Leaving a city where I have been for a while is always one of my least favorite parts of traveling. On one hand, it means I am going home. I will be able to see family and friends and eat my favorite American foods again. On the other, it means knowing I am going to have to say goodbye a city that has captured my heart. As I walk down the streets, I try extra hard to observe my surrounds. I seem to think that if I stare at the street graffiti for an extra second, I will somehow be able to remember it better once I return home. I see all the shops I promised myself in the beginning I would go to, but somehow, I always convinced myself “next time”.
Walking around La Paz for my close to last time has made some things stick out to me. I noticed the confidence I have gained walking around the city. The first week I was afraid to walk out my door by myself, and now I have no qualms about traveling alone to meet with friends or grab dinner. This is not the only thing that has changed since I first arrived. Initially, I thought four-weeks would be more than enough time for me in this city. It was incredibly different than anywhere else I have traveled previously, and I did not know if I would be able to handle the Bolivian way of life. After a month of testing myself and pushing personal boundaries, I feel like the city has grown to be a part of me. Even though I have to leave now, it is like the old, cliché saying goes, “You can take the girl out of La Paz, but you can’t take La Paz out of the girl.”