This is going back a long way, just over ten years in Guatemala. One of my besties was my travel buddy but since she is a high level spy and for the purpose of privacy her name shall be Spok. I will also change the names of our other cohorts/spanish speaking lifesavers to Starsky and Hutch.
First – a little context, Spok and I had been backpacking for just over a month when we met the nicest pair of guys ever (the day before the story I am about to share) at the epic Tikal Ruins (Planet of the Apes was filmed there I believe), we became fast friends and were coincidentally headed to the same place the next day and it must have been them that convinced us to hitch hike there with them. We went with our guts and took the leap. Hitch hiking can be dangerous, absolutely, but we had a blast. I can still remember the thrill and perma-smile on my face riding in the back of that truck, and the total freedom I felt…
Here is an excerpt from my travel journal, slightly edited by me because I can.
Friday July 29th, 2015 Flores – Finca Ixobel, Guatemala
So the morning started off splendidly & Spok was even cheerful (she to this day is NOT a morning person) …. We walked for about 6km before we got picked up by a nice man in a fast pick-up truck that took us to our first fork in the road. We walked a little longer this time before getting picked up again – they stopped at a gas station in town and we were back to walking. We grabbed some packaged ‘BIMBO’ cinnamon buns that were actually decent and some ‘LOROS’ which were basically Oreos. We continued on our way until we got picked up by a super nice guy and all crammed into his little car the whole rest of the way to Finca Ixobel…
So I know it sounds bad that we were hitch hiking in Guatemala with two guys we had known a whole 24 hours but it was seriously one of the funnest things we have done on this trip. Hutch lived here for a long time and speaks really good Spanish so it really adds to the secure feeling – indescribable fun I tell ya. (As fun as it had been just the two of us, we did have some unsure moments being two girls with limited Spanish at the ripe ago of 19 gallivanting around Central America and it was like we could exhale a whole lot more once we joined forces with these guys).
About the Finca (Farm) – it is one of the most amazing places I have ever seen and without a doubt the nicest place we have stayed. Our ‘tree houses’ are little cabins on stilts and are super nice and cute and all that jazz. Once we settled in we headed to the swimming hold for some good old fashioned fun in the nice cool water, had breath holding swimming competitions and hung out in the hammocks. We had lunch then headed out on our caving adventure. Hutch even macheted himself some man-pris hehehe. We met up with our super cool gum boot clad guide and trudged through cow fields, up hills, through fields with tall grass and a whole lot of MUUUDDD. The caves were totally incredible and I don’t think I can even describe them. We saw cute little bats and mega huge spiders like as big as big man hands and of course all the usual cave stuff. There were beads of water all over and it fully added to the b-e-a-utiful effect of the caves.
Then we braved the jungle once more and even learned how to properly make walkie-talkie noises, a very useful skill I must say. The. We hit up the swimming hole again, Starsky and Hutch attempted spear fishing with not much luck and we rinsed a bunch of mud off. Those brilliant boys locked their keys in their tree fort and we got to witness them get back in using branches they had chopped down – hard to describe but it was hilarious. Then Spok and I hit the showers, we sang loudly and out of tune, I spent ten minutes getting the dang knots out of my hair… SHA-POW-BANG-BOOM we didn’t know what had hit us at first then we realized it was dirt… Must have been the singing… We then realized all ofmournstuff was missing from our room. So in our towels & with complete class we gathered our strewn belongings off the grass so we could get ready for dinner. The food was so yummy!
After dinner we played the least intense game of Monopoly ever, Starsky won with Mediterranean Ave and $2, what a joke. We went back to the swimming hole and swung in hammocks, it rained and there was some lightning, we told stories and jokes – it was really nice. I’ve noticed on this trip that a lot of people who travel a lot don’t seem to miss much from home. I knew I was lucky before this but this trip is totally solidifying for me that I am so blessed with good friends and family. It makes me miss everyone but at the same time being away from them is an enriching experience because I know I can have an absolutely great time away from them but I can also go home and have just as much fun and be just as happy. I don’t travel just to ‘get away’ more to take a step back, see everything from a different view and experience new things. This is my latest ‘profound’ thought – haha! …
That concludes our journey to a 19 year old me in Guatemala for today. Even reading this now makes me remember the feeling and the smell and the excitement to be where we were. I so recommend a travel journal to anyone who will listen, it is the most priceless thing you will bring home with you, I remember way more from reading old journals than from just looking at pictures. Guatemala was nothing like I expected- it was so much better – truly a gem.
More on why I think travel is so great.
Now you know what I was up to, what were you doing ten years ago!?