“Then a woman said, Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow. And he answered: Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. And how else can it be? The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven? And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives? When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.” But I say unto you, they are inseparable. Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed. Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy. Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced. When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.”
– Kahil Gibran, ‘The Prophet’.
“Hola!” I say cheerfully to the customs officer when I arrive in Texas. We proceed in basic conversational Spanish til I becomes apparent, from both my vacant stare and my tired mumblings, that I speak only English and not, in fact, fluent Spanish (I wish). I was in Houston airport for about two hours and speaking in English to people in stores and cafes felt really, really strange. I don’t think I’ve said “hello” to another human being for close to six weeks.
Man, what can I say – it’s a strange feeling to be on the road again. Alone again, heading to the next phase of the adventure. I’ve just left Guatemala; a country covered with lush rainforest and jungle, where the definition of ‘free-range chicken’ surely must have arisen, where the indigenous Mayans dress in astoundingly colourful clothes and speak many different languages. Mexico and Central America were magical, and the sequence of events that took me there were entirely bizarre and random… but at some points I think, they weren’t at all 🙂
So I’m in Toronto for the moment – a city that I was overwhelmed by when I visited from little all Guelph all those weeks and months ago, but now… I went for a run this morning and not one person smiled back at me. The city smells of burnt sugar and urine, and there are no trees around. Everyone is dressed in suits and rush rush rushing. To what? Where is the joy… the smiles… the connection. All I see is stress, concrete and caffeine (I say sitting in a coffee-shop, haha). Everyone speaks English… It’s strange. I feel almost not myself, because at this point a cheerful ‘Hola!’ feels a whole lot more familiar than my native tongue. Enough grumbling – it is a weird feeling to be back in Canada, and it’s a weird feeling because it almost feels like a second home. Then again, so did Mexico. Bear with me, because I feel this post is going to be pretty mammoth. I’ll try and break it up by posting some pretty pictures along the way 🙂
So Mexico, Belize & Guatemala… What can I say? Lands of beauty, mystery and magick. Lands of synchronicity, travelers and amazing food. The first two weeks I spent traveling around the Yucatan and Quitana Roo regions with friends were awesome – an intrepid little family that I will always hold in my heart, and am forever grateful for.
In Playa del Carmen…
Crazy flying men having the time of their lives…
Chiken-Ha ceynote… Sacred natural pools full of such incredible energy and beauty!!
Chilling on the beach en Cozumel… and getting very burnt.
Our rusty, trusty jeep for the day… taking us all around stunning Isla Cozumel.
Visiting Chichén-Itzá with the gal-pals…
Beautiful Mayan murals in insanely humid Mérida…
Chilli love en los mercados de Mérida!
Girls night out, being the only foreigners in the club haha 🙂
Why don’t they have clubs like this in Australia? Hell yes to dancing TOGETHER not alone!!
La bonita Playa del Cancun
Clubbing in Cancun… is nuts.
My awesome, intrepid, international family… ❤
So originally the plan was to head back to Canada to visit the Rockies with a few of this crew… but I ended up really, really liking Mexico and feeling so at home that I decided to stay and explore a bit by myself. So the day they left, I hopped on the bus to the coastal town of Tulum… with all the intentions in the world of tramping around the coast a bit more but the Universe had other plans for me and I ended up staying for close to two weeks… In part due to the amazing hostel I stayed in, Chill Inn Hostel, which is relatively new (and owned by such a gorgeous and loving family!!), and in part due to a reluctance to leave the coast, the ocean, and the people I met each and every day. I had headed to Tulum with the vague intention of trying diving, and maybe getting my certificate, and lo and behold when I arrived at the hostel I met a group of gorgeous South African people who wanted to do the same thing. So I spent about four days with them getting my dive license with Acuatic Tulum, who I highly recommend if you’re ever in the area! Diving… man. Being at the bottom of the ocean and being able to look up at the water and sun above… Just magical! Truly one of the best experiences of my life.
Wherever you beautiful South Africans are, I hope you’re enjoying your travels!!
Met some awesome people in Tulum… a highlight was visiting the nearby town of Akumal and exploring the ocean, seeing turtles, sting rays and coral reefs… Rocky foreshores, abandoned houses and having cold tree-top beers watching the sky rain down.
So I left Tulum yet again feeling as if I was leaving a piece of my heart and a new home… Only to meet up with the people in the tour I was going on through Belize and Guatemala. Such beautiful people that I’m very glad to have met and created some awesome memories with. We headed first to the island of Caye Caulker en Belize… where the predominant language is English!! After four weeks in Mexico, it felt forced and almost rude to say hello to waiters and shop assistants, but it was lovely to spend three days on a tiny Caribbean island… I got to experience an incredible tropical storm, where I did have thoughts of being wiped off the face of the Earth, awesome beach bars and incredible waters. As it happens when traveling, I found out a friend I’d met in Tulum was there, so she helped me to celebrate my (two-day) 21st birthday, along with the crew I was with. Such a special time! In the morning of my birthday I went scuba diving, fittingly to 21 metres, and then spent time swimming in the sun and eating good food… heading out later that night for drinks, dinner and dancing. All in all a total success and I thank everyone that helped me celebrate! 😀
The incredible ocean of Caye Caulker…
I loved sitting here watching people learn to kite surf in the crazy winds.
Look at the wind!!
Kayaking and paddle boarding 😀
Beautiful Debbie helping me to celebrate 21 years!
Birthday swims against the current with beautiful Emma 😉
Did I mention the amount of loved dogs that roam the sands of Caye Caulker…?
Some people (myself) would call it heaven…
Birthday celebrations ❤
If you like Piña coladas…
and interesting reggae bars…
After Caye Caulker headed to the inland town of San Ignacio… If ever there’s been a place full of deja vu, it was there. Explored the amazing ATM cave; entered the underworld and saw some Mayan sacrificial skeletons and incredible rock formations… but no pictures 😉 If you want to see then click here!
After San Ignacio we crossed the border into Guatemala… and again into the land of the Spanish! I could have cried with happiness; I felt like I was home again.
Guatemala was full of beautiful lakes, rain forests, jungle, people, culture, food, music, drinks, rivers, trees, temples… I have so much to write that I just can’t type fast enough, think fast enough – so perhaps some pictures will have to do. I shall have to put these all on facebook this week sometime… but if one photo shows how much I loved Guatemala, how at home I felt, I think it is this one…
The beautiful temples of Tikal…
Ghostly dawning of the day at the top of a temple in Tikal
Being a goober…
Antigua! Full ofobblestones, volcanoes and mojitos..
Staying in a small Mayan village near Lake Atitlan…
Spot the shoes.
Lago de Atitlán
Okay, I think I’m done… Thank you to all the beautiful people I’ve crossed paths with, my travels wouldn’t have been the same without you. Cheers to the Intrepid crew, you guys are awesome 🙂
Now I’m heading back to Guelph for a couple of days before heading off for some trekking in Iceland, and over to the UK for the last stint before I head back to the land of Oz… Back to wearing shoes and speaking English!! I’m enjoying traveling still, but am looking forward to heading home soon… You know what they say; I still call Australia home 😉 I posted the poem at the start because it’s been on my mind lately… traveling means you are constantly left and constantly leaving people you love and develop trust with so quickly… It means love and sadness and joy and sorrow and realising that everything occurs for a reason, and that these emotions stem from the same place, the same place of LOVE ❤ Well, I’m off to go buy some jeans 😉
Much love, much light!! Kels Xxx