My friends, may we never take for granted the many blessings we have in this life. Be grateful for what you have and remember, this life we live is best lived when not lived for us. — Jeremy Vlad
Hot and humid, the consistent forecast for SJDS that I have grown accustom to over the past few months is no longer an uncomfortable thought, but has become an accepted part of living in Central America. While Skyping with my cousin Mike, I told him several of the differences, or rather inconveniences of both traveling and living in Third World conditions. The first, is the bathrooms. The analogy that I gave him that caused an eruption of laughter was explaining to him that the outdoor bathrooms, which while they have proper toilets, is equivalent to trying to take a dump while sitting in a sauna. From the moment you enter the small stall that has your knees practically touching the door, beads of sweat begin to roll down every part of your skin. Jealous? Envious? Try to hold back those feelings because I have plenty more experiences that make the joys of travel, adventures all their own in the daily practices that have been taken for granted. Each morning, I typically begin with a cup of a coffee in spite of the thickness as the liquid drips out with the texture of toxic sludge than that of the caffeinated fuel to begin my day. Even after being told that, Toro, the cheapest yet best brand of coffee in Nicaragua is used, I could not long more for even a cup of instant Kroger brand coffee that is four days old, that’s how delicious this black liquid is as it hits my taste buds. Sleeping is a game of Russian roulette, as you never know what type of bed you may be not finding a comfortable nights sleep in; from the death bunk at Caye Caulker where I was certain Char would be crashing through the removebale wooden slates that shifted with even the slightest movements she would make, to paper thin foam mattresses that carry the thickness of a Ritz cracker, to locating the birthplace of Aids at the hotel in La Ceiba, Honduras that made me ever so thankful for the sleep liner that I wisely purchased from REI and has probably saved me from a variety of diseases, both known to man and those that have yet to be discovered, sleep, however, has still been found in all of these various conditions and for that there is proof that miracles exist. The roommates that I have shared sleeping spaces with inside various dorm room hostels is another dangerous game, quite possibly even more dangerous and always carries with it stories that you would never hear of on a regular basis back home. The night that sticks out above all of the others in the past 158 nights, was when I was laying in bed attempting to fall asleep, and another backpacker in the bunk adjacent to mine thought it would be a great idea to bring back not one, but three local prostitutes. Mortified and exhausted, I rolled up even that much tighter under my sheet after expressing to him my frustrations for his actions, but thankfully this guy was declined because of his lack of funds and the three girls left. Thanks God for this because I really didn't feel like unknowingly awaking to an unwelcome bedmate in my unconscious state with missing belongings or even worse laying in a bathtub full of ice with missing kidneys. These are just some of the insane things that I have witnessed, and the sadness of the conditions that is socially acceptable. But, even as sad as this is, it still occurs in places outside of Central America, as I have seen it even during my travels to Sydney, Australia two years ago while visiting just walking around the street being propositioned on busy downtown blocks, as well as spotting these women numerous times on Colfax, just blocks from my old office in Denver. But, above all, the most annoying nonsensical and absolutely irritating noise of the Latin American form of advertising that is used throughout each of the countries I have visited thus far and has got to be one of my favorites points to knock on. You can begin hearing the noise blocks away and if you have the unfortunate timing of having a visual of your target, it is already too late my friend, because the massive speakers that are bungeed in the back of the truck bed generated distorted ramblings by the insane decibel level of the music or talking, or often both, as bystanders cover their ears from the advertising pitch that is being screamed at them while bleeding ears hemorrhaged out what is left. I want to know who first introduced this as an effective method for advertising, and give them a solid slap them to the face. While, these are just some of the obstacles that you learn to live with and accept, especially after growing up in the safety of the suburbs in Westminster, Colorado, I still would never change what I have experienced and the decision I have made to lead a life that has more purpose and freedom than I could have ever imagined. I have learned that there will always be things in life that you wish you could change or make different, and while this thought can be daunting and overwhelming, I have seen that it is even the slightest things you can do that can make a difference for someone else whether you realize it at the moment it occurs or if it is something for that person to realize later on in life, and for me, that is all I can hope for with each day of my great journey.