As the title suggests my trip to Guatemala in July 2019 certainly was an adventure, and one I will never forget. In the picture above you can see that written on our t-shirts is the slogan:
‘I don’t need therapy, just need to go to Guatemala.’
I think that nothing had ever struck me as quite so true. Perhaps it was being in a third world country based in an area where people lived in such poverty I had never seen before, and yet they were the kindest, most welcoming and generous people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, that put into perspective the problems I myself thought I faced. My mental battles though, seemed to fade into the distance as I found we would have such a significant positive impact on these local people, and surrounded by other volunteers that shared my viewpoint on life I finally felt that I had found somewhere I was meant to be. This only sought to solidify my goals in becoming a humanitarian aid worker in a charity.
I was involved in a turtle conservation project in a small community on the pacific coast in Guatemala, but it was so much more than it sounds. Alongside everyone in the community we built a hatchery for the turtle eggs and painted educational murals in Spanish on the walls of the main building, informing people how they could help with conservation efforts. Everyone was so eager to get involved, young and old, it was for their village, and it was their project and we felt privileged that they trusted us to take direction on it.
It was not just the volunteering that made me fall in love with this country though, but the general beauty we were surrounded with, I have honestly never felt so free. I was half way across the world in a country where no one knew me, totally alone, and yet I felt the opposite of lonely. Surrounded by nature, volcanoes, mountains and the beauty of the coast, surrounded by people that like me, had given up a portion of their summer to volunteer, I found peace.
In truth though, it is in moments like these that I feel like I can be unadulteratedly me, no games, no lies, no putting on a façade. No one knew me, so what was the need to be anything other than me?
Perhaps that was why I felt so free, and why I was so sad to leave, because we had had some amazing and some truly crazy times, because I was able to let go, to stop worrying for a change, to let loose and do things that give me adrenaline rushes and made me feel alive and young, like we’re supposed to. Like, for example, skinny dipping in the ocean with guys me had met at a beach party.
I’m definitely not suggesting that your risk your life in any way, but it felt good to do something crazy and made me realise we (or maybe just me) worry far too much about everything, and it was incredible to do something without thinking at all.
So, I guess my advice would be, if you’re feeling trapped, or like you’re unsure as to where you fit in, then do something meaningful, go somewhere different, and figure out where you want to be. I raised all the funds for this myself, anyone can do it.