Backpacking With No Plan is a Good Plan
I sat near the aft of the boat with the sun shining down, wind streaking through my hair and looked across the Caribbean Sea at the island of Caye Caulker, Belize. If my trip was originally supposed to be Guatemala only, how the hell did I end up here?
Ahhhhh, the joys of no planning. Before every trip, I usually sketch a rough idea of where I want to go and what I want to do. The keyword is “rough” as I leave all the details for later. Keeping a loose/non-existent, itinerary works wonders for me because it reduces the pressure and rush to be somewhere at a certain time. Even more importantly, it allows my trip to develop organically and gives me freedom to change directions at a moment’s notice.
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My decision to head to Caye Caulker was based on a few things. I had planned on heading back to Guatemala City after Flores and stopping in Semuc Champey along the way. But what I didn’t know was that the trip would’ve taken 8-9 hours, because of shitty roads, despite Semuc being about halfway between the two. Having just gotten off an ass-numbing 8 hour night bus two days prior, you couldn’t pay me to go on another long bus ride.
The 2nd reason was that Coban, the city I needed to pass through to get to Semuc had just recently been taken over by the military to drive out the drug gangs. Stray bullet to the dome? No thanks.
Thirdly, buses were not running on the 24th and 25th (because of Christmas) and I didn’t want to be stuck in Semuc for 4 days. Finally, and most importantly, our little group from Tikal had bonded and the majority were headed to Belize.
Belize it is.
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Although it didn’t take much convincing for me, Jon took a little bit more work. He literally had just come from Caye Caulker so it would be backtracking for him. All of us met up at Los Amigos later that night and were more than a few drinks deep. I asked him where he was going.
“Palenque, to see the howler monkeys.”
“Jon, you realize that you’re going to be stuck there for 4 days because the buses are shut down right?”
“But you’re in the middle of the forest surrounded by howler monkeys!”
“Let me get this straight… You’re going to buttfuck nowhere, to sit in the jungle for 4 days, to listen to goddamn HOWLER monkeys instead of coming to rage with us on Caye Caulker?!?”
Some of life’s best decisions are made when drunk. Jon got up and went to the ticket office.
Belize it is.