Migrating South: Chiapas, Guatemala and Colombia

Three factors are driving the planning for my next trip. I have some time off from work in December/January. There’s a particularly intriguing early January festival in a town in southern Colombia that I’m determined to see. I want a do-over.

Thirty years after not getting off the plane to see Palenque – those immense Mayan ruins in the jungles of Chiapas in southern Mexico – I want to finally rectify an impromptu decision that has since defined all my successive travelling. Plane tickets bought for December 8th, my research for inexpensive lodging was proving inexplicably futile until I noticed an internet link that explained everything:

Rainbow Family

“The 2012 International Rainbow Gathering will be held in Palenque, Mexico at the Mayan ruins for the entire month of December. There will be Amazonian waterfalls, wild fruit trees, Mayan elders, and probably many other nomads alienated from the rainbow gathering that have migrated there out of curiosity of this prophesied phenomenon which will probably be the most epic gathering in the history of old.”

????????. I’m a migrating, alienated nomad? No turning back now. You don’t undo a do-over.

Peregrine: Not Only A Bird of Prey

                                                 

peregrine [ˈpɛrɪgrɪn]                                                         

adj:Archaic

1. coming from abroad 2. traveling or migratory; wandering [from Latin peregrīnus foreign, from pereger being abroad, from per through + ager land (that is, beyond one’s own land)]

I am, at various times of the year, a 60-something peregrine woman. I love to travel, some of it to off-beat locales all over the world. I crave it. It doesn’t take long for the wanderlust bug to hit once I’m over the jet lag of a trip. I blame it on my parent’s subscription to National Geographic Magazine that brought the exotic world to our mailbox every month. On the other hand, I also need a nest – my home in my charming northwestern US town complete with a firm mattress that supports my back and the familiarity of rituals, including a superb cup of coffee first thing in the morning, a membership to the local community theatre and a tiny yard that requires weekly mowing.
I suspect the tug-of-war between migratory wandering and flying to the comforts of home are more typical than not. Yes, I follow the blogs of intrepid travelers who sold everything to backpack around the world for an indeterminate length of time. Most of them are under 30. Or traveling as couples. Or living as permanent expats. They aren’t my story. I’m a single parent and have been for the duration of my son’s 27 years. I recently retired but still do some part-time consulting which can’t be done remotely. I live on a modest income. There’s also the the issue of the aforementioned call of the nest.
But when I travel…..oh baby, do I travel! I’m not afraid to travel alone and do a lot. I also travel with friends or family if our planets align. I seek out unusual destinations – Colombia, Nepal, Romania, Morocco, Mongolia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Zimbabwe. On the other hand, I adore Paris and could languish for weeks in Madrid or Rovinj, Croatia. My friends and colleagues regularly tell me that I’m “brave” or “adventurous”. I’m not. I’m curious and resourceful and my bucket list that began with dog-eared copies of National Geographic when I was young, gets longer the more I travel.
Peregrine Woman was created at the urging of my community of actual and virtual friends who follow my travels on my Facebook page and still have questions about how I go about my peregrine life as a 60-something woman. How do I decide where I’m traveling? How do I prepare for a trip? How do I navigate wandering solo? How do I do it and not get mugged or grow lonely (those seem to be the two biggest fears, right?) How do I travel differently when not traveling solo?  How do I travel inexpensively? How? Here’s how……………..