Yesterday we were on our way to Guatemala. Today, we’re going to Mexico. Actually, yesterday we were going to be passing through Mexico. Tickets to Cancun were cheap even on the 17th of December. But we had intended to continue on from Cancun to Guatemala via land travel. Our trip to Mexico was concocted one afternoon as we lamented the darkness and the cold in Nebraska. We considered the idea that we were pussing out, being whimps and decided that indeed we were. And was there anything wrong with that?
Our travel habits define our family’s unique type of insanity. I can see the insanity in other people’s families too. I wonder how so-and-so can keep switching jobs or why so-and-so is having another baby. We travel too much. I mean, if I were going to judge myself from an outsider’s perspective, I would definitely see this as a problem. What’s wrong with them? I would wonder. And what’s weird is that other people probably know. They can see why we travel and they probably think we should stop doing it. But we don’t. We don’t know what’s wrong or why we travel so much. It’s just something that we want to do.
This trip is an example of what happens, I believe, when I hesitate for too long. I had my sights set on tickets to Peru. They were only about $300 per person more than tickets to Cancun when I looked at them in November, but we waited. “Let’s try to just stay home…” we said to each other in the living room as we watch the sun set at 4:00 PM, “We just got back from Costa Rica…”
Indeed, it was only about 2 1/2 months ago that we returned from a two month trip abroad to Costa Rica. And we came back complaining. It was hot, the roads were steep, public transport was hard to access, there were bugs, and the furniture was uncomfortable. All of this was true. In fact, I might be underestimating the steepness of the roads by not using yet another part of speech to modify the word steep. Like remarkably steep or goddamn f-cking steep, or something of the like. Public transportation was hard to access, and the bugs were large and aggressive (or extremely chummy, I’m not sure). But if I hated our last travel experience so much, why would I choose to take off again, for yet another Latin American destination no less?
Further, I have a rule about travel. It’s very basic and up until now, I have followed it religiously. The rule is: don’t ever go to the same place twice. But on our drive to Denver to the airport, we started looking with greater scrutiny at the crime situation in Guatemala. Young girls getting pulled off buses and assaulted and raped. Car jackings. One of the highest murder rates in the world. Robberies. And though I’d like to see Tikal and the city of Livingston in Guatemala, I really love John and Lydian and the costs simply don’t outweigh the potential benefits.
But why go back to Progreso in the Yucatan? We’ve been there before, after all. Less than a year ago, in fact. I’m conflicted about it. Lydian has friends there and we had a language school that we grew to love while we were there. But I’m afraid if we go back, the enchantment will go away. My memories will be forever altered and they may not be as beautiful.
Or they may be more beautiful. Perhaps I’ll be able to look more closely and see more detail. This is also possible. But still, my rule keeps repeating itself in my head. And I just don’t know why I’m going back to a place I’ve already been.
(UPDATE 2014: On this trip to Progreso, we were robbed as we were sleeping in our vacation rental at the end of our trip and then, after our passports were stolen, we found out that our house in the U.S. had flooded because a pipe burst. We couldn’t go home to fix things because we had no passports. So we might just as well have gone to Guatemala and been robbed there, and gotten the whole tour, since this was obviously our fate.)