On arriving in Bolivia’s Santa Cruz, on the tropical side of the country, I was excited to be able to sleep without having to envelop myself in my trusty sweatshirt for the first time since arriving in Bolivia. Once that excitement wore off I started looking round for things to do.
However following the EU referendum I found myself overwhelmed with depression, the sort of mood where you want to just hide under the bedcovers with a tub of Häggen Dasz and chain-watch the new season of Orange is the New Black on Netflix. Then you realise that this is still Bolivia, they don’t have Häggen Dasz and the internet is too painfully slow for streaming videos. So I just had to get on with it.
Well the referendum has been good for one thing; it has taught me the (surprisingly high) number of my Facebook ‘friends’ who have turned out to be closet racists. I have culled three people. I do not want to wake up in the morning, open my laptop and find posts about how (murdered MP) Jo Cox ‘deserved to die because she worked for Oxfam and put foreigners before her own’. Or how people like me are merely ‘poor losers’ and ‘don’t understand the meaning of democracy’ (do they mean English democracy, where the head of state [the queen] inherits the job by birthright and the upper house [Lords] consists of unelected peers?).
The election was won by readers of Rupert Murdoch papers, who can’t make decisions on their own and need a billionaire Australian to tell them what to do, and by an older generation still holding on to an idealised version of England that doesn’t exist.
On a personal level, I will now have to rethink my trip quite drastically. Each pound, both my savings and my income, is now worth around 90p, putting tighter budget restrictions on my travels. Plus if and when article 50 is ratified I will want to come back to Europe and start the process towards getting legal status as a Spanish citizen, before it is too late. Nobody is going to take my European passport away from me.
Sometimes your country moves so far away from your core values that you realise you can never go back. I have nothing in common with the xenophobes yelling about how the Polish are taking all our jobs or how we need to close our borders to ‘keep out the Turks’.
I move on to Brazil in a couple of days, although I have no appetite for this trip anymore. I hope this will pass.