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Boots or Hearts

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Boots or Hearts


Boots or Hearts- this is what Erik the Pilot told me.

I sometimes loath writing about the lull points in travel when the romance of the Open Road begins to run around to the lee side of the island; when I find myself hitting the occasional wall and looking around in an attempt to find another way out.

Whatever these Costa Rican days may seem to a reader, rest assured that I am still going through these days with a smile on my face. Writing is a way to take the world in close and then push it all away, unscathed, untethered, and with a big ol smile.

I would think that it would be silly for my to only write about the high times of travel, when I am facing the wind and riding the rolling waves of freewill and intuition. But this is the stuff for the tourist magazines that are stuffed in the airplane seat pouches; the kind of writing that is meant to only be a bridge from advertisement to advertisement.

Somebody would have to pay me a little more money to paste a false smile over the world.

This are my impressions of the world as I move through it. I want to write what I really feel. Even if I bore myself to pieces.

To travel with a girlfriend is to move through occasional, unpredictable war-zones. I have not really been getting along with Mira for this stretch of our travels. Words that are spoken are taken to the extremes of their meanings. Criticisms of each other are quickly one-uped and escalated. This has gotten hard. But I think that it is normal. I would say that the person who is able to travel with anybody else for a year and a half and not wake up snarling at them every morning is a patient, strong-willed specimen of the human.

Mira and I split up for a few days. We both had a real good time. We both breathed a little deeper: I walked in the mountains and joked with all the ranchers, she got really drunk and fire danced. “They said that I was the coolest girl in the club.” I am sure she was. But now that we are back together our performance is coming out worse than ever.

Erik the Pilot advised me to tell her how I feel, he said that I should talk about what is bothering me. I usually talk things out with my feet, but this time I thought that I would it a chance. So I talked.

And I was told an entire flood of what is wrong with me. My own criticisms were raised to the tenth power as they fell right back upon my head. I was knocked right down upon my face. I opened the gate upon a bull that the best of matadors could not dodged. Mira the Bull cut through me like a leper through a crowd.

There was nothing else for me to do, but put a smile on my face and retreat.

“Lets just have fun, lets just have fun,” my retreat trumpet resounded. Mira scowled. Then we had fun.

I now know that I must keep my mouth shut. Erik the Pilot, I tried your advice, but failed a thousand failures. I cannot fight a woman. I learned this from my father. “Just keep your mouth shut, boy.”

Perhaps this is the key to the drama of romance.

For years this run with Mira was light. It was a good relationship and we were not only lovers but friends. In Central America everything is different. The easy and simple passages have been blocked up with brick walls. I now feel as if I am trying to smash my way through to the other side.

My hands are bruised and my face is beaten. The wall is just getting thicker, but I have a lead on a path.

It goes right out of Costa Rica.

China, India, England, France, Portugal, Gibraltar, Morocco we ran together with the greatest of speed. In Costa Rica our boots have worn out, and we are limping perilously close to the finish line. But wait, I am willing to give it one last try. Lets turn around for a second and get out of Costa Rica. I can’t keep writing these tired posts forever.

Cym the Mystic Poet just left a comment on my Walking on up the Mountain post

“I’m a firm believer that the geography of place, not just people and culture, but the actual physical geography, has a strong influence in shaping culture, how we think, what we think, and who we are.”

I think she is correct.

Out of Costa Rica!

So that is what we are going to do.

And this morning the storm had passed and the birds began singing again.

She gave me a candy heart, and I gave her a hug. Traveling with a girlfriend is the most difficult obstacle that I have ever found on the Open Road. Thieves, beggars, immigration inspectors, crooked shop owners, touts, not even annoying tourist are as difficult to outwit as a girlfriend. Most travelers are lonely old boys walking their own path and theirs alone. This is my usual mode, but Mira came out of nowhere . . . and we stuck together tight.

I can not even offer a travel tip here on how to better travel with a girlfriend other than “keep your mouth shut, boy.”

Now that we are smiling again we have a plan to go down to Panama together then go and work at Copan in Honduras, then El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize, Chiapas, and them up through Mexico to California.

I have never been to California before. I don’t really want to go to California, but it seems as if I am going to have to go back through the USA to get on to another part of the world. The world flight patterns are dictating my route of travel.

Boots or Hearts. A girlfriend that walks with you is hard.

Wade from Vagabond Journey.com
Barva, Costa Rica
February 19, 2008

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Filed under: Central America, Costa Rica, Travel Philosophy

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3053 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Cincinnati, Ohio, USAMap