This morning starts the third day since I left San Salvador. You may notice I say San Salvador, not El Salvador — and that is a big part of the difference in what I am feeling today and yesterday. I landed in San Salvador as a traveler and a bit of a tourist, but I quickly came to more be living there. San Salvador became home. I had a phone number, a permanent (for three months) address, and I had many friends. People who live there called me and invited me out. I called them. I went to the beach, swimming, out to lunch and dinner, etc with my friends there, not with other travelers. I lived there — an everyday life participating in the everyday lives of my friends.
Now I am back on the road again — a traveler.
This hit me as I waited for the bus to Costa Rica. It hit me harder as it got dark while on the bus and I realized I was landing in a new country, in a new city where I didn’t know the streets, the businesses… Where I didn’t know for sure where I would sleep that night. And for the first time in months (with only one exception during that time) I was carrying my backpack. I wasn’t going to just be walking down a street. I was going to be walking with a 40 pound load on my back, looking like a backpacker, with all the good and bad associations that come along with the backpack. On that bus, seeing no other backpackers, as it got later and I got closer to Costa Rica, I actually got worried, scared. A bad feeling hit me. If unsureity was a word, that would be my word of choice for this feeling. I had to get back into my true travel spirit.
In truth, I was never fully just living in San Salvador. I was living in a hostel with backpackers and travelers coming through all the time.
And I have never really ceased to be a traveler/backpacker — even during the many years I had apartments in Los Angeles. When companies brought me to the finish hotels in their cities for software consultations or introductions, and each time I went to San Francisco, Boston and New York City to speak at Macworld Expo, I traveled with my backpack. First with the one I’d taken around the world, then with the new one I bought when i had to break down and finally give up my beloved original. Remember, no hotel or company executive saw me walk in or out with a backpack. They saw a suitcase and bellhops carried them for me once I got to the door. When I saw a backpacker anywhere, I helped. (Early-on I taught budget travel workshops at the International Hostel in Santa Monica as well.)
But that was all different.
Now I was alone without a contact or anything. And my phone was gone too, as sim cards don’t work between all countries.
Happily, ironically — after getting off the bus I discovered there were two other travelers on the bus. I approached them and learned they were going to a hostel just for overnight. I asked to join them and did. So I went with them in a cab, chipping in $2, and arrived to a dark, scary looking gate — then found a fantastic hostel inside! (Info on that later.) NO MORE SCARY UNSURE! I was FINE again!!!
Now I am again moving around, hanging out with other travelers 100%. Working a lot this week, but at tables with other travelers around.
Last night my dorm-mate friend from Brazil and I were invited to go travel with a couple of guys we hung out with. An amazing offer. Hopefully we will all be meeting up in a hour to head out. I will return to this city of San Jose later. (Or we’ll miss meeting up and I’ll still be here tonight. You never know…)
So that’s it from this backpacker for now.
Now it is time to get to work. I have some amazing ideas to write up!