At the present, in Guatemala. As with all these countries I’m about to visit I know fairly little of this one too, except that it’s supposed to be nice. And so far – it is nice! The last week in Mexico was split between San Cristobal de las Casas and the ancient ruins of Palenque. I really liked SCC, a lot thanks to a bunch of people I met in the guest house I ended up staying in. My supposed host was unfortunately too hungover to meet me at said time and point, which at the moment annoyed me rather much. I guess the Swedish sense of obligations doesn’t apply to all people around the world. However, luckily enough I checked into the best hostel in Mexico, cheap, neat, friendly, and with a great breakfast included. The reputation well matched the experience and the people already there was just as accommodating and welcoming as the place itself. After a few days of friendly fires and pot luck dinners I had to leave for Palenque just to see the ruins before my deadline in Guatemala. The travels highlight was scheduled for Friday the 7th the day Patrik was gonna be in Flores for a full day with time to meet up! After 4-5 years not seeing each other in Sweden I really didn’t know how much I’d missed him until we were sharing a few tequilas in that remote island in a far away country. He’s been travelling around the world to wide places like Swaziland and Cook Islands, now perfectly timed, doing a tour through Central America before returning to Sweden. The joy of sharing that place and this country with someone I known for a decade more or less was actually surprising. No thanks to the alcohol, I was really intoxicated to just be alive, there and then – sharing with strangers and friends one of these feelings of belonging and unfamiliarity at the same time. I’m happy to have met up with someone dear to me, and I also had a great time with my roomies in both SCC and Palenque. The main difference from my travels now and the backpacking 4 and 5 years ago is how accustomed I’ve become to my solitude. That I enjoy company, but don’t really crave or seek it out. That I don’t constantly try to make contact with travellers seeking companions. I’m very well off observing, mingling with me myself and I, trying to think, read and write or just walk around smiling to myself. Life on the road is tiring, compromising with people even more! I guess single life is good for independence, and it might sound sad, but this life is really all I require to be happy. I like having all these different people around me, collected from all over the world with unique stories and lifes in their backpacks, but I also like that no one is forced upon me, I can walk away whenever I want and nobody will be offended. I can leave when I need to leave for whatever reasons I have. I also find the leaving part much easier these days than I used to. I’m less sentimental and more optimistic, that people and places will just be more amazing the further I go. I am darndedlidarn privileged to be doing this right now, it’s exactly what I need and want. After this – sab kuch milega, we will see.
After getting the Mayan feeling from the ruins of Palenque and Tikal, spending a lot of time in cities in Mexico, I am now chilling out in the prettiest little village by the Lago de Atitlán, western Guatemala. For a few days I’m just gonna marvel at the volcanoes, kayaking the lake, eat tamales, watch sunrises, lie in hammocks and get a tattoo or something else I probably don’t need. The national bird is the Quetzal, which can be found only from southern Mexico down to Panama – the same region I’m visiting. In the Mayan mythology, the Quetzal symbolised liberty, and was thought to die if held captive. What better symbol to be perching on the arm of a traveller? Yes I know, getting tattooed abroad is a genuinely bad idea when you got the most talented tattooist back in Gothenburg. And for another hundred different reasons. But hey, I’m always in it for the fun!