02 May 2011

Notes From My Central American Travel Journal (with afterthoughts noted in italics, 2.5 months later)

I suppose in travel what one aims is to find one’s self. Have I found myself? Maybe life is all about looking in which case traveling is a journey to find yourself.

Perhaps I should just take Jarrett’s palm reading advice of nothing thinking with my head but letting life happen by my heart.
This is how we should love. This is how we should love.

I don’t know if I can go back to NYC, day-to-day, to subway rides, the slush, the carrying too many bags on the subway, the deadlines, the hierarchy, the not-enough-sleep, the too-much-to-do, the way things get. I don’t know how to avoid it at all.
I’m back. I’m doing laundry, buying groceries, meeting friends for drinks when I’d rather be sleeping, forgetting to mop my floor, hitting snooze, showing up to work late after wardrobe crisises, working too much, running enough speed workouts, letting the dishes sit too long in my sink, listening to music super duper loud and wondering how my neighbors put up with me, dancing until dawn, letting the glitter grow on its own on my very skin…

Guatemala City: I was a little irritated at my long way, my long day of traveling, when it struck me: this is what traveling is about. Perhaps you make an elaborate, delicious dinner – but then you must wash all the dishes. It’s part of that, and it’s unavoidable.
I must learn to embrace waiting. In dingy, terrible bus station waiting rooms, I people watch and read Dosteovsky and write in my journal and write letters and daydream and simply be. How often ordinarily do I have time to daydream? And all this time? Practically never. I must enjoy it. I could be in a wretched meeting. I could be at work, suffocating with the hierarchy and boredom that sometimes comes along with the territory. I could be on a crowded subway car, or waiting for the G train in the freezing cold. I could be having an asthma attack.
So true…and it is now that I cherish that chill moments that are so rare…or the sleeping late moments…and each delicious sip of tea…

The thing about traveling is that it teaches you words you wouldn’t necessarily learn in a classroom. Like how to say you want your eggs cooked and whole wheat bread, please (pan integral, por favor) and street and road signs.

The roads in Guatemala are scary – I can’t believe they exit – the mountainous, poorly-signed lane alternations on the road…
It’s a miracle I survived.

There was an earthquake when I was in Xela.
And I barely noticed it.

When you travel, you think you’re looking for yourself, but you really end up getting lost.
And you find something else in the process.

And notes from San Marcos, where I met so many amazing people, including Bill, Keith, Stacy, Ada, Candy, and so many others who taught me nonstop with their every breath:
“The highest form of ignorance is to reject something you know absolutely nothing about.”
“Let go and you can heal yourself. When you do, seven grams of weight leave your body.”
“Be in the moment. Not the past, which is a struggle, or the future.”
“Breathe – and smile.”
 “Move your awareness into your heart.”
“All the memories are in our cells.”
“That is the old me.”
“Fake it until you get there.”
“When a negative thought comes, recognize it right away and release it.”
“It’s better to conquer your mind more than a thousand men.” –Chinese proverb
“Learn through joy instead of pain.”
“Don’t have a Plan A. My Plan A is what’s happening now. Have a plan B, C, D, all the way to Z if you need to, but don’t have a plan A. Be open to the now.”
“You are the creator of your life.”
“Cacao will put the broken pieces of your heart back together.”
Gemini=I think!

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