I was oddly comforted by arriving into Guatemala, listening to Spanish and watching locals gather their belongings from the carousel having stocked up on goods from the U.S. Maybe I was comforted due to the champagne the flight attendant was pouring nonstop, the fact that I just spent a month in Peru, or that I had been here before. *side note: I find it fascinating which flights always have the first class open and which do not, Guatemala City first class was desolate. I grabbed my bags and walked outside to find my transportation waiting for me with my name on a board among a slew of other people. He tells me to wait while he gets the van, in Spanish. I wait there, comfortable, maybe too comfortable considering I was alone in one of the most dangerous cities in the world with around $20,000 worth of photography gear. None the less, these are not things I think about, I believe in the potential safety of every country, if you do it right. I could smell exhaust and what I could only describe as empanadas and looked around to see advertisements for Samsung and Hooters. When you’re from America there are always signs of home wherever you go.
It has been 8 weeks since I have been on the road and I cannot say that I am tired of it yet. I still work plenty when I am gone, always blogging, emailing, paying taxes, etc. Soon I will begin wedding season again and I will be reading less and editing more. I have occasional bouts of missing my friends & family but the small trips back home fill the void, luckily my friends travel often making them easy to track down and meet up with.
I travel with my gut feeling. Being alone means that I am putting myself at risk at times but I am always aware. The more you travel the stronger your gut gets (unfortunately not true in the literal sense). I accept that I get sick more often, I take cold showers, and sometimes I am forced to wear socks one time past their wash due date. I make friends everywhere I go. As an outgoing introvert this can be exhausting as I find myself having to perk myself up when I feel like turning inward. I know when I have had too much though and need a day alone to read and walk the streets trying new desserts. Today is one of those days.
I genuinely wonder if the wanderlust ever subsides, maybe one day I’ll feel like going home and staying. Occassionaly I dream of a life that doesn’t constantly need to be filled with activities and excitement, a life that is content staying in one place. The thought makes me itch mentally as this is not something I could ever imagine for myself. The world keeps moving and I want to move with it. I didn’t start to think I was wired differently until later in life. My mother never understood why I always wanted to keep on the move; I would get restless quickly and since moving out of my parent’s home I have now moved 12 times. I never thought I was different until I moved out of my place in Austin and left for the road and found it to be far more comfortable than it would be for most.
When people ask me where I am from I generally say ‘Houston’ or ‘Austin’ depending on who I am talking to but my roots lie nowhere. I have stayed in Texas mainly to stay with my family, they have kept me grounded more than anyone and without them I know I would be more adrift and potentially lost.
It seems I couldn’t possibly get this restlessness from my mother’s side since she has been in the same home for 26 years now and my brother has not left the country more than 3 or 4 times. My lineage from my father’s side however dates back to the days of Jamestown, the Robert family (originally from France) was of the first to settle on the once foreign land. They were willing to take the risk to find something new and potentially better. The years in between the original Roberts and I, I can only assume, were spent wandering the rest of the States as my father happens to be from the opposite coast. I often find myself during long layovers wandering the endless hallways of airports knowing I am not headed towards my destined departure gate. Even in between travels I am exploring looking for new things and experiences. My mother seems to think that I am looking for something in particular but I do not have any particular goal or destination in mind. I am just looking for a journey & a good story to tell when I’m ready to stop moving.
Photo of me by Tatton, taken in Panama City.