My driver's name was Nayo.
He seemed really polite, asked lots of questions about my family and made me feel really comfortable being in that red Toyota Corolla alone together as he brought me to the airport. But that's your job, isn't it, Nayo? To make sure I feel really comfortable and unsuspecting... I see right through you.
Nayo gets another phone call and answers, too mumbly and too Spanish for me to comprehend. That's the fourth call in thirty minutes, Nayo. I see right through you.
That's when I am once again thankful that I kept my sweater on my lap in the front seat with me. I did that intentionally, you see, just in case I need to use it fashioned as a protective glove when I punch a window open. In that moment, I'm also once again thankful I'm wearing my glasses just in case I need to break them and use the pieces to pick a lock or as a sharp weapon. And as I'm memorizing significant landmarks along our journey in case I need to give someone emergency directions to where I am being held captive, I'm thankful that I saw Taken 2 (even though it freaked me out at the time) -- because now I'm a pro at this. You should have blind-folded me, Nayo. This is way too easy. At least make it a challenge.
Unfortunately, (and by "unfortunately" I mean "fortunately") I didn't have to use any of my international kidnapping survival "expertise". Nayo brought me to the airport safely and was very sweet when I gave him the lamest tip ever because I barely had any cash. I felt bad then, as I walked into the airport to check my bag, assuming so poorly of kind Nayo. The guilt soon was displaced by an uncontainable mental laughing at myself for being so silly. It set the tone for an overall silly day of traveling as I left Guatemala. But this was a big day, a day signifying the end of my Guatemalan season. And while it was a good thing, I was feeling so much and, well, sometimes if you don't laugh you cry.
I didn't need to cry, though. Even though I was missing the Doese family like crazy, I was feeling weirdly, sillily good. I threw my luggage to the lady behind the check-in desk, spun around, whipped my carry-on and guitar over my shoulder and sang (very powerfully but still to myself), "This girl is on fire!!!!!!!!!! This girl is on fiiiIIIIIiiiiire!!!" Reflecting on my 5 weeks in Guatemala, I had never felt like myself less and had never felt like myself more.
When you're in a place completely different than the world you're accustomed to, you find out a lot about who you are. When you don't have your comfy bed, don't have a fully functioning toilet, and haven't had a hot shower in four weeks, you can figure a lot of stuff out. You realize that comfort is a luxury and something one creates, but not something to be pursued and certainly not something for which anything should be sacrificed. You begin to fully appreciate people and relationships, even the light, on-the-surface-I-probably-will-never-see-you-again-but-I-hope-I-do relationships. You realize that you're actually a pretty maternal woman and you're really excited about all of the little and big ways life has and will completely enamor you.
I've said it before:
I think the most significant reason why you go away and travel, is so that you can come back.
Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.
While I was in Guatemala, I told friend after friend, "I know this is exactly where God wants me." But now that I'm back in the States, I feel new wave after crashing wave of why it was so precisely perfect for me to live in Guatemala for 5 weeks. Perfect is a word we throw around a lot, but rarely ever truly experience, but it's a Heavenly experience when we do.
In Eat, Pray, Love Elizabeth Gilbert says this, "I've come to believe that there exists in the universe something I call 'The Physics of The Quest' — a force of nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity or momentum. And the rule of Quest Physics maybe goes like this: If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting (which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments) and set out on a truth-seeking journey (either externally or internally), and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared – most of all – to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself... then truth will not be withheld from you. Or so I've come to believe."
I've come to believe so, too.