90 days of travel!
I can’t freakin’ believe it. We’ve been on the road for 90 days now. We spent a great deal of time in the Yucatan in Mexico, spent briefer times in Cuba and Belize, and have totally fallen in love with Guatemala. We only stayed there for a week before coming to Utila, Honduras, our current island home. However, once we’re done with Utila and have explored more of Honduras, we’re on our way back to Guatemala to spend a significant more amount of time exploring that country.
Tigger states that our current home on the former English island is a tie with Cozumel as his favorite place so far on our great adventure. He likes the reefs here, the friendliness and kindness of the people “most of the time,” there’s lots of yummy food, and that they have really great pizza. He liked Cozumel for the coral reefs and plethora of iguanas (although we do have those here on this island, too). He has become the dive shop’s unofficial mascot. He keeps everyone laughing and amazed. The boat captains think he acts just like a local boy in the water, and I’m quite envious of his comfort on the boat, especially when I have to get on the outside and move along the narrow ledge while the boat rocks like crazy so I can untie the boat from the buoy. He acts like he’s been around the water his whole life. It’s really pretty amazing.
Utila will be our home for some major experiences. For one we spend our 90th and 100th days of travel here. Tigger turns 10 on August 23rd when he will, at last, get to do scuba outside of a pool. Meanwhile I’m working on becoming a divemaster and then an instructor. I’m hoping to work on the island for a while after that to get experience under my belt. While I’m doing my training, Tigger is either playing on the boat, snorkeling while we’re diving, or playing near the dock with friends. He has enjoyed the extra independence being on a small, mostly English-speaking island has afforded him. We rent a small apartment, and when I’m up at 5:30 AM preparing to head to the dive shop, he’s snoozing away. He gets up, has a leisurely breakfast, maybe watches some TV, and then he heads to the dock to play. I don’t think he’s worn a shirt or sandals since the 2nd day we spent on the island. He’s definitely in his element here, and I’m often quite jealous of his life.
When we set out on this big adventure, one of my biggest goals was to simply get more living into my life. I wanted to escape the typical 9-t0-5 work life. I wanted to have more meaningful time with my son and to actually have time to raise him rather than school & daycare being the majority of his day. I wanted him to have the chance to have experiences that only travel can provide and to be a global citizen. How are we doing with that goal? Damn well, I’d say! So far one of his biggest lessons he’s learned is that the world is filled with wonderful people. Yeah, there are some real stinkers thrown in there for variety’s sake, but by and large there are truly amazing people out there. When he turns 10 he will have visited 5 countries so far. I know many adults who haven’t experienced that many places. And rather than seeing just the typical tourist sights, he’s had the opportunity to also get to know the locals, spend time with them in their homes, play with them, overcome language barriers, and accept that cultural differences are simply different ways of doing things rather than looking at them from a place of judgment. Spending time in hostels and hanging around the dive shop has given him exposure to people from New Zealand, Canada, Belgium, Guatemala, Colombia, Israel, the UK, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Austria, and many other places. Today while walking home he was reminiscing about a couple of experiences in some of the countries we’ve been to. It warmed my heart to get a tiny glimpse of my dream for him coming to life.
It hasn’t been all wonderful naturally, but when you compare all of our experiences, the positives drastically overshadow the occasional icky one. And really, how do you get through life without some . . . not so fun experiences?
Almost every day of the last 90 I have had a moment of reflection where I smile and think “Wow, this is really my life.” It feels like we’ve been nomads for a lot longer, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. And nothing on earth could replace the experiences and the time we’re having together. Even if that’s all I could walk away with from this big adventure, I’d still consider myself richly blessed.
And thank you for virtually accompanying us on our journey. It’s so incredible to get to share our excitement, joys, and even crappy travel days with so many people out there.