Friday, June 24, 2016

The End - Final Thoughts

Posted as I land in Dallas Friday night after a long two days of travel. Yawn. 

I love solo travel a little bit more. A lot more. That doesn't mean I always want or need to do it this way. I just love the experience and the unique view it provides. I think, generally speaking, for those like me who are comfortable in our own skin, are happy with who we are and  are OK with being alone and realize this is not the same as being lonely, solo travel rocks. I had days where I talked to strangers more, while other days I was ok just keeping to myself. Aloneness can provide time to reflect, relax, plan, and just be. It's nice not to be dependent on someone else for your own well being and happiness, and this goes for other areas of your life, not just travel. Basically, it's up to you. You control and you decide which way you're going to go. 
Solo travel is so enriching, empowering, freeing, and experience shifting. You see things you otherwise wouldn't see. I don't mean seeing a sight your friend may not want to see but simply while walking down the street. You notice the architecture, the vibrant door, or the grafitti covered walkway that may be missed if conversing with a friend. That's simplistic sounding, but it's that and so much more. 

I find wandering and watching people to be so interesting. I don't stare; I just take things in as they happen. When I was young, I read a book about Margaret Mead and wanted to be an anthropologist. As a doctoral student, I shuddered at the thought of qualitative research-I'm a pure quantitative person. But maybe some of those things I was drawn to as a child still call out to me after all and that's why I am so drawn to Central and South America - the people. I observe and see so much more going at my own pace, as I please. I'm already looking forward to the next adventure!

On backpacking - I brought just enough clothes, I think. I hand-washed a few things here and there. I probably stink today, or at least my clothes do. 😂
I brought: running leggings, denim shorts, Nike shorts, a casual dress, cropped cargo pants, two tshirts, a tank top, a long sleeved shirt, a light jacket, and a rain jacket. Plus Keen hiking shoes and Keen slip on shoes, a bathing suit, something to sleep in, and appropriate underclothes. I didn't use swimsuit but that is only because I got sick. I could have done without the denim shorts and had another pair of Nike shorts instead, but I did wear them. Cargo pants had the most wear, but they are also what I flew in both travel days. And they need a belt, I noticed today while walking down the street in backpack, ice cream in hand, camera in other hand. It was not a comfortable feeling, those pants easing down with every step!  
I didn't use the iPad. It'll stay home next time. I had plenty of room in my backpack for coffee to bring home and still room to spare. Finally-a trip where I didn't overpack! I've finally figured out the most comfortable "settings" on the backpack, here at the end. No worries because it's only been the first and last two days where it's been used so much.

One other thing solo travel is helping me do is lose the "I have to plan and know things or I will have anxiety" attitude. I think at least one friend, if reading this, might chuckle at that. I mean, it's going to be ok even if I don't have a place to stay lined up somewhere. I'll find a place on the fly if need be. Transportation? It'll work out. It always does. There are always enough people traveling the same or a similar pathway. It can be fun to discuss where's and what's with those who are there or have just been there. I just need to remember this. Learn. Not always having the control planning allows is not a bad thing. It's healthy to let some of that shit go and this can carry over to other areas. Don't sweat the small stuff. :)

On that note, next year, I think I want to fly into Mexico, maybe Cancun, and bus south, as time permits. Stop in Akumal and swim with sea turtles, maybe Tulum for the ruins, go on south into Belize. Take a boat to one of the Cayes, spend a day, enjoy the beach, travel into Guatemala, see their beaches, bus to the lake, do the kayaking I missed this time and maybe check out another village or two. Fly out of Guatemala City. 
Another option would be Nicauragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. I also want to visit Bogotá and Chilé and maybe Evuador. Time will tell - but I'm already looking ahead to next time. I'll likely still do Costa Rica in December - I need to surf again with a stronger body. Ok I want to surf more and maybe visit new friends there. But after that, who knows what the world has in store. Travel. Explore. Be. Live. Live. 

Some final pictures follow. Thanks for sticking with this if you're still there. 😊
In my hostel - interesting table.

In Mexico City - street musician. I wish I could post the video!

Mexico City, the National Cathedral by the Zócalo. Hazy day...

2nd story window somewhere in Mexico City

Obligatory dog photo, 2nd story, Mexico City

Double Swallow-tail butterfly. Or flutterby, as luck would have it. A bit blurred as I was zoomed and it sort of flew into my frame. 


What my airport pizza was served with. 😂

My purse zipper broke yesterday. I found this lesther purse from Chiapas in the airport for $18. 



  1. Beautiful Jennifer. Your final post has made me tear up!! Seriously as I sit here reading this it makes me miss you, want to take in a new adventure, and experience new things like you are. I am proud of you and happy for you that you dared to stretch your comfort zone (certainly beyond mine!). You needed this.

  2. I love you, friend! I miss you. Soon. Weekend. Is. Tattoos. 😉😘