And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful Wife
And you may ask yourself-well…how did I get here? -Talking Heads
Seriously, this is exactly what happened to me. I suddenly woke up in a shotgun shack in a small Caribbean village only accessible by boat. And I keep asking myself, how did I get here?
I had everything all planned out. I had just finished traveling around Mexico for 2 months and was gloriously settling into life in the good old USA. I had a waitressing job where I was making like $200 a night, a fabulous house to live in rent free, and was once again reunited with my cat Mariano. I even had plans to buy a car, an ipod, and maybe a pair of high heels. And yet, after 3 short weeks in the consumerist capital of the world I found myself on a plane to- Guatemala City? And then suddenly on a 5.5 hour bus ride, and then on a boat ride? And next thing I know, I´ve abandoned my country yet again, and holed up in some exotic corner of the world.
Livingston, Guatemala is hemmed in by verdant jungle, a river, and the ocean everywhere else. When I tell people you have to take a boat to get here, everybody thinks I live on an island. Think again. In the irony of ironies, Livingston is spelled almost the same as my hometown in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Lovingston, Virginia. One letter off, and yet worlds apart.
When you pick up and move so quickly between two different worlds, the cultural, economic, and social differences become adamantly apparent. The weekend before I left the states I was selling fancy laundry pick and delivery services to rich UVA kids so they would never even have to think about carting their laundry to -gasp!- the washing machines in the next dorm over!! Meanwhile a few days later I suddenly find myself walking past the public laundromat of Livingston, a bunch of concrete slabs under a dilapidated tin roof. The women come from miles around to beat their clothes out and scrub them for hours in the hot sun. While I guess it beats using a dengue-infested creek/sewer, it sure makes me wonder how privileged Americans can be sometimes. Oh the ironies.
I apologize for the delay in updating my blog, but moving to a different country in less then a weeks notice can be a bit unnerving. I’m currently working as a travel writer/marketing guru for a really cool sustainable tourism consulting firm. We’re working on a project to create conservation awareness and improve tourism infrastructure in the Izabal region of the country, and I am really excited about the work I’m doing. Stay tuned for more updates from my new and exciting Shotgun Shack.