Tajumulco

I Think I Forgot How to Travel

It’s come time for me to pack up and leave my home in Xela in Guatemala and though I relish the thought of hitting the road again it also feels a bit strange at the same time. Even though I know it’s time to go, some parts of travel almost seem foreign again to me. I almost feel that I am out of practice, like I’ve forgotten how to go about it.

Why Do I Have so Much Stuff?

I haven’t really packed my bag much in the last 4 months, save for perhaps when I had to move houses. I was on crutches then and had a few people helping me, yet the move still took two trips. I’ll grant you there was a lot of food moved that day, but as I look around the current state of my room, I wonder how I’m going to fit all this stuff in my backpack?

I wonder to myself, how did I get all this crap?

Then it dons on me, I’ve started learning guitar and Poi. I figured I was living somewhere so got a bunch of clothes (some I really like). I have collected a few books and piles of paper filled with Spanish notes. There’s also a smattering of other miscellaneous trinkets I haven’t quite figured out yet where they came from or if I’m keeping them.

I’m not really a hoarder, everything I own back in Canada fits into a 4’x4’x4’ cube. So why is dealing with this packing thing so hard?

It’s a Big Scary World Out There

OK, OK, so it really isn’t, I’ve just become a bit complacent living in the same place for a while. I know where to shop to get what I want and more importantly what the real price is. I know when certain places will be open and when I’ll have to trudge across town to get what I’m after.

I have a pretty good idea of the places to stay away from in the city. The local hotspots aren’t really a secret anymore and I’ve gotten to know the schedule of some of the regular events around town.

So now I’ll be moving on to a new place, pulling out a map and wondering where the hell I am?

Don’t get me wrong, I love getting to know a new city, but there is still something about being familiar with your surroundings that can be comforting. Already knowing where you’re headed that night because hey, that’s the place to be and you wouldn’t have known that if you hadn’t been living in the city for a while.

You Mean, I Have to Figure Out Where to go Next?

I’m not going to deny, I’m a planner. I like to know what’s going on. That said, I plan on large scales, not little ones. I planned for 5 years to save the money for my trip, but I didn’t know where I was actually going until about 2 month before I left.

Same thing goes for while I’m traveling.  I am headed south from Mexico until I get to Patagonia. That’s the plan, and honestly, I haven’t thought up much more than that.

So yesterday I pulled out the Lonely Planet for Central America and forced myself to read it for Honduras, oh so painful. I really wish there was an alternative that didn’t involve me spending hours online, but LP (or similar books) is what I have at my fingertips.

So I think I have  figured out my directions now, sort of, kind of. OK honestly if someone tells me somewhere else to go along the way I’ll probably change course but at least my compass is orientated south again.

It wouldn’t be the first time my plans have changed on a whim either, I remember leaving San Cristobal on about 30 minutes’ notice because I could hitch a ride with some cool Mexicans and an Argentinian I met.

That hitch was only 5 months ago. Hmm, on reflection, maybe I can do this travel thing again.

I know it’s time to go and it’s not like I haven’t done all this before, I think it’s just a matter of getting my feet back under me again. It won’t take long to love the road again, just a bit of practice.

What goes through your head when you get started back up again? Are you excited, scared, or a bit of both?


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5 thoughts on “I Think I Forgot How to Travel

  1. I find putting down long term roots mid trip to be quite a weird thing, and the temptation to settle for longer is oh so hard to resist. Really though, I actually enjoy the process of travelling (I travel solely by bicycle), and I seem to find the road calling me sooner or later. A few days back on the road again, and the nomadic lifestyle will feel second nature once more 🙂

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    1. Actually, I’ve really taken to putting down roots, I’m already looking at stopping in Leon to become a hiking guide. Admittedly I miss a lot of things in a country, but I’ve found it gives me a very rich experience of where I do stop and provides an opportunity to really work on myself. It took a little while, but I’ve come to the realization I don’t need to check all the boxes.

      I’d love to travel by bicycle at some point, might do it in Europe for a while I think. Nice resource you’ve created!

      Cheers!

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  2. Honestly, I’m glad I didn’t waste any time planning my trip in SE Asia because those plans would have gone right out the window almost immediately! I find reading guide books excruciating as well.

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  3. I loved this. I am heading to Honduras at the end of the month and thinking about taking a side trip to Guatemala. I was skimming the same guidebook and only stopped to read the section on Xela. I’ll be happy to take some pointers from you. Send me a message or a list if you have a minute.

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