Thoughts on Being a Jaded Traveler

Church in Chichicastenango

What was once an ‘adventure’ is now just hard work; a ginormous pain in the butt.

A couple of weekends ago I went to Chichicastenango (try saying that five times fast) to see the largest market in Latin America.

Besides hundreds of rainbow-colored blankets and handbags, the list of items vendors tried to sell me included several machetes, a ballpoint pen, a cockroach (No gracias, but I have enough of those at home, thanks) and a live baby chicken.

I couldn’t go two feet without someone blocking my way to hold different colored blankets for my inspection. “Hola amiga…” they’d say pleadingly and then launch into a sales pitch in Spanish that went way beyond what I’d learned in my Espanol, Basico class.

The worst were the children. They just wouldn’t take no for answer, no matter how many times I told them firmly “No!  Gracias…I don’t want to buy your headbands/ friendship bracelets/bookmarks.”

“Pleeeeeease,” they’d beg. And when they realized that I wasn’t going to give-in and buy something, they’d switch tactics and try to negotiate a trade.

“Trade you watch por mi bookmark?” They’d ask hopefully, stroking my 12 dollar, plastic K-Mart watch. “Trade you bookmark por a pollo?” they’d ask gesturing towards the chicken stand.

“No. Dejeme! (Go away!)”  That’s about the only thing I can say in Spanish with any confidence. I say it all the time, mostly to the termites, ants and cockroaches that have moved into my room, but sometimes to the stray dogs that come too close while I’m walking home at night.

I hate having to say that to children though. That never gets easy. But sometimes (especially when they follow me into the bathroom) it’s necessary. Sad but necessary.

I wish I had more to say about the market, but honestly, considering how much everyone had hyped it up as somewhere I “just had to go while in Guatemala”, it was kind of a disappointment.  It was like any other market in any other developing country: A giant, noisy, crowded place filled with tourists and desperate vendor’s selling the same, identical-looking handicrafts.

About a half in hour after arriving, I gave up wandering around and sat in a cafe until it was time to take the bus back home.

Maybe I’ve just become jaded, but I have absolutely no desire to do any sight-seeing while here. I haven’t visited a single monument or museum and haven’t bought any souvenirs or sent any postcards. Some of the friends I’ve made here are just so gung-ho about visiting the Mayan ruins or this giant volcanic lake, but honestly, I can’t be bothered. The idea of yet another crowded, urine-scented bus where I’ll be forced to listen to the bus driver’s merengue music at volumes loud enough to kill a chicken, and for 15 hours straight, just doesn’t sound appealing anymore. What was once an ‘adventure’ is now just hard work; a ginormous pain in the butt.

About the only thing I do on a regular basis here is hang out in the pet shop.  My tour-guide roommate claims that I’ve gotten to that age where my “nesting instincts” have finally begun to kick-in.

Yeah, maybe.

All I know is that I can’t go past the pet store without wishing that I could buy one of the wiener dogs. And I don’t even like wiener dogs. I just can’t help thinking about how nice it would be to have a dog and furniture and maybe even a place to house that dog and furniture.

Sometimes I feel like even though I haven’t done everything on my #bucketlist, maybe I’ve done enough. Like maybe I’ll just leave the rest of the planet for someone else to discover.

…Because I’m really tired of traveling.

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Comments ( 2 )

  1. Jackie

    Traveling is Hard work! I know how you're feeling. It's frustrating, uncomfortable, tiring and sometimes downright miserable. Keep your head up. :)

  2. Re

    Thanks! This week I'm feeling MUCH better about being in Guatemala. I guess it was just an unfortunate homesick stage that I was going through....