Saturday, November 12, 2011

Well, the time is almost here!  If everything goes well I will be leaving los Estados Unidos (the US) in only two days!  I'm very excited but also completely overwhelmed.  I knew I had a lot to do before leaving and I've tried to be diligent but I can't help but feel like I need more time!  I know it's mostly just that I'm nervous to be leaving everything that is familiar to me and being unable to convey nuances of conversation (or even the basics!) that I am used to being able to convey.

I have a much more solid plan now.  My best friend, Marcia, and I have always talked about doing a "Mexican vacation" and as the weather gets cooler here in Wyoming I can't think of a better way to kick off my trip than to spend four or five days in paradise with one of the most important people in my life!  Marcia works for an airline so we will be trying to "non-rev" (fly standby) all the way to Cancun.  Our flight from Sheridan to Denver looks good; three people would have to buy tickets for us to not be able to get on the plane.  However, our flight from Denver to Cancun is a little more worrying; two people will have to MISS the flight for us to make it on!!  But, that's two out of 162 passengers so we feel like we have a pretty good chance.  Does it make us bad people that we have our fingers crossed hoping for delayed flights and bad traffic on the way to Denver!? 

We haven't made reservations due to the uncertainty of our arrival date but we have a couple of hotels in mind so once we reach Cancun we will call around and see who has availability.  In a perfect world we’ll even score a last-minute discounted rate!  We’re hoping to stay at an all-inclusive resort where we can spend some serious time snorkeling, kayaking and working on our suntans.  : D

After Marcia returns home I will stay somewhere near Cancun for a week or so to await the arrival of my travel partner, a guy named Jonathan that I met on Couchsurfing.  I had posted in several forums there that I was looking for a travel buddy to ride the bus with from Cancun to Guatemala and he responded.  In a crazy twist of fate our Spanish schools are located about one mile away from each other so it’s nice to know that I will have someone to speak English with when I start to go crazy!  Also, he’s into backpacking and checking out ruins so we hope to hike to El Mirador, a Mayan ruin site in northern Guatemala, at some point during our time there.  We both plan to spend a couple weeks taking classes, and maybe another week in the area after our classes are over.  Then, I will be traveling to Chichicastenango (Chichi for short) for the Feast of St. Thomas celebrations on December 21st.

After that I will have about 10 days to do whatever I want.  I will be taking more Spanish classes at a second school located pretty close to Quetzaltenango around the beginning of the year but will be doing my own thing for the holidays, as most people probably aren’t very interested in having a stranger in their homes around the holidays!   Here’s a link about the town of Quetzaltenango, which, mercifully, everyone refers to as Xela, pronounced “shay-la”.

After that, I will most likely spend a couple of weeks on the Pacific coast of Guatemala teaching Spanish to adolescents at a school that is associated with the second Spanish school I am attending.  After that, who knows!?  Most likely to Honduras but possibly over to Belize for a week or two first, as it looks like I will be zipping through there pretty quickly on my way to Guatemala.

My bags are all packed and I have WAY more stuff than I had been hoping to travel with.  At one point I had the total weight down to about 25 lbs... Now I'm at about 38!  My main pack is only 35 L and I had hoped to be able to fit everything into it but now it looks like I will at the very least have to carry my little day pack separately, as well as strap stuff on the outside of my main pack. 

On the plus side I will be able to ditch about 10 lbs over the course of my first month or two of traveling, as I have books on the Yucatan, Guatemala AND Belize so all of those will go away pretty quickly.  Additionally, I have some gifts for my host families so that will help get my weight down!

I’m nervous and a little scared to be starting this adventure but most of all I am very excited to begin my travels.  I have faith that the universe will send good things my way and I will do my best to be receptive to them and grateful for them!  Latin America, here I come!


  1. Omg, I am so excited for you I can't stand it. I get all choked up just reading your blog due to your honesty and that I just love ya. I have been to Cancun and had a good time. Hope the start of your adventure goes well enough and we are all ok and following your progress. Happy Thanksgiving ...Lori, Dee and Avalon

  2. I'm so excited for you! If you can make it to Belize I highly recommend it. Loved the place and people - they were the friendliest I've ever met! I'll keep watching for updates as you travel. -Pauline

  3. Lori, you're awesome. :o) I'm glad to know that my words have the power to move people! :o)

    Pauline, never fear! Our route will take us right through Belize, though we will be zipping through in a week or less so I'll most likely have to return at a later date to do some further explorations!

  4. Glad you got your blog up and running. Totally looking fwd to seeing the progress of your travels. Be safe!! Btw, totally looking forward to wearing the hat you made me this winter in the Fatherland.

  5. Hi L!!
    Glad that your blog is up and we can follow you through your travels and live vicariously. :D The pic of you definitely looks like you were feeling a bit apprehensive but I'm thrilled you found someone to travel with down to your school; makes me feel a lot better about you out in the big, bad world. :) I'm sure you're having the time of your life and I'm excited to see your first pics when they get posted. The kids say hello and be safe! Me too of course. :D

    Love you!