Today marks the 1 year anniversary since we officially began our Latin America road trip - aka. 1 year exactly since we crossed the border into Tijuana, Baja California.
It's crazy how we both remember it like it was yesterday. In fact it feels so recent that we may have almost forgotten it, but ironically we set forth into this new life on World Water Day, March 22. Our year was about to exist around the importance of this very day.
That Sunday morning was one that will be forever engraved into my mind. We shoved our last few things into Dewey in Veronica & Marco's driveway in Chula Vista, stopped by the local Ralph's for a doughnut and a Starbucks and then headed out to exchange our dollars for pesos, literally just 1 freeway exit away from Mexico. I remember calling my parents to say my final farewell and then shutting off my hot pink razor cell phone and canceling our T-Mobile service for good. Before pulling into the line of cars at the border we meticulously made sure that we had all our paperwork in place, our valuables safely hidden or locked up, and said a prayer for the journey that we were about to begin.
After receiving our vehicle permit we hit the highway and hightailed it as far away from TJ as we could get. All the fears of our family and friends had invaded our minds and we felt as though by crossing the border we were literally risking our lives. That day we drove a record number of miles, stopping only once or twice for necessary drink and bathroom breaks. We pulled into a deserted campground in the desert of Cataviña and set up camp for our very first night in Dewey. It was only the 3rd or 4th time we had popped him up since bringing him home just a few days before. We dug out the sleeping bags (and a comforter) for which would go down in the books as our coldest night's sleep all year. I don't think we used the sleeping bags again the whole trip. Ben whipped us up a hot dinner and we sat outside taking in the stars in the huge black sky overhead. It was windy, really windy, that night. I barely slept at all - partly because of the wind but mostly because of my nerves.
The next morning we were up bright and early and after a breakfast of hot oatmeal and coffee whipped up in our trusty french press (quite possibly the best item we brought with us) we were off again, deeper into the desert. With each passing day we became more comfortable, more confident, and more carefree. We were living a dream come true!
It wasn't until a week or so later that I was able to post about the beginning of our adventure (click here). The whole blogging thing was definitely a struggle at first, but it too became easier, more enjoyable and second nature after a while. Choosing to document our journey and year abroad like this was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Being able to look back on the amazing details of this chapter in our lives is what gives me the motivation to carry on....even when I'm experiencing a lazy blogger's lull!
While at times we feel like this last year has been a total whirlwind and other days life has dragged on, with each new experience we continue to be more impressed, inspired and encouraged by the kindness of the Guatemalan people and the charity of our co-workers and friends. We know we will soon be closing this chapter, but remain optimistic that the next one will be just as amazing in a very different kind of way. For now we are proud to call Guatemala our home and look forward to a day when we will return to continue our work, reconnect with old friends and live out new dreams.
9 months ago