Monthly Archives: January 2015

Feeling anxious about travel?

I am sitting by the warm fire that my husband built, nursing my travel anxiety.

Maybe it seems odd for someone who travels as much as I do to have travel anxiety. After all, how many trips have I taken where all went well on the trip and at home? Well, dang near all of them. Still, each time, I feel this anxiety rising. Sometimes it starts a week or so before the trip. This seems to be the case when we are going someplace completely unfamiliar. Usually, it starts only a few days before we leave. It feels like a general unease in my insides, something that won’t let me rest and keeps propelling me to action: is the refrigerator cleaned out? Chicken coop cleaned? Toiletries packed? Bills paid? House tidied up for our house sitter? Laundry done? Do we need to go to the ATM one more time? Have I told the neighbors when to put out our garbage? Did I throw out the milk or will it be festering in there when we get back? And don’t even talk to me about sleeping the night before a trip!

The only reason I can sit still right now is that I am writing this, writing out my anxiety. The minute I finish, I will be up and moving, doing, doing, doing.

I know people who avoid travel because they feel this sense of anxiety and worry. I feel it too. But the minute our plane is in the air, I know I’ve done what I can do and that the trip is NOW. Well, also the fear of crashing takes over at that point. But after that, really, all the anxiety is gone and just the excitement and adventure remain.

So if you are nervous about travel, here is my advice: suck it up, feel the bad feelings, take care of things in a dervish blur. And then pick up your bag, lock the door, and go.

Go now. Go often. Life is short.



Guatemalan street food

From our December visit to Tikal ….

Outside the Tikal ruins park were several small food vendors. They were set up in the shade off the parking lot, each with a few plastic tables, coolers, and an antique-looking press of some kind that turned out to be a shaved ice machine.

We decided to buy lunch from a lady with plastic bins of food: chile relleno, fried chicken, beans, rice, and pacaya. Not being meat eaters, I inquired as to whether the chile relleno were “sin carne,” but also that had a little pollo in them. So we each ordered a pacaya (which she assured me was “vegetariano”) with rice and beans. I got a bottled water and Tim had a lemonade soda. She dished up our food from her Tupperware-style bins onto styrofoam trays and carried them over to a table covered with a flowered plastic table cloth, along with some homemade tortillas.

We dug in. I had no idea what a pacaya was, but it looked kind of like a chile relleno, covered with an egg batter and fried. I had difficulty cutting it with my fork but when I finally made it through the skin or peel, it looked an awful lot like worms or strands of narrow corn cobs. Hm. Tasted kind of like corn as well and I attacked with my plastic fork and ate it.

Once I had access to Wikipedia, I discovered that pacaya is the undeveloped male parts of a certain type of palm tree. Here’s to eating unkknown stuff! Buen provecho!IMG_0615.JPG


Yelapa restaurants

For a small town, Yelapa has more than its fair share of good restaurants. When we visit, we have our favorites and try to equally divide our dinner experiences among them. In fact, I draw a little calendar in my travel journal and every day I mark down where we had dinner. I will share my opinions with you, with a few disclaimers (see end of post).**

There is a system in Yelapa where restaurants have staggered closed nights. Check the signs you see posted around town. If you are planning your time to hit a certain restaurant on a certain night, make sure it’s open and avoid disappointment!

Abuelo’s — this place has only been around for a year or so. Rumor is that the chef used to cook at the fancy Ventana resort. It’s a small place located on the second floor of a building in the pueblo. When we were there, there was an older lady (the chef/owner’s mom?) making blue corn tortillas. How fresh is that? If you want something light, try the salad with goat cheese. If you want something giant (and full of fresh fish and other treats), order a burritos. I am not so big on fried food, but I hear the chimichangas are the best. The staff is friendly, the prices reasonable.

Gondo berry margaritas at Brisas

Gondo berry margaritas at Brisas

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Yelapa – Orientation and Beach

I promised a series of posts about Yelapa, Jalisco, Mexico and then promptly got distracted by our trip to Belize and some holiday baking.

This Yelapa post is about the “lay of the land,” and the Yelapa beach. Of course, all of this is my opinion! I know there is much about Yelapa that I don’t know and haven’t experi

enced (yet). Also, I have not been to Yelapa in the off season. I have been there at various times between October and March.

We bought a hand-drawn map of Yelapa years ago, and it might be a handy (though somewhat outdated) reference here.image

The first area that you will draw your attention when you round the point into the bay on your water taxi is the beach. Yelapa’s beach is small, clean, relaxing, and has some fun restaurants and bars to visit. We are partial to Rogelio’s, as the couple running it are people we have known for decades and are super-nice. Martina is also a great cook and you will enjoy your lunch selection. I recommend the fish tacos, avocado stuffed with tuna salad or ceviche. (I can share her ceviche recipe another time.) You can find great snacks and lunches at other restaurants and bars too. Find one with comfortable chairs, settle in, have a few Pacificos, and relax. The next day, try a different one. Repeat until you find the bar you like best. Continue reading