Turtle Conservation and Dealing with Doubt in Travel

Mexico Crocodicle

After nine months of travel I was back, back to where it all began, back in Mexico! But to be honest I really wasn’t that happy.

I was homesick and burnt out from the road, starting to get weary and questioning this life of movement. I could be back in my comfortable queens size bed, with clean clothes. Warm, regular showers, a predictable schedule. I would have the time to hang out with friends, or just lay around all day watching documentaries and playing video games. Maybe I could even do some exercise that wasn’t walking around lost in a foreign country.

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Now I was back in a part of the world where I struggled to speak the language, where I couldn’t drink from the water faucets, and toilet paper went in the bin not the toilet. I had a backpack full of dirty clothes, no phone and apart from two friends I would be meeting up with, I knew no one.

Luckily I had a place to stay in Guadalajara. Although, I had spent all of my energy and focus trying to figure out how to get there from New Orleans, that when I finally arrived I had no idea what to do.

Really, what the hell am I doing?

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I was feeling lost, directionless, even though there was a purpose for me being in Guadalajara. I was supposed to be going camping in Majahaus to join a turtle conservation program. Still I couldn’t shake the feeling of What Next?

My friends and I arrived at the pick-up spot over an hour early, for a bus that would leave over two hours later.  We filled the bus with our belongings, tequila and lots of beer, so much for giving my liver a rest. We traveled all night playing games intended to break the ice and get everybody drunk. After some team bonding Mexican style I was starting to feel a little better about this trip.

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As we stepped of the bus we were hit by humidity and sun bearing down on our freshly air conditioned bodies. We breathed in the warm ocean air and waited for the boat to take us all to the island.

As we unpacked and set up our camping ground I caught sight of the Pacific Ocean, I just had to get in right away.

It’s hard to describe the feeling of being back in the Pacific’. I have spent so much of my life on the other side of it growing up. I feel such a strong connection to it. It is where I have always been happiest in Australia, and now on the other side of the world I didn’t feel lost anymore. I felt alive.

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After taking a beating by the monstrous surf I headed for the river on the other side of the island to relax. I sat back floating in the cool water watching as the sun beamed over the beautiful palm tree covered island.  The river water seemed to wash away all of the doubt and sadness, along with the sand and dirt. My problems now seemed appropriately unimportant.

That night we patrolled up and down the beach, waiting for the turtles to come and lay their eggs. It was an incredible experiencing watching these majestic creatures return to the beach where they themselves were born, some more than a hundred years ago.

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We waited as each turtles dug and laid their eggs stuck in a trance under the moonlight, coming and going as the night went on. While they made their way back to the ocean we collected their eggs to protect them from poachers and predators.

The following day was spent much the same way, enjoying the beach and each other’s company. We learnt about the turtles and the crocodile and the ecosystem of the area, all with a few shots of tequila here and there. Then at night we went looking for turtle eggs once again.

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Suffice to say I was happy again, happy to be traveling and happy to be back in Latin America. I know what I’m doing now, I’m traveling, I’m discovering and I don’t particularly need to know what’s next. Mexico has its problems but I think the chaos is the reason that I am drawn to this part of the world. There is this certain kind of freedom that thrives in chaos that’s hard to explain unless you live it.

I realised I’m never going to stop missing home, I’m never going to stop missing the comfortable life but I’m ok with that now. I shouldn’t stop missing them, I shouldn’t forget where I came from, or the sacrifices I make to keep exploring this beautiful earth and have unbelievable experiences.

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I want to grow and find myself, find what makes me happy and help others do the same and so I’m prepared for the doubt and the sadness, because I know it’s temporary. Sometimes you need to feel like hell, so you can appreciate how lucky you are to be given a chance to experience life.

I’d love to hear in the comments below about a time when YOU felt lost, whether in travel or in life, and what made you realise that life really is awesome?

beach sunset

 

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“Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.” – Khalil Gibran

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One thought on “Turtle Conservation and Dealing with Doubt in Travel

  1. I’m having a similar experience studying abroad! Granted I haven’t been away from home long and I’m in Spain where the toilet paper still goes in the toilet, haha, but the same questions have gone through my mind just in the last couple days. Some of it from the difficulty of the language, partly from starting school and realizing how difficult that can be, having to live with and attend school with a large group of Americans (which recently has become sort of daunting). It’s few hurdles to get over, but this was great to read – it’s nice to know getting out of your comfort zone doesn’t have to be a lonely or negative experience. Definitely have enjoyed my trip and agree that this lull is only temporary, and soon there will be more exciting and happy adventures (with realistically some more lulls in the process too… not to jinx that though)! Loved this piece, keep doin’ what you’re doin’!

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