This past year has been quite the year of travel for me and by June 2016 I will have spent a total of 9 months abroad. My trip in Europe was wonderful, but tiring, and I feel I’m in a different place in my life now than 7 months ago when I graduated college. I left Davis running, running from a failing relationship and running from the unknown that is post graduate life. I ran away to Europe where I began to heal through a combination of distraction and time alone to think, both things which travel is great at providing. Then came the move home which brought its own challenges and lessons. If you had asked me how I felt about moving home for 4 months while I was still in college I would have told you that it was a decision based on sacrificing my social life for the sake of my post Europe wallet. I can tell you now, sitting in a tiny room in Guatemala, that I was wrong.
Living at home was difficult, but it was also so much more than I thought it would be. It allowed me to reconnect with my family, especially my sister whom I had greatly annoyed all throughout college by being terrible at texting, and to practice building new relationships. I got a job, an internship, applied to graduate schools, got in the best shape of my life, and found a boyfriend, something I definitely wasn’t expecting. Josh was kind, funny, and exactly what I needed to continue the healing process. I value what we had, but due to the continuation of my nomadic lifestyle in Guatemala we decided to simply remain friends after I left.
With that context in mind you can now understand the very different place I was in driving to LAX on New Year’s Day. This time around I wasn’t running. I had found happiness in my relationships and in my productivity so I wasn’t really sure how I felt about leaving again. I have done so much leaving since I turned 18 that I’m really looking to take a break from nomadic life, to live in a place for multiple years, and to build long term relationships there. My trip to Guatemala felt like something my last year self planned and that my current self wasn’t entirely sure about.
I became sure about the decision to go to Guatemala today, while driving from Guatemala City to Quetzaltenango, the city I’ll be living in for the next 6 months which is affectionately called Xela. I must have travel in my blood because the sheer newness of the jungle surrounding us invigorated me, casting away my doubts and catapulting me into excitement for the journey that lay ahead. Everything I said before is still true, I’m still very much looking forward to creating a long term life in the States, it’s just now I’m excited to build my short term life in Guatemala.