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.
Most travelers have a bucket list. I have been lucky enough to have checked quite a few off my personal list, but one place I have not yet reached is Jakarta. The 13,000 islands of Indonesia are astonishing, and having spent a month in serene Bali, my dreams now turn to city life. Enter Jakarta, the massive capital on Java, the mixes cultural influences from around the world.
image via Flickr by Stenly Lam
What drives us, we nomadic types? What causes us to leave stable jobs, lovely homes, friends and family, to throw ourselves out into the world? To force discomfort upon ourselves by the mere act of having no home base, no tribe to reach to for comfort? To live a life outside our comfort zone, both mentally and literally?
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.
In spite of feeling little love for Oaxaca City, our time spent in the surrounding valley proved to be one of our favorite periods in Mexico. The combination of stunning scenery, glorious weather, interesting villages, ancient ruins, and meeting other overlanders extended our departure time long past what was anticipated.
Teotihuacan. The name alone brings a smile to the face of all who have been there, for this enormous set of ruins, just outside Mexico City, truly brings to light the power of an empire, begun thousands of years ago. Thought to be Aztec, the city’s origins are actually a bit of a mystery, but it was the Aztecs who came upon this abandoned site and realized its power.
We ended up meeting Arturo by chance. While we had previously come through the pueblo magico town of Cuitzeo, we had been in motion, eager to get to SMA. Heading south, it seemed like a perfect pitstop during a long drive. Little did we know we were about to meet one of the world’s great dreamers.