Originally I had planned to write a post titled "How We Travel Without Killing Each Other", and though I may still write that one, my number one tip that I was going to say is to allow each other time alone. Well, here I am putting that into practice.
I haven't been blogging much recently (not since I was in Belize) because I just didn't have the heart to carry on telling stories and showing photos while in real time M and I were trying to figure out whether each of us could compromise for the other and continue our trip as planned or call it quits. I'm not exactly sure where I'm comfortable drawing the line in terms of sharing my personal personal life on my blog, especially when it involves a husband who is quite protective of his privacy. So, my love, if you are reading this and starting to get upset about me oversharing our experience, please know that despite wearing dark sunglasses as I fled upstairs, the breakfast ladies have been looking at me with pity in their eyes all morning and hiding away in our room focused on storytelling is helping me move past my sadness after watching you leave earlier today.
Before I go making this sound all dramatic, I should clarify that our relationship is just fine. There was no big blow out fight or trial separation or anything like that, it just got to the point where M was travelled out after two months on the road but I'm not ready to go back.
It began around the time that my sister came to join us in Belize. We had a whirlwind week starting in San Ignacio exploring the ruins of Caracol then went east to enjoy some time on the coast in Caye Caulker. Actually, if I really think about it, I'd say it started when it was time to leave Utila, Honduras. We'd settled into a comfortable routine on a mostly English speaking island and when our month came to an end it was time to venture into Spanish speaking territory. M felt nervous about this and I think I dismissed his feelings quicker than I should have. Unable to speak or read the language, he was entirely dependent on my very basic skills to get us around.
|Back when there were three of us in Belize|
Standing outside the bus station loaded with our backpacks, we waved goodbye to my sister as her taxi drove away from us down the streets of Belize City. We climbed into a local chicken bus and crammed our North American adult sized bodies into seats that were meant to fit two school-aged children, ready for the three and a half hour ride ahead, our knees jamming into the row in front of us.
|A typical chicken bus via Backpacking For Grownups|
"I wish I was on the flight with your sister instead of sitting on this bus," he replied morosely. Ouch. You'd rather be back there than here with me. I took it personally and felt the tears sting my eyes. Over the next week or so the conversation kept coming up. What if we moved slower? What if we cut out a country or two? Are you really going to leave me to celebrate my birthday alone?
I really wasn't happy about that last point. I'm turning 27 next week and I love to celebrate birthdays (especially my own). But that look of sadness, the same one from the bus, became painted on M's face (sorry hun but it's true, you know you were being a sulker). If he stayed til my birthday he might as well stay til the end, an understanding that almost seemed like a punishment once he realized it. He's clearly so unhappy here. If you love something let it free... I gave him my blessing to go. Two days later we got hit with a disgusting bout of food poisoning and that was the final nail in the coffin for M. "I'm booking my ticket as soon as we get to Antigua," he declared.
Some may ask why I didn't just go with him. Tennessee is relatively new for me since it's not like I've spent too much time there before. I spent a while going back and forth on the issue, especially when I was sick and sweaty and uncomfortable and gross. Why am I choosing to put myself through this and continue on alone? On a nine and a half hour bus ride from northern Guatemala, looking at the beautiful scenery of hills, lakes, and rivers, listening to the latest Kings of Leon album, I had a moment of happiness and clarity where I knew I just couldn't go back. Not yet.
Yes, I'm a bit anxious about travelling for the next five weeks-ish through Central America by myself. But what am I supposed to do for five months in TN as my husband begins training? I barely got into the country the last time I visited and am already planning on spending my summer there. I don't have an American work visa. If I was just sitting there twiddling my thumbs, spending my birthday doing nothing in cold suburbia instead of the Corn Islands of Nicaragua (a destination I've been dreaming of for years!), I would be so disappointed in myself. Regretful. Resentful. Unhappy. I'm married, but I'm still an individual. I'm not ready to go back yet. This is something I need to do for me.
So here I am, blogging on my last day in Antigua while I still have an internet connection. I'll be checking out of my hostel soon before catching a nine hour bus ride to an eco-hostel in El Salvador that I'm most excited about. For security reasons I'll wait til after the fact to talk about it online, but let's just say I plan to call myself a surfer by the time I leave!
One last photo while I'm still ahead because I love this one and you're flying over the Gulf of Mexico and you can't stop me :P
PS: I feel better now.