One person can make a difference and everyone must try. – John F. Kennedy
(photo right: from Temple IV in Star Wars IV: A New Hope)
The last time I awoke to an alarm close to 4am was almost ten days ago. I could never have imagined how exciting and liberating life has been in the past week as doors continue to open with the wonderful people and experiences I feel blessed to share in. I’m also beginning to grow accustom to sharing the space in which I sleep and a bathroom after living alone for so long. I thought I would miss my spacious 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom home that I spent the past nine years making my own, but ironically, I have been more concerned with living out the life that I feel I was meant to lead–awaking each day with new experiences to embrace, that exist outside of the realm of routine. I feel as though I am truly living life free. I so badly wish I could share this feeling with everyone I know, and even those that I don’t. It is the most incredible feeling to awake with practically endless possibilities. While I am hopeful to visit every country in Central America, I also have the wonderful knowledge that within a days flight I can wake up in Thailand, Brazil, Kenya, Turkey, New Zealand, and the list remains endless. Having no plan, no specific route, and no timeline of when this incredible journey may come to an end, my previous life focus has shifted from money and materialism to living for change–a change within me that continues daily and hopefully encouraging change and affecting other people’s lives that I have the opportunity to encounter.
Despite all of the advertising of viewing the sunrise in Tikal by departing Flores at 4:30am, sadly, this is not the case. If you have this desire I suggest camping out in Tikal, and, I was told this same day from a group that did this, they bribed the guards to gain access before visitors were technically allowed in the park where they climbed to the top of one of the temples as the moon was still overhead and through the rising mist of the jungle they were present as the sunlight reclaimed the sky from the darkness. Since we do not have the opportunity to share in this same monumental experience, we feel that some breakfast would be a wise decision before entering the park as some walks between the temples are as much as twenty-five minutes long. A delicious and healthy option in the form of a ham and cheese sandwich on white bread with a cup of coffee is how we all started out the day. The only meal offered for visitors climbing out of the shuttles.
Just after placing our order, like Noah’s ark, two by two the others begin arriving, heat exhausted and famished. The first shuttle arrives at noon, which is an hour after we finish eating, giving us the opportunity to relax a bit. The itis from the self-inflicted food coma is beginning to settle in, and all I can picture is sleeping the entire ride back to Flores. After securing a single-person seat across the aisle from Char that looks perfect to rest my head against the window, a cute blonde makes her way to the back of the bus and occupies the empty seat across from me. Sleep is now the last thing on my mind as the conversation erupts between us the minute she mentions that she has been traveling for the past two years straight, with no end in sight. Infatuated with her story, paired with the hint of an Australian accent, I ask most of the questions as I could listen to her talk all day. Often, Tim would join in the conversation, but I think we were both content with hearing more of what she had to say. After more than an hour of our conversation, that felt like minutes, we are in Santa Elena and she is running off the bus.
If you haven’t noticed, I am writing from weeks behind since I have painfully neglected my journaling, not wanting to miss out on any of the experiences I was sharing in while we had our group of six, better known as Team Cojones. I am frantically typing, in an attempt to preserve these memories, while they are still fresh in my mind, and even as I sit her now in Poptun, I relish in all of the laughs and truly meaningful conversations I’ve had through this current entry. Now that it’s been several days since walking the ruins of Tikal and writing this journal entry, I am reminded of what I was able to do for Luis more than this historic site. I know that when I talk about memories that I will carry with me for the rest of my life this is one of them. Our last day I was also able to help set him up with his first email address and even a Facebook page, which he could not be more excited about. All of the things we often take for granted and how technology has become the driving force for communication–uniting the globe–has now opened a new horizon for a small kid in Flores, Guatemala. This is what I meant when I said, living for change–a change within me that continues daily and hopefully encouraging change and affecting other people’s lives that I have the opportunity to encounter.