For me, a feeling of home often includes doing my own shit (usually reading) in a fairly open space without being bothered, with lots of background noise from other rooms: laughter, water running, music, food being made. That's how this hostel is, Selina, it's a chain through Costa Rica and a few other countries. The decor reminds me of Anthropology and literally every human here is gorgeous. There's an on going soundtrack and a beautiful pool.
The first two weeks of this trip included Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Included countless hours on shuttles and buses and taxis (and in one case, a ferry). Included a complete disconnect from Work, from any real conversation with anyone not Here Right Now, and from the Anxiety that's plagued me for months.
Of course escaping, walking away from jobs to days of listlessly bobbing in and out of pools, of hours staring out bus windows in contorted positions, listening to others' Spanish- of course these things let me let go of everything I've been clenching so tightly: Children Racism Relationships Worthiness Plans The Future.
A few nights ago we stayed in San Juan del Sur in a hostel called the Surfing Donkey. While bro-y as hell, it held some lovely humans who all came together at night to play beer pong with water. As the bracket continued, I slowly started to braid hair: first Rosa who I'm traveling with, then the volunteer at the hostel, Michelle, then Caroline with Long Red Hair, then a 19 year old surfer chick from Canada, then a woman with the perfect kind of curl who asked if I could do a fishtail. The boys, all with short trendy hair, some shaved in spots, would walk by and say How Do You Do That? By the end of the night I had braided eight heads of hair and acquired a free drink by a woman staying at the hostel who didn't get her hair braided, but had noticed that with my hands so busy, I hadn't had any drinks all night.
Backpacking, before arriving in Costa Rica, has so far included primarily people from Australia, Canada, and Western Europe. They are usually 19-22 or 30+, from families that can afford to send them off before university or people set in careers who can afford to send themselves. People are kind. I fall somewhere in the low middle of Spanish proficiency compared to them.
I applied to a job in Las Vegas with Teach For America and haven't heard back. I've spent time wondering, especially post-braids, if maybe I'd want to spend a year going to cosmetology school. I've read a lot without the fear of not doing something More Productive. The only man I spent any time with on this trip is a 28 year old from Chicago named Dee. Ive acquired a handful of Central American musicians I now love.
I have a week left before returning to the states. Tomorrow is our last full day in Costa Rica before heading to Mexico City, our final stop in the trip. I'm not ready to go back – jobless, homeless, without health insurance, with a pup to take care of and financial concerns looming… not things I'm ready to talk about.
This trip is Everything.