Saturday, April 05, 2008

Tulum, Mexico (Yucatan Peninsula)
"Mid Thirties Wanderlust Crisis"

Is it possible that a self-professed adventurer could actually be sick of travelling?
How is it that I am with the love of my life in a tropical location with gorgeous views of the Caribbean, enough sun to melt Greenland´s ice caps away, and an agenda-less week and actually yearning to be home in Santa Barbara with a hot shower, my kitty kats, my laptop, and endless access to wi-fi. Hell, I have friends who'd give their left pinky to be here right now on 'vaction' in a place like this.

Yet I'm hot, sticky, and covered with so many bug bites that my upper back looks like a Braille version of "Beowolf." Slathered in a potent concoction of citronella bug juice and cheap candy-scented sunblock mixed with sweat, I've been grumpy until tonight. Annoyed by the sand that's been blowing into our cheap, sand-floor bungalow...the fact that our hotel doesn't even have the pride to repair our broken windows and instead replaces them with ripped netting....never cleans the communal shower or toilets....and has the greedy audacity to advertise its "flotation chamber" which we later learn doesn´t actually have any water at all! Are you kidding me?! Why not slap a slab of butter on a waffle cone and call it ´ice cream?´

I call it "Feco-Tulum" cause they offer you a bunch of crappy services, slap an "eco" label on it and then sell it to you at a premium. The showers are actually ocean water they pump out straight. They don't have electricity.

They should call it "Copal: Just like camping only sandier, windier, dirtier, and more expensive!"

So back to my original fear. Is it possible that I'm getting burnt out on travel? What if, instead of just needing a ´break´ from travel, I´m actually losing my edge and becoming soft. Becoming, dare I venture to ask, "high-maintenance?" I used to brag about being able to sleep on a windshield and camping out on rocks without sleeping pads. When I did use one I was fiercely loyal to a quarter inch pad that had been torn a bit and written on when it was separated from me on a river trip. Years later, I graduated to a thicker therma rest pad with ridges. I prided myself on never having a blow up pad. Now I have an awesomely comfortable inflatable and most times, I'd just prefer to return at the end of the day to my own bed.

So am I going soft? Like my sleeping it going to be a slow degradation of my adventurous spirit? Or is this just a phase? After travels to Indiana and back for the holidays and sleeping on a deflated air mattress on a cold slab of concrete beneath three dogs and a cat to riding for days across the Sahara in a mini-van to driving across the Mojave Desert twice to visit my Mamacita to braving the mozzies on Isla Holbox...I just feel, simply, tired.

The thought of another bus ride, another haggering for a taxi ride, another delayed plane ride in which "paperwork has to be completed" and we, the passengers, are grounded without food or water for two hours before we even take off....the thought of another afternoon spent dragging myself along a dirt street beneath a searing sun trying to find the best deal on a hotel room in a resort area where the peso has risen and the dollar has fallen....I think I´ve about had enough.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Isla Holbox, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Feels like I'm on the set of Pirates of the island North of the Yucatan Peninsula...staying down the coast from a town made of dirt streets, golf carts instead of cars, Italian street-side cafes, and miles of blindingly-white sand set against a turquoise ocean. Staying with my boyfriend's family at a gorgeous, peaceful eco-resort that's solar run surrounded by fuscia blossoms of bougainvillea, Madagascar periwinkle, and a giant iguana named Oscar.

Falling into island-time...sleeping to the rhythm of palm fronds clicking against the sides of our hut, the whir of the ceiling fan, silhouette of our mosquito netting, the salty fragrance of hot tropical air, the tingle of cool saltwater on sun-baked skin, the softness of cotton sarongs against your legs, mango smoothies served in giant glasses, crushed mint mojitos at sunset, and aimless wandering down streets of pastel homes....peach, lemon, coral, mint, tangerine, carnation....swimming in cenotes (blueholes) where pirates once quenched their thirst....fingers dripping with mango juices...melting in your mouth like sun-ripened butter....