Central America Intro... why i do what i do
San Antonio Travel Blog› entry 1 of 12 › view all entries
A Texas summer heat beat mercilessly on the back of my neck, seeping through my sweat soaked shirt and searing my skin. I dropped the pick i was using and reached for the shovel next to me. I began to work the pile of dirt and rock i had loosened up, siphoning it out of a medium size hole i had just started working on. Scraping rock and hard ground i switched shovel for pick and began to drive it into the hardened rock, chipping away chunks here and there. As i swung the pick up over my shoulder and brought it back with a tired force, i returned to reflect on another place, with a sun tanning my skin rather than scorching it and an ocean to cool myself on when i needed some relief. This was nothing new, the work, the mundane repetitive activity, my constant thoughtful reflections and daydreamings... this is how life had been for the last ten months. Whether i was doing construction with my brother, or mowing lawns or digging ditches for my friend's landscaping company, i was constantly mentally escaping. Only two things were new to me these last few days. First off the summer heat was new to me, even though it was mid August. From late April till the first part of August, San Antonio had been hammered constantly by rain. It was only in these last two weeks, my last two weeks of work that the sun had really come out in full Texas strength to lay waste to our strength and soak up the moisture that still permiated the ground. I welcomed the heat though, anything was better than working in the rain drenched conditions we had dealt with the for the last three months. The second was a focused point to reflect and dream on. I no longer wondered what country i was going to start my trip and how i was going to get there. I knew now that i was starting my trip in Costa Rica and that i would be flying there.
Usually i had nothing to ponder on. Just wishful ideas of where i'd like to travel to, or what it would be like to be have the freedom and joy that comes uniquely with backpacking through unknown cultures and lands. My mind had wondered from the idea that i should just buck up and keep saving and head to Europe early, sometime in September all the way too, maybe i could fly out of Miami after my backpacking through central america and never come back to San Antonio. I had considered busing into Mexico and only headed south if i so desired, making bus or hitching my only form of travel. I had also pondered flying into Panama, or Costa Rica and working my way back up by bus.It was only a yesterday that i had made up my mind to head to Costa Rica at a friend's bidding. Costa Rica really wasn't my cup of tea. I had read it was Gringo saturated and felt more like a tropical version of Fiesta Texas or some local theme park. But, flying into Costa Rica and hoping around the beaches or jungles with a friend was appealing enough to make up my mind.
The one thing that constantly ate at me was the money. I needed a certain amount of money saved up to head to Europe and then to start up living in Istanbul. I also needed a certain amount of money to do this little cental america trip i was so sold on doing. I also knew the spending habbits of my travel partner Ben could get extremly excessive and that whether i liked it or not i would be drawn into that from time to time, so my budget would be shot, no matter what i did. My only hope was to extend my stay in poorer or cheaper countries like Nicaragua or Honduras or Guatemala. This would be interesting because Ben had wanting to spend a whole month in Costa Rica. I knew that wasn't going to happen at all. Not for me or him. Me because i knew Costa Rica was the most expensive of all Cental American countries, and for Ben because i knew something would come up, whether buisness or boredome and he would head out within two weeks. I just hoped Costa Rica was more Latin American than it seemed. Lonely Planet seemed to rave about it, but mainly because it had seemed to accept that you were going to be around tourists and expats no matter where you went or what you did.
... returning my from daydreaming and mulling i returned my attention back to my work. It was my last day and it was an exhilerated feeling. I knew that in a month's plus time i'd be returning to the same work, trying to make up some of the money i spent, but for now it felt permanent, final and that the days of this type of toil were over. I loved the work, i loved the guys i worked with and my boss Chris couldn't have been more fair or generous to me. It had stabilized me and kept me busy enough to where i ddin't think too much about where i was and it kept me too tired to get over anxious and want to leave sooner than i should. I have always had a problem with the need of constant change, whether it was work or location, i hated staying more than one place longer than a six months. But with this type of work, though tiring and dirty, it gave me something to be proud of and it kept me outdoors so i never felt confined. But at the same time, that travel ache had been pulsing in me for over a month. It had hibernated for over nine months, but it longer remained dormant and it now pulsated my body, mind and spirit. I always knew it was getting time to leave when my visits to local bookstores where geared to the travel section and maps fascinated me. Even Samantha Brown, Anthony Bourdain and Globe Trekkers held me captivated. Such was the case with me now, and finishing up the day, putting up the tools, looking back at our work with a satisfied air of accomplishment- it all felt so good, so right, and i breathed the air of freedom and blessedness. Its one thing to quit a job and head out somewhere new with the satisfaction of the unknown before you, but it is quite another when you can be proud and satisfied with also what lies behind you, knowing it is a place you can always return to if needed. And that is where i was at, completly at peace, with God, man and myself- it is a rare and sweet experience to enjoy.