So I finally get to stop blogging about my foot blues and start describing my travels on here! As I write this, I am en route to Mexico City. From there I will take a six hour bus ride to Oaxaca tomorrow. Then, in mid-November, on to Argentina, Chile and up the West side of South America.
I can’t help but do a little reflecting on what’s behind and ahead as I look out on solid Pacific blue fading into sky blue from the plane.
Before leaving home, I had lunch with a friend on the banks of the Salmon River. He asked what was on his mind: Are you worried about your safety during this trip you’re about to take? Really, it was a question on many of our minds, and it seemed a fair one so I tried to respond.
The answer was, of course, yes. What young female solo travel wouldn’t worry? Sadly, the reality is that all over the world, women with survival instincts worth a whisper must factor safety into their decision making every second of every single day of our lives. As much as it is not great to live in fear, sometimes it serves a useful purpose, just as pain does.
But there’s another important part of my answer. Life is inherently risky. Something terrible could happen while wrestling bears at home. And if anything catastrophic befalls me on this trip, I’ll be out living my dream when it happens.
In anticipation of similar worries from my mother, a few days before leaving, I struck up a conversation with her about it as I grazed berries and she clipped zinnias and basil in our garden. I told her I didn’t want her to worry. My voice cracked trying to deny my own anxious undercurrent. Hers didn’t. Role reversal. Perfectly serene and steady, she dispensed wisdom on traveling that I needed to hear, and I carry with me now.
“When we travel, it’s like waking up. We travel to share,” she said. The conversation drifted to our year spent in Haiti in 1996, which was written off as pure insanity by many of our friends at the time. And certainly, it lived up to that label. “But we are so much richer for it, ” she reminded Me.
At home in the Klamath River basin (the original gorgeous river in my life) fires, floods and salmon spawning mark the beginning of a new year. In the U.S. Capitol, political paralysis has set in. It’s a good time to leave the country, to wake up, to share, and to learn what’s happening in other parts of the world.
Vayamos pues…(More Prufrock in Spanish coming soon.)