Tag Archives: Central America


1 Mar

I am a devoted follower of Lonely Planet travel guides, both for their honest advice & fierce belief in sustaining a travel-worthy world. Safe from change, in the near end of their constantly evolving anthologies, thorough perusers will eventually stumble upon a small a box of text labeled “The Lonely Planet Story.” This paragraph recounts the founding couple’s uncommon 1972 honeymoon journey and the diary-like notes which magically became their very first guidebook, Across Asia on the Cheap. The version at the end of my Mexico on a Shoestring also shares an early philosophy, first quoted in their original guide-

“All you’ve got to do is decide to go and the hardest part is over. So go!”

*   *   *   

This trip became my current reality in the wake of an absurd accumulation of time, change, & anticipation. I had originally planned to escape into the heart of Buenos Aires back in the winter of 2010. It would have been my fourth annual adventure abroad- an accidental ritual technically started in Europe my senior year of college, although intentionally sought my first winter as a fresh psych grad with hopes of earning some global wisdom. I spent the winter of 2008 blissed-out for four months through Southeast Asia with two of my oldest and most travel ready friends. In Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, & Cambodia I got back in touch with the wanderlust I’d first flirt with in Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam, & Venice with a fearless & incredibly enthusiastic ex-boyfriend the winter prior. Piece by piece I found in myself a real passion for the world- for authentic experiences and the challenge of doing it all on a shoestring. The next winter, I followed my travel buddies’ footsteps to Central America. After wandering through Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama for three months I returned home eager to get my curious self to South America as soon as possible.

As I quietly schemed a solo adventure beginning in Argentina, my temporary position as social worker in a busy nursing and rehab. facility was offered for keeps. The opportunity felt important & here I broke my travel run. During my first year in the real world I had one week of vacation which was spent train hopping North from Big Sur to Seattle. During this ten day quest I found myself in awe of how contagious pure wanderlust can be as I traveled alone & yet always in the best of company. In my second year, with a grand two weeks to wander, I ventured primarily to Austin, Texas to witness my engaged girlfriend’s deep South world & to central Colorado to meet my wonderful boyfriend’s wonderful siblings in the midst of snow capped mountains, natural hot springs, & that laid back crunchy Boulder vibe. My only other moments of freedom, my weekends, were crammed with adventures to nearby Providence, Boston, & New York. I also recall long weekends with my boyfriend’s family in my now-beloved Upstate New York, camping in Massachusetts, a perfect cabin getaway in New Hampshire, a wedding in DC, & a heavenly trip to Chicago spent beyond happily with my very favorite people. With time to reflect, I guess I wasn’t completely grounded- but my god I dread Mondays.

Southeast Asia (Railay Beach, Thailand), Central America (Bocas del Toro, Panama), Amtrak´s West Coast rail, Texas, & Colorado

New York, Boston, Upstate, DC, & Chicago

Despite my postponed escape & geographically tamed roaming during my nearly three years in 9 to 5-part time waitress-normalcy, I have no regret. During this time I was given the chance to become deeply involved in the lives of people finding themselves vulnerable at the end of their own adventures. In my time at Village House I was absolutely humbled and grounded by the realities of life’s impermanence, of illness, of death, & of the utter beauty in resilience. I also was lucky enough to work with people who truly became family as we tirelessly helped our residents & their families to grab hold of a peaceful perspective despite all the heavy complication. I got to work in the same office as my momma, the most altruistic and genuinely dedicated person I’ve ever met. She likes to think we set an example to mother-daughter relationships everywhere by savoring our time in the helping field together.. & I just think she’s amazing. Although constantly overwhelmed & craving time, I was settled into my beautiful seaside town with my lovable friends within arms reach. I made my nest on a quiet street called Golden Hill & fell in love all over again with home. I am wildly grateful for the people and places that have create my memories on the road so far.

home sweet Newport, RI

my Village people

a treehouse on Golden Hill

Just as I began to itch for the challenge of surviving the unfamiliar (instead of the work week), luck struck, & I found a stranger who quickly became my most faithful ally. Dan helped me to again imagine myself as capable of unraveling the comforts of life in an effort to actually prioritize & to fully experience it. He made my life exciting in every moment I could break free from responsibility. At some point in the past year, we started to talk about a trip South of the border, a trip that grew as we talked, & quickly approached once we set a date. A large part of our motivation, which I know I’ll elaborate upon as we move through the 13+ countries ahead of us, stemmed from a mutual frustration with the pace of life & how quickly our time was passing in the lives we were leading. Of course, this pace carried us right through leaving our jobs, closing our homes, storing our cars, saying our bittersweet goodbyes, & packing ourselves into backpacks. On March 1st we carried plants & last minute boxes to my parent’s house en route to Mexico.

clearly destined for Latin America ;)

After all the build-up & quick layover in Texas, Dan & I arrived in Guadalajara, Mexico tonight before dinner. We plan to spend the next 9 months traveling South through Central into South America to fly home from Brazil. I glanced briefly at this course on a wall map in the past week, & I don´t plan to revisit that reality-check for a bit. The streets here are buzzing, cobbled, & lined in lime trees. Tired & slightly dazed, we threw ourselves right into the scene. Drifting down a busy pedestrian strip, we pretty much fought over a bag of fresh chips drenched in hot sauce & several squeezed limes as we took in the scene- the world now at our fingertips. Our backpacks seem a bit too heavy & we certainly didn’t practice enough Spanish, but the weather is warm & the hardest part is over!

 {follow me south}