“The best trips are the ones where you don’t make any plans and just see where the wind takes you.” – Unknown
If you're looking for travel blogs to read, you're not going to find what to do, where to eat, or what to see in this particular project. There are plenty of blogs out there covering that genre of writing, and it's normally not what I do. However from time to time I do consider myself a travel blog writer, but my form comes more from storytelling rather than story doing. It's been three years since I've travelled internationally, and A LOT has shifted for me mentally. So if you're into travel landscape photography, personal blogs about life, or at times deep and thought provoking content, bienvenido.
I found the above quote while sitting in Denver International Airport, patiently waiting for my connecting flight into Houston, Texas. My final destination being Lake Atitlán, pronounced (layk aa·teet·laan), in beautiful Guatemala. Having already visited parts of Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, it had been on my list of countries to visit for some time. Finally after years of the government thinking they knew better than the individual human, I decided to make a visit. No set plans, I just wanted to be!
As much as I love traveling, it can be overwhelming on my nerves, especially after the 6 months of silence I had just enjoyed nestled into the mountains of Montana. You can read more about that experience by clicking the link: HERE. People talking, chairs being dragged across the floor, announcements being made on the loud speakers, it all felt like nails across a chalkboard. These days I need to travel more frugally though, so my flight itinerary was one that was less than desired. Bozeman, Montana to Denver, Colorado, to Houston, Texas to Guatemala City, Guatemala. I would depart Bozeman at 2:26 on April the 30th and not arrive into Panajachel (the entry port to Lake Atitlán) till nearly 4pm on May the 2nd. Sometimes the price you have to pay, to do the things you want to do.
I spent one night in Guatemala City, as a seventy mile shuttle ride to Lago de Atitlán awaited me the next day. The humid air was welcoming as I stepped outside the airpot, leaving the frigid winter of Montana behind me. My Air B&B was located about 10 mins away from GUA (Guatemala Airport) and I paid a few extra dollars to have my host pick me up, and then drop me off the next morning so I could catch the shared shuttle to the lake. His name was Raf and couldn't have been any nicer. Having traveled through some of the northeast, we chatted about what we did for work and why I had chosen to come to Guatemala. As we sped through the city streets in his stick shift automobile, the windows were down and I thought to myself how nice it was to be back in Central America. Something about it (besides my inability to speak Spanish), just vibes with me. If you ever need an airbnb in Guatemala City, please check out his listing by clicking on the link provided here: Airport layover, USAC/Irtra. Apartment (B).
The next morning I had an 11am shared shuttle ride booked to Panajachel. After all the time I had spent in airports, I was finally on the last leg of my journey. What could go wrong? Well, 11am came and went and I didn't see any sign of the company I had booked with. I didn't pay beforehand, so wasn't too worried about figuring out my next option, but there was close to a $75 difference had I been forced into taking an Uber. And yes the thought of riding the chicken bus (the local transit system in Central America) had crossed my mind as well! I had sent Raf a message explaining my predicament, and just as he was about to come back to the airport and pick me up, the driver of the shuttle popped his head into Café Baretto where we were supposed to meet at, and called my name. I arrived at the shuttle and it was pretty full, so somehow I didn't see him. I was standing just outside the café, so how did we miss each other? Guess I should've waited inside like they said! I hopped in the front seat, settled in and took in the sites, as that seventy mile shuttle ride turned into nearly a 4 hour excursion thanks to the extensive traffic coming out of the city.
Finally I arrived lakeside, as hazy skies clouded much of my view. Locals shouting out Santa Cruz, San Marcos, San Juan, San Pedro greeted my as I looked down the street at a rickey old dock full of lanchas (the water taxis that shuttled folks around the lake.) I had finally arrived after a little over 48 hours in transit. The only thing left on my mind was, "please just take me to my place."
To be continued ...
(* As I'm currently writing this, I just realized I have no photographs of my initial drop-off into Panajachel, so you'll just have to imagine the scene up for yourself.)
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