I have never laid eyes on land so naturally beautiful.
I finally made my way to Guatemala to visit one of my closest friends in January of 2020, over a year and a half since we had graduated from college together and hadn't gotten the chance to see each other since.
From the moment the clouds cleared enough as the plane was landing, the landscape was breathtaking.
I've heard that most tourists skip Guatemala City when they visit Guatemala, but it is where my friend grew up and she and her family showed me some of their favorite places:
a vegan cafe with possibly the tastiest vegan burger I've ever tried,
a colorful and very fun indoor market with so much happening and yummy foods,
a complex full of little artisan stores and restaurants and bars,
a bookstore with both Spanish and English sections
We woke up at 4:40AM to take a shuttle from the city airport 4 hours and climbing altitudes to Lake Atitlan.
The Lake was stunning.
We hiked along the waterfront and it felt like the most wonderful surprise adventure.
I got food poisoning the second night in Antigua (don't count this as a deterrent, I'm notorious for always being the sole person in a group to get food poisoning even when we all eat the same things).
It is finding abstract notes
in every form in every
corner of the city…
notes to past lovers,
to current lovers,
to a friend,
to a stranger,
It is finding random discarded toys, trinkets, objects, and perfectly intact butterfly wings given to a so-called friend.
A tiny plastic purple car that has found itself parked at the top of a wall.
It is climbing that wall to see the view, even in the rain.
It is looking up at the sky and still seeing the buildings below.
It is grabbing a hotel for the night on Halloween even though I live just three blocks away, because we wanted a night to ourselves.
I really do just adore traveling by myself. I love to be on a plane. I love it. I love the time to myself to do whatever, even if that means doing absolutely nothing, whenever, being self-sufficient and figuring things out as I go because I have to and I can and I will. I love seeing the lights of the cities below, especially at night although sunrises and sunsets are spectacular too-- mapping out the world by sight, and wow do I love the light I am a photographer, after all). I seriously get downright giddy, joyful, to be by myself up high in an airplane (especially if I can get a window seat). Just me next to the world. All of it. Right outside my window!
I even love the airplane food and snacks, and I always look forward to ordering my Cranapple Cocktail (the cranberry and apple juice drink I've ordered on almost every flight of my life). Living the high life in the most literal sense. I love getting to discover new things about myself- what I am naturally drawn too, my wants and desires, and where my very self instinctually leads me.
I love having this space to myself. I love it. And I am proud of myself. I'm proud of overcoming the fear of flying solo. I'm proud of letting myself want and do. I'm proud of taking myself on adventures. I'm proud when I say "Hell yes!" and when I smile and when I allow myself to feel joy. I'm proud of loving me, and for how much I've grown and am still growing and have room and patience to grow. I'm proud when I don't look back. For showing up and embracing me. I'm proud for admitting. For exploring and venturing outside my comfort zone and trying new things. For sharing joy and humor with others and making friends with strangers even if it's only fleeting and made perfectly for that exact moment (it always is). For committing. To anything at all. Acknowledging fear and saying yes anyways. For letting myself have this time and realizing how precious it is to me.