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Celebrating one year on the road

At Zephyr lodge in Lanquin, Guatemala


There had been so many people at home and around the world who did NOT believe in me, who thought I would be home within a few months, that I would run out of money, be unsuccessful, or that I would just simply miss the kiwi lifestyle I had too much. So I was proud of myself that I had achieved one year on the road, I was proud to have proved them wrong.

Of course there were the many people who HAD believed in me right from the start, the ones that had supported me from the minute I first shared my ideas and plans with them. The ones who put aside their own selfish desires to keep me close and loved me enough to see that I needed to be free to explore the world. The ones who keep in touch, who read this blog religiously, the ones who are on my mind every single day. I was proud to have achieved what I had set out to do, what they had always believed I could.

And mostly, I was proud to have achieved yet another one of my own goals. Just like the little girl who played first flute in the Auckland kids orchestra, and the teenager who hung up her iceskates after getting a gold medal at the 2004 nationals in Queenstown - I had reached another dream that I had once thought was impossible. That I had overcome the huge fears I had of leaving my bubble in New Zealand and heading out alone to the other side of the world, to speak another language all day every day, and to make it work out. That I had gone through both ups and downs and backwards flips throughout the year, but come out with a shining new perspective on life. That I now worry less about the small things, that I clearly care very little for material possessions as I have bought just 2 souvenirs in a year (despite traveling through 9 countries) and my phone is so broken it hardly ever switches on and even when it decides to it doesn't have a functioning microphone! I have learned that through it all, there are still good people in this world. And not just a few, like I had hoped to find - but that the majority of the world are good. They want to help, they want to share their culture and their country, their home and their family, they want to learn about other lifestyles, and they don't want to do so in the hope of anything in return. Learning that there are still good people in this world has been a huge boost to my own happiness. Learning how to spot the people I can trust, learning that there are some people who will never like me and that is NOT my problem, learning that the world is mostly good, has restored my faith in humanity. That the world is a good place at heart, and perhaps with a little more education in regards to environmental issues and a little less focus on trivial matters such as transgender celebrities and the latest royal babies - humanity can use it's goodness to actually make widespread, fundamental changes.

I was so happy to have Erie with me to celebrate the milestone, as she was one of the
I wanted to celebrate with other travelers, people who understood my achievement, and people who would want to party. So we headed to the infamous Zephyr lodge wedged high in the mountains above Lanquin, Guatemala.
At first sight, we were in awe of the infinity pool that looked out across the mountains and down into the surrounding valleys. We could see the hostel and our old cockroach party room, El Retiro, where we had been staying previously.
Zephyr had messed up our booking so they ended up giving us a much nicer dorm than what we had booked originally - at no extra cost! We spent the afternoon chatting with new friends, swimming in the pool, and drinking rum with gingerale - really delicious!

At night we partied, enjoying the happy hour which made the highly overpriced drinks just overpriced instead. We had a great night, and were lucky enough to meet three girls; Tash, Hannah, and Libby who soon became good friends of ours who we continued to meet up with throughout our time in Guatemala. We all played a game of giant jenga, where every brick pulled out meant doing something weird or crazy.
Poor Erie had to jump in the pool fully clothed, and I had to swap clothes with the closest person - I was only wearing a bikini and a sarong so I ended up in his vest and he wore my sarong as a dress!
I was loving sipping on rum with my best friend at my side and celebrating with someone from home, that it was a year since I had been there myself.90_DSC02394.jpg90_DSC02395.jpg Of course the only thing that I really felt was missing the whole night was Billy who so desperately wanted to celebrate with me and Erie.

We left the next day back to El Retiro, the prices at Zephyr were far too expensive and people actually received fines if they broke the rules. A couple of French travelers were given a 200Quetzal ($40) fine for smoking in the wrong area. I was so drunk hungry at 2am I begged the kitchen to sell me a muffin that was on the other side of the cashier. They wouldn't do it so I walked away feeling as if I was going to starve to death. I remembered I had a can of tuna in my backpack so I went to my room, grabbed the tuna, and then hid in the shadows and ate it. I was so scared to get a $40 fine for being caught with my own food that I threw the evidence off the cliff in a drunken haze of fear and laughter.

So if you are reading this, thanks for always believing in me and supporting me. Here's to another year on the road - but please, with a visit from you !


Posted by chasingsummer 06:31 Archived in Guatemala

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