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Example Traveler

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A Good Example for Travelers to learn from:

There is a woman staying here at the Hotel Casa Shalom in Antigua, Guatemala in a room on the floor below mine. She is around 32 years old, and is a native of New Zealand. This is a woman who travels but is not a “traveler,” she tries to save money but she is not a “vagabond,” I would also assume that she does not read budget travel blogs, nor would I think that she would be interested in either a Hobo name nor in becoming an Ubertramper. Basically, she is just a normal, regular ol’woman doing a little traveling in Central America, but she has some particular qualities and practices that I think other travelers could really learn from.

I have been observing and talking with her for the past few days, and I must say that she is a good example for travelers.

I say this because she just inherently does things to increase her personal self-sufficiency and improve the quality of her living that I have seldom witnessed even the most boot-worn travelers do:

1. She washes her own laundry by hand over the washing board in the back of the hotel. I have seldom witnessed anyone who had a good deal of money in their pockets or were not excessively cheap do this begrudging of activities. I have the impression that she was not washing her laundry by hand to pinch a few pennies, rather, I think she just did her own laundry because she simply wanted clean clothes and knew that she did posses the ability to wash them all by herself.

2. She came to Central America and realized quickly that she did not speak any Spanish, so she enrolled in classes until she gained the ability to travel and communicate with people in the native tongue. No traveler is  able to learn all of the languages of all of the countries that they travel through, and it is normal to sometimes find yourself tongue tied and twisted. Well, this woman did not want this to happen to her, so she learned enough Spanish to get by and fend for herself.

3. She is blond haired female who came alone to Central America, and traveled on her own for three months.

4. She really had nothing to do on her days in Antigua so she figured that she may as well enroll in Salsa dance classes so she at least she would learn something. So every afternoon she could be found in the Santo Pecado salsa dance studio shaking in up. Now she can salsa dance.

5. She goes out and gets what she wants in life. She grew up in New Zealand, decided that she wanted to be a kayak instructor, and went and did it. Then she figured that she would like to work in London, so she landed some posh law office job, and stayed for five years. Then she moved to Canada and settled herself in nicely and began leading kayak tours again. After a while of this she came to Central America for three months, learned Spanish, learned how to Salsa dance, and took photographs to enter into magazine competitions (which she won). Now for this past week she went through the application procedure to land a $50 and hour sea-kayaking job in Norway. I watched as she filled out the applications, do the interviews, and send out the cover letters. She put in the effort, and she got the job. Now she just booked a ticket back to Canada, and will be in Norway by the end of the week.

This woman is clearly a person who looks what she wants to do in the face, and then does it.

No, Mira, I do not have a crush on her, I just think that she is a good example for travelers – or anybody – who truly seeks to enjoy their time on earth.

I just find significance in the above qualities, but I doubt as if this woman from New Zealand ever gives them a second thought. I truly admire people who live their lives to the fullest, take control of themselves, and do what makes them happy. What strikes me most about this woman’s qualities is that I know that she does not do them to make a point. She is not going to blog about any of this to share with other people, she is not going to brag about how she washes her laundry by hand just because she can, and I know that she probably does not think that her way of living is special or significant in the least. She just does this stuff. This is just the way that she lives. She really seemed to care about being self-sufficient in her life, and taking what she wants to make herself happy.

She has inertia. She has the inertia to do what she wants, when she wants to. She has the inertia to change any situation in her life to make it what she wants. She has the inertia to make herself smile.

I have traveled for a long time, I have met and have gotten to know many people from many different cultures, but I have only come across a small handful of people who really knew how to make themselves happy.

I think that inertia is the highest quality that anyone can aspire to.

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Filed under: Guatemala

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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Wade Shepard is currently in: Polis, Republic of CyprusMap