Monday, March 10, 2014

And Then There Was One...

I'm not quite sure how to preface this so let me just be direct and spit it out: my husband is on a flight back to the US and I'm on my way to El Salvador. 

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
This is what we signed up for, it's part of the adventure! I thought. But his discomfort morphed into anxiety which stayed with him throughout Belize and Guatemala (where I am now). Combined with several factors (everything costing more than we thought it would, preparing to enter the military, the weight of student loan payments hanging over our shoulders) and missing family and friends in the States after living in Canada for three years, it all came to a head.

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
"What's wrong?" I asked my husband as he stared out the window with a look of sadness on his face. 

"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. 

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14 comments:

  1. Aww :) I totally understand where you're coming from in regards to not being up to blogging while your personal life isn't where you want it to be. I'm in the same boat! I'm glad you're continuing your journey and I look forward to hearing all about your adventures.

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    1. Thanks for your words of support Candice, it means a lot. As for personal life stuff... yup I know you feel me on this! Are you and weirdo roommate girl actually in the same room room or do you at least have your own bedroom? I can't imagine sharing as an adult with a stranger!

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    2. Not the same room but having a roommate is completely different as an adult than it was even in college. I just feel odd and it doesn't feel like my own space. I'll be so happy when Kyle is back so we can settle into our own place.

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    3. I know what you mean, especially if you moved into "her" apartment after it was already established. Just two more months left which means you can start looking/applying for new places right??

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    4. I can but most of the things I see will probably be gone so I'll probably start looking at the beginning of April. I'm so excited!

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  2. Travel Safe Girlie and know that we all love you!! Be strong, Be safe and Be happy!!!! I have great confidence that you guys will be ok!! HUGS from Southern Ontario where it's very cold!!

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    1. Linda!! :) I didn't know that you read my blog (or wrote one yourself)! Thank you for the e-hugs and kind words, very appreciated. I'm off to go read your site now....

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  3. I don't like sharing anything about my personal life so this was very brave of you and I'm sure you felt better after letting it out. I hope the next 5 weeks are great and you enjoy your birthday! :-)

    Mo

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    1. As cheesy as it sounds it really was therapeutic writing everything out and I felt much better after putting my feelings into words. My solo adventure is off to a good start so far, I'm safe and comfortable in El Salvador and treating myself to a massage tomorrow :) Thank you for the early birthday wishes!

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  4. Here's what I have to say about this whole situation. Yes your hubs went back and I know you miss him terribly but girl HAVE FUN. This is probably a once in a lifetime opportunity. Enjoy it!! I backpacked Panama by myself (no one would go with me) and had an absolute blast. I made friends with people in the hostels and out about on my daily outings. You've got this! Happy Birthday!!

    P.S. I loved the chicken buses in Panama :)

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    1. Ashley you are so sweet, thanks for the pep talk!! After blogging it out yesterday I felt much better. Got a little down today eating dinner by myself with couples all around me (and my damn e-reader died! noooo!) but I know it's just getting used to being alone and you're right, I'm definitely going to make the best of this opportunity. Did you hit up Bocas del Toro? Any island(s) in particular you'd recommend?

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  5. Thanks for sharing your story! Go girl. Have fun and stay safe!

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    1. I'm trying girl ;) Rescued some baby turtles this evening which was a first! Thanks for reading and always leaving such sweet comments.

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  6. I completely understand what you mean about sharing your personal life. Its something I struggle with because I value my privacy with my husband but I still want to be open with everyone. So thank you for sharing.
    I think you made the right choice for you and your marriage. Its important to always allow each other to grow, if you had left you would have come to regret it. This is a once in lifetime opportunity for you to travel and explore before the two of you move forward with your life ( like kids & careers )...once you start a family opportunities like these are hard to come by.
    Plus I also think the universe is trying to show you what you are truly capable of. So travel safe and have fun! Happy Birthday to you :)

    xo, Jackie
    www.stylemydreams.wordpress.com

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