Traveling solo: Finding your inner Jack Kerouac in Central America
Henry Biernacki has been traveling with his rucksack since...
WASHINGTON, May 26, 2013 — It is still there; the individual travel experience, without the prescribed–outlined-tourist-vacation.
Taking a bus through several countries could be overwhelmingly problematic to think about, but taking one step at a time, enjoying the moments, allows the experience to come together quite peacefully, rather than a tide of worrisome feelings.
When Isabella left for Madrid, she only wanted to see Guernica. She understood it was not about seeing Guernica. That entire process, finally traveling to stand in front of such a piece of art, made her want to experience more of the world.
The slight irritations, which seem to stand in the way of most people rambling off to a new country, would not stand in her way anymore.
Upon returning from Spain, Isabella decided to travel again, going to several countries at one time rather than visiting one. She would take local buses along the Pan American Highway from Panama City, Panama to San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico. There was no more, “This is something I have always wanted to do.”
There certainly is the romance of being on the road, exploring the once hidden areas of the world. Airport public announcements echo, “Passenger Willis to the courtesy telephone please.” The people next to Isabella began pointing to the map, “I want to go there.” Other passengers read books, heads nodded, tired bloodshot eyes strained to remain open, and turbine engines purred through the airport windows.
“Your attention please, will passenger Smith kindly report to gate 54A to board the aircraft!”
Another repeats a few minutes later, “Last call for Managua, Nicaragua.”
There was that vacant spot in her heart being filled by such discovery, through wondrous experiences. It began with a harsh reality of deplaning and forced to slow down, not even out of her comfort zone, but moreover lack of control. She appreciated the fine fact she never listened as intently as she did while being in a new city and culture. Traveler’s listen, see, touch, smell, and taste to know their surroundings when they are in a new country.
After she landed, she exited the airport and asked a group of men sitting on a bench, “Cuando viene otro autobus?”
Each man shrugged his shoulders, indifferently, as they ate corn tortillas stuffed with grilled chicken and spicy sauce. She smelled the fresh aroma pouring out each time they took a bite. One man puffed out his lips as if to say who knows when the next bus comes. The Central American time schedule dictated to her. She waited at the airport for a bus to take her to the city center.
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