There is no moment of delight in any pilgrimage like the beginning of it. – Charles Dudley Warner
All of the fears and anxiety that I have carried with me have now come to the present moment in time–the first step to this great journey begins in the early morning hours. Awaking from a deep sleep, through the darkness I read the alarm, 4:30am. I am not afforded the luxury of basking in the final moments of a large comfortable bed in the familiarity of Colorado, but realize that the day has finally arrived, the beginning of a new chapter in my life. After what could be the last hot shower for quite some time, I quickly check and recheck everything that I have pulled out of my backpack from the previous night–the frantic feeling that creeps into the pit of your stomach that everyone has felt in the final moments prior to leaving for a trip, except this time, the stakes are much higher in the sense that these items will be my only worldly possessions for months, possibly years to come.
After clearing security and finding my way to the gate for American Airlines flight #342, I sit and watch the sun fully break the horizon as a plethora of thoughts race through my head. Part of me cannot wait to board the aircraft to escape the building anticipation and nervous feelings, while another part of me wants to remember my final moments of being at home in Denver. Briefly stopping to change planes in Dallas, I feel that it is quite fitting since my professional career at HDNet has had so much to do with this city, but before I knew it I am boarding American Airlines flight #2193, the aircraft that would next, touch down in Belize City.
Twenty minutes later and I clear immigration. I am now ready to officially make my presence known in Central America. No more than a few seconds outside the airport doors and I am approached by a taxi driver that has me on my way to Ollie and Clara’s apartment, and my first couchsurfing experience, it is probably best that this occurs so quickly otherwise I might have begun to overanalyze the option in attempting to walk, which would have been exhausting to say the least. Leaving the airport behind, we reach the main road that is lined with lush green vegetation on both sides. A little more than fifteen minutes later and I am at the front of the Best Western Bitmore Plaza on the outskirts of Belize City. Later I realize that I should have given the directions to the driver since I find myself walking down a long dirt road that runs parallel with the hotel, this is my first stretch of walking over varying terrain with my pack and it feels as though this is my self-inflicting initiating from what I remember backpacking to be like more than eight years ago. Upon successfully locating the correct apartment I realize that no one is home and this does not bother me as a small waterway runs through the back portion of the building and I find a small concrete stoop to rest as I take in my new surroundings. Soon more rain begins to fall and I have to relocate to the narrow walkway between the two buildings. Thankfully the weather is warm despite the raindrops otherwise this could have been the beginning of a very long hour and a half wait.