Xela to Lago Atitlan – January 29th
A person, 65 years, who was diagnosed with kidney cancer 10 years ago , told he would live only 1-2 years. Reduced his stress and improved his health with alternative medicine, mediation and yoga.
Asking him if he was scared and about what he told me he wasn’t scared to die but to leave his daughters in their early and mid 20ties behind. He felt it was to early to be already apart from each other
A person, in its 60ties, who decided to start living healthier and work out more. He was the last person in the group, Everyone cheered as he arrived much later at the break spots. Never felt rushed, was supported all the time by one of the guides who always had his back.
I am fascinated about meeting people in their second half of their life’s. The stories they tell, the view on life they have, the patience and awareness they emanate. There is so much to learn but as well to experience from them but also things I have to learn for myself.
It is the 4th tour I am guiding with my fellow friends in only two weeks. Every tour, it feels that there is not enough time to get to know everyone on a deeper level but I need sometime to take my time and be for myself. A few are still sitting around the fire but I went to the little lookout of the house we are staying overnight. Looking up, watching over the night sky, or is it actually looking over me?
A quote from a book which also comes into my mind:
I am having the universe for myself or is It that the universe has me for itself.
I retreat into a state of calmness, I disappear in the universe, I feel like not being in my body anymore but in the same way, i am more then aware of the present moment. I lay on my my sleeping pad, my sleeping bag keeps me warm, I feel the cold air on my face, hear dogs barking in the distance, smell smoke from the fire below, the movement of my lungs and chest, my legs pressing on the pad, my thumbs touching the screen of my phone, the heaviness of my eyelids after a long day of hiking.
I lay down on my bag and just enjoy every second of being alive and living, at the very moment, the life I want to live.
At the Office – February 3rd
I supposed to have a week off, but a guide who was planed for the previous Lago Trek was still sick and I jumped in. It is difficult to find the balance between wanting to guide, walk in nature, getting to know new people. But, one has to know when he/she needs a break and we actually talked about that topic in the last meeting.
Quetzaltrekkers is a unique volunteer project. I know, me being here now and saying it seems bias but that what I also realized more since I am now part of the team. I thought I would have more time off, writing, exploring, learning Spanish but it is not the case. It of course depends on the amount of guide available. In November, there were only 4 guides and all they did was going on hikes and as they were back, they had to prep for the next one. Luckily, we are 11 guides now, we are able to offer again more tour which results in more money for the EDELAC and also, that we can take turns on having a break. Still, someone has to be at the office every day from 9am to 5pm, wash dishes, check our inventory, repair gear, restock our supplies, clean our community room and kitchen, laundry, etc etc etc.
Prep days are actually quite fun, we have our checklist for all the task to be done. Checking the Medkit, shit-kit (not good if we run out of Toilet Paper :D), check how much food has to be bought and go to the market, make the Guacamole, cut the veggies for the lunch on the tour, call the places we stay at or eat and much more.
It is so important to have a good working team, where each one is respected and is always able to speak if any problem occurs. We laugh a lot and I personally enjoy having one-on-one time with each one, since it is still different what you talk about and share your thoughts. Im interested about their dreams, visions, hopes, passions, how it feels to be away from home since those topics sometimes come to short when you are in a big group or working every day to keep this amazing project running.
Another important event during the week is Wednesday and Thursday evening. On those days, we meet up with the kids from the Hovde House to play soccer and the other night we are having a dinner together. My Spanish is slowly getting better and I already remember a few names and games which we play with them. It is so heart warming, no matter how tired I am, it gives me such an uplift that I feel recharged again. Last Thursday, the dinner was donated by one boy who studies now in the US and lived before in the House. Without this project, he might never had the chance to get a degree.
It is my first short break between the multi day treks. Even that I joined the day hike tour yesterday, my mind feels rested and I enjoy having the time to write and read. We experience so much every day, through the conversations and hiking through nature and barely have the time the reflect. Live is of course continuing around us, so few of us are also thinking whats next?! A few had job interviews, others are planing to go back home to study or even keep on travelling. Without at least a half day off, there is barely any time to think about the future and what one wants to do.
And for me? I still have a few ideas what I want to do next but as last year, when I was in the process of deciding what to do after quitting my previous job, I will wait and see what time will bring. I have the time, the knowing things will turn out the way they should and will decided when I am ready.