Female solo travelling facts of July:
- Mosquito repellant in Belize and Guatemala is useless, a guy at the hostel asked me one morning why I was covered head to toe in clothes. Literally t-shirt of my head, socks on my feet despite 90% humidity and no air con, that the level of useless-ness we’re dealing with.
- Porridge in Spanish is called mush, I like porridge but a thoroughly apt name for the food.
- Guatemala is on par with Romania when it comes to being an underrated country.
- I got my Mexico travelling video up on youtube finally, wooohoo!
- I’m heartless with heat; I saw a pair of teenagers holding hands on the way to school, my thought was not ‘ohh cute’ instead I thought, ‘clammy’. Heartless.
- Plantain is now up there in my top five fav foods- listen up mum.
- I’m on my fifth pair of sunglasses.
Country 33: Belize
A few final days in Belize which meant sun, sand, relaxing. My travel insurance came into its own with my GoPro nabbed from my bag on my last evening, just one of the numerous reasons travel insurance is essential. If your planning on a backpacking trip I now recommend world nomads. The company was founded by a backpacker and the company just gets it, they made something so annoying, virtually hassle free.
Country number 34, Guatemala.
I was debating for a while when I was in Mexico whether to write an article of the frequent stories on run-ins with the police and drugs. On the 8 hour Belize-Guatemala border crossing I decided to commit to it. It’s the kind of stories airy fairy travel blogs don’t tend to write about, but it’s the travel stories people actually re-tell to other travellers.
Flores in Guatemala was the first stop, a beautiful little island in the middle of Lake Peten Itza and with it came the stop to Tikal National Park the largest Mayan ruin site in Central America. I felt like Lara Croft as I trekked through the jungle another enormous ruins popping up around me. If their were one Mayan ruin site to see in Central America this would be my recommendation.
A UNESCO listed city about an hour away from the Guatamalan capital. Arriving at my hostel I got chatting with someone who it turned out lived 20 minutes away from my family home, small world right? I used the four days there as a chilled city break, doing yoga strolling around the breathtakingly beautiful city and eating out. He was so savvy with finding the cheapest food around, I was happy for him to take charge and lead me to delicious food stop after delicious food stop. Antigua is something that can’t be appreciated by words so instead I made a photo diary!
Nestled next to Lake Atitlan, San Pedro is surrounded by 22 volcanoes on the Seirra Madre mountain range, the beauty of the back drop never faded for the 20 days I spent there. While I was here I chose to do a homestay a friend had recommended, the experience was amazing and the story behind this particular families life turned out to be a very sad one, something again I wrote about which is worth a read. The family I stayed with will always have a place in my heart as will Meli, the mother of the households food. An unforgettable experience with accommodation and three meals a day for £10/$13. I’d say it was the best decision I have made since I started travelling.
My sub-par Spanish wasn’t going to cut for the next five months travelling Latin America. I studied Spanish in Guatemala, my classrooms were in a garden you would picture if you imagined the Garden of Eden. I’m not fluent by any means, but by the end I could just about manage a conversation over dinner with my homestay family. If you were American and wanting to learn Spanish I would definitely go to Guatemala to learn, they do ‘Spanish and Business’ and ‘Spanish for Children’. Even with the cost of a flight I’m almost certain it would work out cheaper.
Days of my July were tough mentally. I had a friend on the organ transplant waiting list who after three years of being there now has a new set of healthy lungs. Having been ill myself and getting a second chance at life like he now has, it well and truly janked at my heart strings way more than I expected, I felt all over the place for a few days. I had a real strain with friends not appreciating, or more so, completely ignoring that and spent down time questioning a lot despite living my dream of travelling the world. But I think everyone has these lows, I wrote an article on how I cope when these lows happen. If you think it’s something that happens to you, perhaps it will be useful for you too. I intend to write a series of articles over the coming months on the subject of illness; what it’s like, how to deal, the secret signs of it, to managing friends and family.
Country number 35: El Salvador
With only two days in El Salvador rounding off the month of July, I hit the beach. I found two aussies to pass the time with. They were down in El Tunco, a beach town of El Salvador for a holiday as they live in Anitgua, Guatemala for a non-profit school teaching kids who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford food, shelter or education. We drank cocktails, watched sunsets and relaxed in pools. It was perfect.