Enter reverse-culture shock, as alive and well as ever. We are familiar, of course, having previously endured it. But it prevails. Even knowing what it will be like. Even having previous experience with this strange idea. Even feeling prepared. It’s here. The feeling of being in a foreign land even though we are “at home”. Thats right, we are back in the land of flushing toilet paper.
It has been nearly 14 months since we crossed the border south into Mexico. Nearly 14 months of fascinating history, delicious food, gorgeous countryside, and friendly people. Nearly 14 months and thousands of miles covering all of Baja and the vast majority of the mainland. During our time there, we have been disheartened again and again with the negative media regarding this most beloved destination. The myths of Mexico as highlighted in the media are profound.
In 2015 my word for the year ahead was transformation and wow, did we ever do it up right. We sold our house and the majority of our material goods, we moved into our camper and headed south to points unknown in search of a different lifestyle.
2016 found me choosing surprise as my word for the year and, once again, the universe provided. In fact, no one is more surprised than I to find myself not somewhere in southern Central America, but back in Mexico!
For 2017 I may have found the perfect word to truly describe not just the year ahead, but a more general thought on our life in general:
I was never one to appreciate coffee, just as I was in my mid 20’s before I developed a taste for beer. I totally blame this on my parents. Growing up in small town Minnesota with Folgers instant coffee and restaurants, ok lets be honest and call them truck stops, chosen merely for offering a bottomless cup of bad coffee did not inspire the desire to imbibe. In addition, my parents also drank this bad coffee loaded with milk and sugar as one does, of course, when drinking crap.
Pasajcap really needs little introduction from me. Every overlander around is familiar with the stunning views and friendly service given by Pierre and his wonderful staff. Despite the title, we didn’t actually camp at Pasajcap. Pierres three beautiful shepherds are lovely dogs, but not always as fond of having doggie visitors. Thus, we were “forced” to rent one of his ten gorgeous accommodation options; in our case, cottage # 3 from the gate.
We are in paradise. Granted, we’ve been to quite a few “bits of paradise” in our years of travel, but Lake Atitlan is pure magic. We came for a couple of weeks, and just extended our stay so it will equal nearly the entire length of our 90 day visa. Other friends came for four days, and just hit their four week mark. Like I said, this place is magic. Having said that, the road into the lake is shit. And I mean total shit, the sort of road that gives you nightmares for a couple of days after arrival. Here is what you need to know if you, too, are planning on visiting Guatemala.
Overlanders depend on their gear. After all, most of us are homeless in the traditional sense. The road is our home, and the gear we travel with can make or break the trip. As very active campers even in our old life, we were quite certain what cooking gear was going to make the list for the PanAm. Although we quibbled over and considered a few items, one item never in doubt was our Lodge Dutch Oven.
I have never liked history. My dad was a history teacher. My brother is a history teacher. I got through the classes, but never embraced the subject. That all changed the moment I started traveling. Unencumbered by a parents authoritarian lectures and dry professors, I found myself relishing stepping back in time to see a world thousands of years in the past.