. But I start to worry, how does he hear these people with their whispers? There is a group of teenage girls talking non stop, the couple next to me is talking and the women in front of me is yelling into her cell phone. Then it starts dumping rain , it’s so loud on the roof of this metal death machine that I now know the driver will never hear me and I will die in this mini stuffed. The windows are all fogged up so I keep wiping them with my sleeve to see if I recognize anything. Eventually I see it ! So I yell ( because I honestly don’t know how else he would hear me) ”PLAZA DE ESTUDIANTE.” The bus comes to a halting screech and everyone turns to look at me with raised eyebrows like “why is she yelling? We are trying to have a conversation here.” Six people have to get out in order to let me out. Oh and during the ride we only hit one car. The driver cursed him even though we hit him and then drove off.

My point you ask? We don’t need to move to Bolivia to get out of our comfort zone ….to try something new, with bright eyes and fresh perspective. We can find that same exhilaration by testing our limits, chasing our goals, and saying yes to every opportunity. And as always its never about the actual outcome it’s about the journey. It’s about the adventure. So this week, say YES, get uncomfortable and take a ride in a mini stuffed.


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