“We’re not in Kansas anymore,” Dorothy says to Todo. And we’re not on the Gringo Trail anymore, I say to Joel. Since leaving Flores, Guatemala for Honduras we seem to be the only gringos traveling south. Fine with me. Traveling on local rural buses, with the local population, the traveling experience suddenly becomes very authentic. You live by your wits and your language skills (limited as they may be), and the generosity of strangers. Life becomes an adventure—routine falls by the wayside. This is an evolutionary process.
For almost 3-years, since leaving the States, we’ve been shedding our past lives—both materialistically and emotionally. Simplify, simplify, simplify—live life in a basic way (and trust in your compass: God, Karma, Fate or whatever works for you). Learning to be self-sufficient again, to trust in your instincts, to rediscover your self-esteem and confidence. To take care of yourself. Prior to leaving the States both my self-esteem and confidence took severe hits: Divorce, illness, job loss, bankruptcy and home foreclosure will do that to you (especially when it all hits at once in the space of one year). Starting over at age 64, with virtually nothing, is not for the faint of heart.
So, as I continue to devolve from the man I used to be, and continue to evolve into the [new] man I am becoming, I am living life to the fullest extent possible—changing from a minor somebody, to a major nobody—I find that I like myself better these days. I continue to shed stuff (both material and emotional baggage). At each pause in the road I continue to drop excess pieces of gear, and at the same time try to discard unneeded and unwanted garbage from my brain-locker. Luggage now consists of one modest sized duffel bag that can be (and is) carried as a backpack and one small daypack (I ditched my camera bag in Belize City, Belize—a beautiful bag, but unneeded at this point). And yet I still feel overloaded at times, both materially and emotionally. But huge progress is being made.
We are off the Gringo Trail. Most travelers follow the eastern shores of Yucatan, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica (staying offshore on the various cayes and islands). We are traveling the interior route, which is more than just a metaphor for our interior mental journey as well. We arrived yesterday at our current destination, an eco-lodge in the interior of Honduras—El Mochito is a small village about 100km from San Pedro Sula (a 2-1/2 hour trip by Chicken Bus). We will be here for almost a month. It is very inexpensive, doubly so when compared to Belize, and will give both our weary bodies and pocketbooks a much needed rest. Photos to follow in the coming days and weeks.
Stephen F. Dennstedt
Reporting from El Mochito, Honduras . . .