Reflections from Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Aldous Huxley called Lake Atitlan “the most beautiful lake in the world,” and that it “really is too much of a good thing.” I certainly can agree with Mr. Huxley. The last 9 days on Lake Atitlan have been nothing short of amazing, and it has been absolutely enlightening to be able to sit and look out at this little piece of paradise and contemplate the wonders of this crazy world we live on. After getting up at 6:30 am the other day to see the volcanic lake at the earliest hours of the morning, I couldn’t help but cry as I simultaneously felt both the beauty and pain of the entire world on my shoulders. How did I get so lucky to live this life while so many people on this planet, especially so many of the local Guatemalans I’m surrounded by, will probably never even have a minuscule percentage of the opportunities that I do? That I get to marvel at this masterpiece just because I can, while the vast majority of people are struggling just to get by. That I can just pick up and leave and go anywhere I want in the world (for the most part) while these local people will probably never even leave this lake. As sad as it makes me to realize that so many people on this earth will never even have the option to see and experience all the things that I have, it also gives me a sense of such deep appreciation and gratitude for every. single. thing. that I have in this life. Sure, not everything is great ALL the time, but being in developing countries is such an important, powerful, beautiful and humbling experience that really puts shit into perspective. For those who know me well, and for those who don’t, I cry almost every single day because of this stark contrast in the world we live in. And THAT’S why I travel. THAT’S why I read as much as I do. THAT’S why I talk to people all the damn time and why I don’t get nearly enough sleep in life, because, really, I just can’t stop living and learning and doing my absolute best to understand and see every perspective. For those who wonder why I push traveling and reading and experiences so f**king much... it’s because the more I understand, the more people I meet and the more i experience, the more fulfilled I become. Even though I feel more pain and understand the deep complexities and issues of the world and society more than I ever could’ve imagined before I started traveling, the more I can appreciate all of the beauty there actually is in the world, and the more I realize how VITAL it is that we, as people, need to do our best to work together to make this world a better, more peaceful and loving place for everyone - including ourselves. Life’s too short not to be nice to everyone. Too short to not help people who need us. Too short to not live life to the fullest. Because, no matter where we’re from, we all deserve at least that.