In Limbo at the End of an RTW
05.12.2014 - 25.02.2015 83 °F
I become aware of someone singing in a low melodious voice. It must be Ismael. It is still dark, but as with most fishermen in the village, he is getting an early start. He is a regular reader of the Bible so I vaguely wonder if he is singing a hymn to complete the ritual of Bible reading and prayer before he faces the open sea . It's a nice way to wake up, but I am not ready to surrender my sleep.
The next time I wake, it is to a cacophony of song birds. Who knew there were so many here! There are short chirps, staccato squeaks, warbling whistles, shrill squawks and and short bursts of sweet song here and there. I don't know how long it continues because I slip off to sleep again. The next time I wake, I let myself wallow in guilt a few minutes. This is my first morning in my new home. Because I have slept in, I will just have yogurt for breakfast. Besides, I haven't washed last night's dishes yet. But I don't want to get caught up in housecleaning and distractions-- I need to start my projects. That's why I am here.
I have just finished almost two years of travelling...or am I finished? Since I gave up my apartment, sold my car and scattered my things among friends and strangers before my round the world (RTW) trip began, I don't have a home anymore. So when does the traveling actually end? I returned to the United States in time to celebrate my mother's 93rd birthday (Happy Birthday, Mom!), but I was not prepared for a return. I stayed with her for ten days which included Christmas and a visit with various relatives including a new six-month old grandniece and a grandnephew I had last seen when he was of a similar age and not the walking-talking version he is now.
After a challenging visit with my mother in a small Oregon town, I stayed with my brother in Portland, Oregon at the same address that is on my unused driver's license and any stray mail that still gets delivered for me. I had lived in Seattle, Washington for over 20 years, but when I quit my job and started my RTW, I was once again an Oregon resident and registered voter according to all records. My Portland stay was also a challenge. It was record breaking cold and as is typical of the Pacific Northwest-- gray. Dark gray. The primary reason I didn't plan to return to live in the Pacific Northwest. It was a cruel setting after almost a year straight of warm places with bright sun. I could not sleep and yet I had difficulty getting out of bed. I had a lot of business to take care of after 21 months on the road; unfortunately, all of them were things I hated to do and had always dragged my feet on. The most critical was to get some health insurance. I struggled to get things done; everyday was gray...
I had planned to visit my friends in Seattle, but somehow my heart was not in it (Sorry everyone...believe me, I would have been bad company...how about in April?). I was not ready. I had a conflicted heart, a bit of re-entry shock and most of all--no plan. I wasn't ready for a flurry of lunches and visits accompanied by questions; I still had too many questions of my own. Finally in desperation, I implemented Plan B, the only plan I had been able to come up with. I'd be digging into the money that had been set aside for my relocation and living expenses while I job searched. But without any idea of where to relocate or what kind of job to seek, I needed something immediate that might prompt formation of a Plan A. So I booked a one-way flight to the sun and warmth I was craving.
Fast forward about a week...I am temporarily living in Belize. I have visited Belize several times and know most of the country and those sharing its borders (Guatemala, Mexico) as well as those nearby (just two hours by boat to Honduras). So I knew that if I didn't find what I wanted here, I had other choices within an easy distance. But foremost in my mind, I thought Caye Caulker (an island near Belize City) would be a good choice and had assumed I would end up there. Yet I am not in the fun, quirky location I had originally envisioned after all.
I never made it to Caye Caulker. Somehow, I am living in a small isolated fishing village. I paid a month's rent (a whopping $125US) and then headed to the nearest town with services to buy a 'kitchen'. I spent almost as much as my rent on a two-burner stove-top, a pot, a pan and basic kitchen supplies as well as some food items that will not be available in my village. So now, I have a one room home with an attached bathroom (toilet, shower and miniature sink), a large refrigerator, a bed, a table, two chairs, a 3-drawer night stand and some shelves that have become my makeshift kitchen. There's a ceiling fan, but with two generous windows and a screened door to let in the light and the sea breeze, I suspect it won't be needed very often.
I'm just two blocks from the sea; it changes color throughout the day, but is mostly a brilliant turquoise. My casita (little house) is on the edge of the village, so except for the random rooster crowing and village dogs barking (which can sometimes go on a while), it's pretty quiet. My place is attached to the house of the family I am renting from which gives me security and instant company if I want it. Thus my wakening to Ismael's singing. His wife is a sweetheart who has gone out of her way to make my stay comfortable.
I am here to write on three projects: fill in the gaps of my RTW blog; write a resume; and perhaps finish the book I started years ago about my travels in Mexico before I resided there. I am hoping my three projects will help me process my RTW and open up some plans for what to do next (that dang epiphany never did occur). My birthday is coming up in a few weeks (my third one on the road) and it's a BIG one, so I am giving myself a month or two to indulge in writing, enjoy the warm, bright days and live the slow life. After that...well, Plan A is still in the works. Until then, it's still Plan B.
In addition to my three projects, I hope to share some village life with you, too. In fact, I'm eager to tell you about Belize, my village, my casita and the slooowww life. Coming soon!...An introduction to Belize.