Monday, October 22, 2007

The People You Meet Traveling

I have been meaning to write for awhile about the amazing variety of people we have met while we've been traveling in Guatemala. Just on our trip last weekend, we met some really cool and different people:

  • Brian is a non-denominational, non-governmental social worker in the Dominican Republic. Brian is originally from South Africa, but now is a US citizen. He and his wife have been working together in Haiti and the DR for about 5 years. Though a big strong guy, he has a very gentle heart and a clear mission in life. Brian is in Guatemala studying Spanish so he can better interact with the people he is working with. Website

  • Adam is a newly commissioned lieutenant in the US Army Reserves. He was an Army sergeant, but just completed 6 months of officer training school, and is taking a break for a few months in Guatemala. He's studying Spanish and working as a bartender at the local sports bar.

  • William is a young man from Belgium, but is of Guatemalan origin. William was adopted from Guatemala as a baby, and has returned to get to know his country of birth. He's one of the most outgoing (and nice) people we met. Being Belgian, he grew up knowing French and Dutch. His English is pretty good, and he's learning Spanish.

  • Laurel and Darrin, a mid-life couple from California who are 9 months into a 15 month trip around the world. They've been backpacking for 9 months, and have been all over... Australia, Nepal, India, etc. From here they are headed to South America. Their $3,000 round-the-world airline ticket runs out in March... Website

  • Steve and Jacky are a mid-life couple from New Zealand, traveling in Mexico and Guatemala on a 6 week vacation. Jacky's stories of traveling in her younger days (3 days across Africa in the back of a fish truck) were incredible.

  • Kim, who is a 50-ish Korean man. His brother has lived in Guatemala for a number of years and Kim has come here to visit him. He studies Spanish in the school in Antigua during the week, and then goes to his brother's house in Guatemala City for the weekend.

  • John and Celine, a French Canadian couple. John is here for his 4th time. His Spanish is pretty good, but he's still expanding his vocabulary and increasing his fluency. He brought his wife Celine down here so she could learn and travel with him.

  • Hanneka, a Dutch woman. Here by herself, just hanging out in Guatemala, and learning Spanish and seeing the sights.

  • Suresh, who is a Canadian from Ontario. He has just completed his medical school entrance exams, and has a couple of months to wait before the results come back. So he's here studying Spanish and hanging out. He already knows Spanish much better than I do (from only 2 weeks and Spain, he said).

  • Lucy, a young girl about 21 who wasn't really interested in college. Her parents suggested she try a different tack and encouraged her to go to Guatemala to volunteer to do some social work up in the highlands of Guatemala. The prerequisite was 2 months of language school, which she finished last week. Lucy got on a bus for Xela last weekend to go up into the mountains until Christmas.

  • And of course the 'yachties'. To our amigos at the school, our life and plans are very exotic, too. They are interested in exactly how we are living (and how we can afford it.

Dave's Website

Memory Rose's Website

The common questions when you meet another student (in a bar, in the square, on a bus to somewhere, at the mid-morning break at the school).

- Where are you from?
- How long are you here for?
- Where have you been in Guatemala?
- Where are you going next?
- How can you afford to do this?

It is fun sharing life stories and tips about how to see more of Guatemala for less. And it is inspiring to meet other adventurous people like ourselves.

1 comment:

  1. It really is all about the people isn't it - it really is a small world - when Don, Gwen and I were at Musket Cove in Fiji - we met 3 couples - all from Tampa/St. Pete - now go figure - how is your Spanish going? Como estas Hoy?
    Hasta Luego,