Posts Tagged With: Belize

A quote got me

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

That is supposed to be a quote from Mark Twain, I cannot validate that, but I choose to believe that he did indeed write it. And with that, my post.

Lynda and I decided to follow that advice, although we had not received it directly from Mark Twain, but after getting the living hell scared out of both of us, a conversation filtered from my loving sister, Daonne, to Lynda. The conversation that Daonne and I had was a very serious one that blew in like a wind, foretelling of coming disaster and dark times. We were chatting after Lynda’s diagnosis, and Daonne simply said, “What will you do if you lose her”?

An honest question, as Lynda’s diagnosis back then was dire. And it had both of us trying to figure out what to do. We had many recommendations, such as reduce stress. Lynda was working 60 hour work weeks, with periodic 80 or 90 hour work weeks during her companies training sessions, about once a quarter. And her pay had just been cut by 30K a year. She came home in tears more often than I could count, even though she truly loved her job. Her health was paying the price. My job was pretty stress free, and the hours were stable, and the pay was excellent. I had a great boss, Cathy Young. Later I would discover she was a god send.

That question brought my world to a screeching halt. It had never once truly entered my mind that I could lose her. In that instant the darkest of time went through my mind. I stammered, I balked, but I caught myself and said that “I really don’t know”. “My life would be over, guess I would just mark time until my body caught up”. “Probably go ski patrol in Colorado, hike trails to get away, travel the world or at least the US”. Daonne kind of nodded and we let that errant line of thought go on its way. Much to my surprise, Daonne had a conversation with Lynda and passed on what I would do. Lynda approached me the next day and said that “If that is what you would do without me, why don’t we do it together instead”?

So after a teary eyed moment or three, we decided, then and there, it was time to hang up the American Dream and go live our own dream. Since that time we have sold our belongings, moved into a nice RV that we call “Koko” short for Kokopelli, the “trickster” in Native American lore.

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We have been traveling since June of last year, and no intention of stopping. We have hiked the Wyoming mountains with good friends,

2013 NOLS ELLE B

hiked the Wenatchee Mountains in Washington,

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hiked with my nephew in the Grand Tetons,

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and in Yellowstone National Park. We have spent time with friends in Bend, Oregon, and ended up here in Breckenridge Colorado for the ski season.

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We spent a month in Belize with family.

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and got to spend Spring Break with my family in Durango, And we ain’t done yet

Our tentative plans are to travel from here in Colorado to Key Largo, Florida, via Bangor Maine. In there somewhere, do some hiking, scuba diving, then return to Colorado for a family reunions, and head to South Dakota’s Black Hills for more backpacking and visit some friends during Sturgis. Stress? none, non-existent and Lynda’s health? She is a picture of health in every sense of the word, so that reduces my stress to a whopping “zero”.

We haven’t made final plans for returning to Colorado as we may choose to go to Utah instead, but we will see. And next year? Well, 2015 is our 10th anniversary. I would honestly like to RV up to Alaska during June/July/August, then return to the US to fly out to Africa for a photo safari with my wife, and if we can really stretch it somehow? Stop by Greece on the way for a week or so… So that American Dream? meh, underrated, ours is much much better in our eyes.

Funny what happens when you decide to go get lost.

You might just find a slice of paradise. I am simply thrilled to be sharing it with my soul mate. So Mr. Twain?

You were so right…

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.

Explore. Dream. Discover.

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Categories: Adventure, Adventure Travel, Backpacking, Camping, Downhill Skiing, Family, Hiking, Hot Tubbing!, Living Passionately, Love, Reconnection, Religious, RV Travel, Scuba, Ski, Spiritual, Thanksgiving | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Belize and the US

Well, I have been finding other fun to get into lately, and have been remiss in posting our adventures in Belize and the US. We went to Placencia, Belize and spent a few days at the Paradise Resort and enjoyed the night life of Placencia which was better than anywhere else we had been in Belize. We agreed that if we ever were to call Belize home, it would be Placencia. However, unless things got really crazy here in the US, that is not likely to happen.

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We left Placencia and headed to Punta Gorda. What a change that was. Punta Gorda does not rely on tourists for income, so at the very best, we were tolerated. Never threatened, but not favored either. The Coral House Inn was a beautiful home, and place to stay.

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Very relaxing. Very enjoyable. The bar was on the honor system, you drink a beer? Write it down and they will catch up with you later. You want a high-end scotch? yep, write it down and they will catch you when you leave. Then, in Punta Gorda we met Gomier the healer, the cook and the story-teller.

Gomier had a small “shack” called Gomier’s that served some of the best vegetarian meals I have ever had. Truly fun and amazing. Gomier was a class act all on his own. He is a “Rasta” which is a form of a religion that I don’t fully understand, but the Rastas are a peaceful  people.. and very cool. He made us vegetarian burritos that were superb, and then told us stories about the food we were eating. Fascinating.

Cooking!

Cooking!

We left Punta Gorda and enjoyed the drive down the Hummingbird Highway. What beauty. We returned the car in Belize City and caught a water taxi to San Pedro where we finished our travels in San Pedro at the Holiday Hotel right on the beach. We walked around town, enjoyed another massage by Ocean Essence Massage and what a relaxing massage that was.

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We dined with Christine Cotten and her husband, Tom Cotten at a local ex-pat’s restaurant and wow. that was excellent food. Great company. Christine helped us plan our entire trip in Belize, I cannot say enough about her travel agency, Belize  Travel Adventures. She put together the trip of a lifetime.

Christine and Tom

Now we are back in Breckenridge, Colorado, where while we were gone, our fridge had shut down (we turned it off as we left) the door latch had come apart inside the door itself, and our water line going to our fridge water dispenser also burst. All of which I repaired. I disconnected the water line and capped it until warmer weather ensues, I fixed the door mechanisms, and had to “jump” the fridge to start it again. Seems a controller board can get too cold and reset itself. and I found the way to “jump it” to make it function again. and the snow piled up a bit.

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For a guy who can barely screw a light-bulb in without goofing it up, I am becoming damn handy with a wrench. Our home is back in shape, I am in the process of slowly upgrading our stereo system and want to put in a nice one. I have removed the last TV from “Koko” and am in the process of building a stereo cabinet and an electronics/book cabinet out of the area that housed the rather large heavy TV.

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Lynda and I are preparing for the next leg of our “road trip FOR a lifetime“. We will head to the east coast to visit friends and hike parts of the Appalachian Trail. Then down to Florida to dive Key Largo for a while. We also want to spend some time at Disney World. Then? Back to Colorado in June to go to Lynda’s family reunion, and if we have the time? Raft the Grand Canyon. Once we are done in Colorado, we will head to South Dakota to hike the Black Hills, as they are beautiful

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Then? maybe to Colorado, or Utah for the next ski season…

For those that are enjoying reading about our adventures? Please leave notes, LOVE to reply, and even invite you to join us if you have the time. and we cannot thank you enough for reading about our crazy lifestyle.

erick and Lynda bristlecones

Erick and Lynda

Categories: Adventure, Adventure Travel, Backpacking, Camping, Downhill Skiing, Family, Hiking, Hot Tubbing!, Living Passionately, Love, Reconnection, Religious, RV Travel, Scuba, Ski, Spiritual, Thanksgiving | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Guatemala

Lynda and I spent the day going from the Table Rock Jungle Lodge to Tikal in Guatemala. This takes a guide from Guatemala, a driver from Belize and a driver from Guatemala.  So to take two tourists from the US to Tikal takes 3 more people.. Unless of course you choose to go at it on your own. And we have met folks who are backpacking their way through Central and South America. Way wilder than we are. But again, I digress.

Tour Guides

The ride from San Ignacio was without event, but the rain and the countryside were fabulous. The free roaming dogs and pigs are fun to watch, and a comment was made about them as we drove. The driver did quite the zig-zag around a chicken… I mean a serious “holy shit” move. And then he explained that if you hit a pig or a chicken?

You had better keep going, or it will be the most expensive animal you ever ran over. The owner (and everyone knows who the owner is, as these are very small villages) will try to get you to pay for all the eggs the chicken would have ever hatched, and the food it would have produced. Same with the pig, all the piglets they would have ever had and the food they would have produced… So if you smack one? Keep on trucking.

We met our Guatemalan guides at the border, and they all knew each other. Good team to have if you are bouncing through Central America for your first time. And we are as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rockers. I mean when I heard about Guatemala, it was always about corrupt police that would drag you off into the jungle and shoot you, or drug lords lurking at every corner, or something else.

We were commenting on the road to Tikal that for the most part, was paved and in good shape. Our Guatemalan guide explained that in a couple years past, the road was unpaved and took 3-3 ½ hours to travel. Now? Only 2 hours to get through. We came onto a military checkpoint, my hackles rise, Lynda gets a bit closer to me, and guess what? The driver waves, the soldier waves, they smile and we go on.. Slowly learning about paranoid US tourists… us.

The biggest crime in Belize and Guatemala? Human trafficking. Running Chinese from Belize or Guatemala to the US. Or bike theft which is the second largest crime. So drugs are not what the people in the US think, by any means. I find it quite interesting how the media and the government in the US makes so much ado about nothing.

Hugo, our guide, was very informative he talked much about the Mayan culture and its rise and fall. We spent the majority of our time on the road asking questions about the locals, learning about their government and it’s issues, then about the local ecology. Central America is far beyond the US in preserving their ecology. Or at least appear to be. Recycle, use and re-use, some due to the very nature of being a third world country, but also realizing the connection between man and the world… Screw up the world? And you don’t have a chance. However there is still an inordinate amount of garbage all around… not good.

More Tikal with Guide

There is a large lake the guides take us by, and I have long since given up the ability to pronounce it, that the locals use quite a bit, including laundry places where the ladies will spend the day washing clothes for the family. I mean standing waist deep in the water with shelving all around and mashing, squeezing, thrashing and rinsing the laundry. This same lake, every 3 months or so, gives off a sulfur purge that the locals say smells quite bad.

My theory is that it is on a volcanic vent that “belches” every so often and creates the smell. It may also be that the bottom of the lake has a methane deposit that releases periodically as well. It would be an interesting study. We were also shown how some villagers are using old plastic bottles and concrete to build walls in their homes and insulate against the cold here. (Cold being a very relative thing) but the plastic bottles that reduce the amount of concrete used, keep insulation value, and actually provide light into the house versus using costly windows. Clever people here in Central America.

The trip also had a stop at a local shopping store that donates an amount of purchases to local charities; thereby the entire tourist guides tend to stop there. The food is good, the pico-de-gallo is HOT, habanero hot, but enjoyable. The final stop in Tikal at the actual site is well maintained and for us, fairly slow tourist wise. Our guide, Hugo, was again very informative about the site, and was able to show us highlights that if we had been on our own, would likely have missed. Hugo also told us where to get the best angles for photos at, and what we were photographing and the history behind each area. We took off around the central Mayan ruins area, peeking in on areas that while have been seen by many, gave us a rough glimpse into the past of the location and its people. I will say that looking around and the locals had performed realizing that the local community was about 128,000 people, a LOT of work.

Tikal center

Then the realization hit that they had zero machinery, and it was all done by hand and by animals. They flattened large areas for building their temples and astrological viewpoints from, knew enough about stars to align the buildings perfectly, and were able to raise these buildings without help of any mechanical assistance.

Pretty damn crazy.

And to both of us who had seen pictures of these ruins in our books in school? Even more astounding was that two kids from Roswell had made it here to see this human accomplishment. I think this was a surprising discovery that somehow, two kids from a pretty humble start in life had found their way to Guatemala and were standing in some ruins dating back to 700AD. Not a bad start for a road trip for a lifetime.

Us in Guatemala

When we finally finished the tour of the Tikal site, we returned to the Table Rock Jungle Lodge with little or no issue, muddy, tired and very happy. We spent the evening talking to travelers, who were staying here, and wild tales were shared, contact information swapped, and tired eyes took us to bed. Then Lynda had a surprise visitor. Something she ate caused a blockage in her intestine, which catapulted us, right back into the wide world of cancer.

Jungle Boogie

Jungle Boogie

Lynda and I had hoped that those days were behind us, that the days of swollen intestines closing off food processing were over. And apparently they are not. The larger issue with this problem is that there is not a lot of medical help available here, so Lynda, being the incredibly “insightful” person she is, made it a point to bring pain killers and stool softeners on the trip. After about 2 hours of intense pain and discomfort, the blockage either broke down and passed or came up, or both. Welcome to the roller coaster from hell. One-minute life is good, and in a split second it can be questioned how much you have left.

Now, instead of freaking out and collapsing into a bowl of emotional jelly, which was my gut reaction, we have both determined that path is not for us. While quite scary and disconcerting there is another angle to look at this incident. The angle we take is a way to make something positive out of something that is as spooky as it gets.

Getting the shit scared out of you reminds you how tenuous your hold on life can be, and that in a moment, your life can be wrested away from any plans you may have had. So we live in the moment, with these reminders to do just that. Planning ahead is fine, but make the plan for the immediate future your priority, your drive.

Life is a short run thing, no matter how long you have. And with that, make the most of what you have while you have it… Surprises, both good and bad come your way every day. So make the best of every moment you have. This is how “cancer” or “can-serve” affects our lives. We make it a better life by the drive this disease gives us.

Lynda may live to be one hundred, I may live to be one hundred, or we may not. We live as if we may not. We live as if today might very well be the last, and with that point of view it makes life more energetic, fun, passionate, scary, exciting. Pick one. Pick them all, but don’t stand around trying to figure out which one to pick… Get busy living, Or get busy dying. We choose the former.

On that note, we have begun building our bucket lists again, working on which adventure should be next, and in that, we have had shifts in our comfort zones, at least I certainly have. Earlier I had said the couple that were backpacking through central America and south America were wilder than us? Maybe not anymore. Although we are not likely to grab a pack and give central America a go, we are not against it either.

Categories: Adventure, Adventure Travel, Backpacking, Camping, Family, Hiking, Living Passionately, Love, Reconnection, Spiritual, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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