Independence is an odd thing: It’s something we all yearn for and spend frustrating days dreaming of, but sailing across Lake Titicaca from a town we couldn’t remember the name of, to a town we had never seen before; our newfound independence was practically tangible.
Rugged specks of Bolivia in the distance were a sharp contrast to the tiny floating island we moored up to after a good two hours. We were met by the President of the reed community who explained how this tight knit group survived together with precedents around democracy and gender equality that would make many nation states jealous.
After indulging in a ride on their “Mercedes Benz” boat and peering into their reed homes we boarded the boats again destined for who knows where. A bump woke us up as we moored to find a steep climb onto another island that was thankfully accompanied by soup and delicious fish and the sounds of a fiesta at the top.
The sea was calm as we descended past sheep with pompom necklaces and through clusters of tin shacks. The descent continued until again the bright curve of Titicaca emerged, smiling around the curve of a broad sandy beach.
Rattling tent pegs soon found firm ground as we set up our tents in groups of two, hurriedly untangling guy-ropes for a shot at a swim while the sea was still warm. I can’t lie we soon found that warm was overly optimistic, but as a few of us ran into the gentle waves any doubts were overshadowed by the sheer freedom of the cold air, colder waves and broad horizon.
Tea tonight has been burgers and chips with thirds quickly rolling in.
The stars are incredible and I cannot wait to unroll my sleeping bag, knowing that the independence we all yearned for has finally arrived and is moulding us all for the better.
– Emily Capstick