I realized what it was. It’s not entirely our fault – some fault lies with Central America. But, we strayed from our core travel philosophy, even if I did not have one clearly identified before now.
We generally consider ourselves indie travelers. I always felt that we were travelers to the extreme. Perhaps we were less than we thought. Central America put us in our places. Real quick. These are round the world, or RTW problems.
Straying From Our Philosophy
While in Central America we struggled. The transportation was less than easy, but more than that we felt a great deal of discomfort there, more than normal. We love street food, but in Central America we shied away. I am not sure why. It was a gut reaction that it was not safe, not clean. Perhaps this was an unwarranted reaction, but it was there nonetheless.
We met locals in Antigua, Guatemala who showed us something unique – a Michelada and ceviche on the street. We would never have found it on our own. That was our last truly unique experience. After that, we were hesitant. Sick. Distraught. Eaten alive. Stressed out. We did not sign up for this life.
But, what life did we sign up for? We did not sign onto life at the Marriott. We look for travel that is more interesting and interactive than that. We were staying at cheap places, but were pretty miserable. We experienced a larger misery per dollar spent in Central America than ever in Asia. In Southeast Asia it is possible to get a double, private room with a bathroom for $12-$15. In Central America, in some places, it was $45. The ratio was off.
It begs the question, where is our comfort zone? We hoped to beach hop through Central America, but that did not really happen.
We were dissuaded by crappy bus trips and bugs the size of small children. We were dissuaded by crappy food – we did not eat enough great, or even good food, as we travelled through the region. But, why would I continue to search for great food if everything I ate was less than stellar, and generally over priced. Why not just search for the cheapest we can find, in other words food to subsist?
I wanted to explore, but I feel that it was time to write Central America off. Costa Rica was decent, we hoped that Panama would offer some joy (it didn’t), but for me, I was looking to the future. I was hoping to get back to my core philosophy – exploration, street food, new experiences.
Straying From Our Own RTW Advice
When people ask us about our first RTW, they ask what would we do different, or what advice would we give someone planning a RTW. We respond don’t plan too much ahead of time. But, most importantly, pick one place you always wanted to travel to and figure it out from there. We did not do this on our first RTW, and regretted it.
Well, we have thus far not taken our own advice. If that was the case, we could have seen a few countries in Europe and moved on. Instead of flying to Guatemala and touring Central America, we should have flown to Argentina and Brazil to see friends and our adopted South American family. Or, even better, we should have started our trip in Asia. Alas, these are true RTW Problems.
No bother. We have seen some wonderful things, met some new people, spent time with friends and family. It was a good 6+ months. But, now it’s time to get back to our core philosophy – travel to the places we are dying to visit, get back to eating street food, step out of our comfort zone, and once again, be true Indie travelers. We say farewell to Central America. Hello Asia!