Iglesía Santa Lucia in Suchitoto, El Salvador
“Can you speak and understand Spanish?”. “It’s not worth the risk; just go see it on Google”. “Are you crazy?! Those border crossings are dangerous!”. Such were the questions I encountered from friends and family. Most intriguingly, the phrase: “I almost did that” kept coming up in conversation. Just then, at that moment, I could sense the lingering regret behind that world. So I knew that I had to give into my pilgrim soul; for as a little boy, I always dreamed of these faraway places and yearned to unearth and understand the lost civilisations.
Oh, how does one explain what one does and why one does it! I guess it is a blessing and a curse of the calling. With that thought, I embarked on an epic adventure of a lifetime. To the land of Mayas; a highly-developed civilisation that flourished and vanished without a trace in the Central Americas.
From crystal clear seas of the Caribbean to the deep underground caves of Central Mexico, my adventures saw me dive into blue waters of secret centos in the Yucatán peninsula and scale the new worlds’ most impressive pyramids. I hiked through the thick, dense jungles of Guatemala, before ending my excursion by looking down on the lost city of Tikal. I experienced the smoking volcanos of Costa Rica. While I travelled, I was disappointed to learn that Columbus was nothing more than a gold-hungry Spaniard who destroyed as he discovered.
I’ve journeyed on chicken buses, private vans, back of pickup trucks, cycles, boats, and ferries. I walked for miles across each of the borders crossing into Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. In my quest to understand the culture and its people along the way, I ended up meeting and making new friends, some for life and others merely for the moment. I have witnessed some of the most dramatic landscapes in the world and marvelled at the sights of golden sunsets and star-filled night skies.
Over 9000 km later, on a rainy and wet December morning, I arrived in Panama City, safe but thoroughly exhausted. One rucksack, three guide books, stacks of well-worn maps and a mind filled with memories and no urge to say “I almost did that!!”
by The Panama Canal locks
5th December 2016