The first time I saw Lake Atitlan I knew I had to kayak around all 30 miles that made up its circumference. That’s just how my mind works. I see a stretch of road, a body of water, a pathway meandering into the mountains, a shoreline that disappears into the horizon, and I wonder how long it goes for, or what it looks like on the other side, or what I might find along the way.
I think it’s important to replace the fear of unknown with curiosity. It’s been the most reliable compass in my life. And sure, maybe it’s taken me down a path where I’m not always as happy as those that consider themselves happy, but I have a feeling I’m more content and fulfilled than they are.
I woke up to the view of this lake outside of my window everyday for nearly 6 weeks before I finally decided it was time to see what could be found in all of its cracks and crevices. In the past, all my microexpeditions had been done in solitude. It’s been these journeys of solitude that taught me not to be afraid of it. You can only find the truth, your calling, your soul when you give yourself the space to experience solitude.
But this microexpedition would be different. I’d be embarking on the two day journey with three unique personalities, all whom would make me laugh in their own unique ways. Iain is a Scottsman who nearly sings as he speaks with his thick accent. Alice is a chick from New York City with the kind of east coast attitude I love and miss since I moved away a few years ago. Tom is a cheerful Aussie with Garth Algar style hair taking a stop over in Guatemala as he cycles from San Francisco to Patagonia over the next year and a half.
The great thing about new friends is they bring new energy to your self.
It’s part of the reason I left the US to travel. I needed to find people whose curiosity was too strong for them to stay put. People who were willing to experience solitude and vulnerability as part of their journey. People who resonate with the following notion from Saul D. Alinsky in Reveille for Radicals: “Life is an adventure of passion, risk, danger, laughter, beauty, love; a burning curiosity to go with the action to see what it is all about, to go search for a pattern of meaning, to burn one’s bridges because you’re never going to go back anyway, and to live to the end.
And so the 4 of us set off on a windy monday morning for the unknown. None of us had ever kayaked for more than a couple of hours, but we were optimistic and excited and naive. Beautiful things happen in life when you distance yourself from thinking you need to know it all before you can start.
Two days have passed since we returned from our journey. Iain has moved onto Mexico. Tom left this morning to head to El Salvador. Alice is packing her things to leave San Pedro as well.
I’ll stay behind for another week until I too head in my own direction.
I’ll wake up and look out on lake through my window each morning, knowing that I explored all the cracks and crevices it has to offer and I shared the memory while smiling and laughing with a few new friends I may never see again in my life.
We all have to keep moving.