Sunday, July 5, 2015

Faith in Humanity Restored.

I was so honored when the authors of Once in a Lifetime Journey offered me the opportunity to write a guest post for their blog. They are doing a series on moments that restored travelers' faith in humanity. I wrote the following piece for the series. You can see my feature here.


I started getting nervous in Chicago.  I had traveled before, but rarely by myself.  And never without some sort of in-country contact.  So as I waited for my connecting flight, I got nervous.

And then the flight attendant told me that my checked bag was not on the plane.  “Nervous” became an understatement.  My backpack hadn’t made it, she said.  Ground crew is off duty in the middle of the night, she said.  Ground crew always keeps the same schedule -- that bag never could have made it onto that flight, she said.  Thanks a lot, Travelocity.


I flew anxiously all night, then ran around Antigua in a panic when I forgot the location of my bus connection.  But I finally made it to Lake Atitlan.  And I was home.

As the days passed and it became evident that the backpack was not in fact coming “tomorrow,” I found myself surprisingly content.  I had fun without my stuff because Kate insisted I use her shampoo and razor.  I had fun without my stuff because Aaron gave me his dress from the hostel’s weekly drag party.  I had fun without my stuff because four different women offered me their swimsuits.  I had fun without my stuff because six of them -- six people I’d just met! -- got back on the boat with me on Day 9 to finally track down my backpack in town.

Everyone kept telling me how much they admired my good mood.  But it wasn’t me; it was them!  It was the way these brand new friends unreservedly and tangibly supported me that truly made the bag a nonissue.  I will forever have fond memories of Lake Atitlan, the hostel, and those great people.  That one outfit I wore for 9 days, however -- I’m ready to get rid of that.

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