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Copan Expat Barroom Wisdom

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Copan Expat Barroom Wisdom


“My friends say, ‘Quinn how do you travel the world? How do you do it?’”
“I do it because I want to do it.”
– Red the Copan expat

In Copan, they think that I do not have any huevos. I like orange juice. I go out to the local expat bar on Friday night, and I only drink orange juice. My drinks receive the hairy eyeball from the entire assemblage expat lifestyle drunks, as they sit innocently on the table in front of me like some bastard pariah child, but I like them. I also like going out at night, having fun, and then being able to wake up at 7AM with a clear head and a disposition to enjoy the beautiful Saturday day. But, sometimes, in any barroom, from the mouth of any washed out drunk, there is a chance that pure wisdom could seep into your ears amid all of the slag.

The man’s name was Red, or, that is what I call him. He has a predisposed red complexion that only gets redder as he gets drunker. His face gets really red a lot. I think he gets drunk every single night. Red is a little old. He is around the age where men from the USA and Europe break down in their native lands and become ex-pats in some far flung tropical nowhere. His red, drunk face is wrinkly, he wears button up shirts that are about as memberable as wall paper, and equally un-astonishing khaki pants. His head is round like a ball, his body is round like a bigger ball. The properly stationed and well-thinking-about-themselves foreigners in Copan sometimes try to avoid Red. They think that he has the propensity for trapping people in long drawn, incoherent bar talk. He does. Red is the kind of man who can empty a room full of people simply by entering. But I like him. And I like his stories.

He also says that he makes $90,000 a year exporting stupid corn husk dolls from Honduras to the USA. He very well may, but I do not really know. When my ears are open to stories I choose not to filter out the smoke in fear of smothering the fire.

“How do you make money?” Red rhetorically questioned. “You use your imagination.”

I have a biting suspicion that Red knows how large the world is.

He then began telling the basics of small time import-export that had the air of being 90% smoke, but I know that what he said had a 10% morsel of wisdom tucked deep into it. That 10% could keep a man on the run for a lifetime. “When you travel, look at the street artisan’s crafts,” he began, “look for something that you have never seen before. “Most of the stuff is junk and it is rare that you find original stuff, but when you do buy it.” He then went on to tell me how much money I could make off of this. His idea is not original, but from the impressions of the other expats at the bar who know Red better than I, I can safely assume that he actually does this. This is where the wisdom is hidden: Red really does travel around Central America just looking for junk to sell on Ebay. He is a man with inertia and energy. He makes his own bed.

A man with inertia hardly even needs an original, or even a good, idea to make a living. He just needs to do it.

I have met few people in this world who are driven by hefty doses inertia. In my opinion, they are far more gifted than the genius scholar, the attractive lady killer, the sexy dame, or the riotous friend. I have witnessed savants waste their talents with dead-end jobs, beautiful people wasting away their looks in petty misery, and truly good people unable to break themselves out of the grind of day-to-day existence.

But a person with inertia DOES. A person with inertia will find a way to break through any obstacle; wall, barrier, or blockade have no lasting effect against shear determination and the drive to give it life. Inertia will bang its head against any barrier, chisel away at it, try to jump over it, or, failing all else, come up with some concocted scheme of propelling itself to the other side.

I believe that inertia is just the ability to find a way. No matter what.

Given this, I think that all of the chips usually have a habit of falling into place.

Dreams are for the chasing, not just for the dreaming.

Wade from Vagabond Journey.com
Copan Ruinas, Honduras
March 29, 2008

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Filed under: Central America, Honduras, Other Travelers, 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 3048 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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