I found myself on a flight from California to Guatemala. At the time, I had only experienced Mexico so I was thrilled to be heading over to a new place. Consequently, the reason for my travel wasn’t for fun and pleasure. But rather because my great grandfather was ill and my father and I wanted to visit him once last time before it was too late. The feeling of not being able to visit him before he passes away would have been the most regrettable feeling in the world, especially for something that can be prevented.
I arrived into Guatemala City and headed over to the city of Zacapa. It’s a small city in Guatemala with nothing much to do aside from drinking their well known aged rum. Nonetheless, the feeling of anxiousness overwhelmed me. I couldn’t wait to see and experience the city my family grew up in.
Now I must admit; the small city of Zacapa was no metropolis like Paris.
But, I can tell you one thing. That small city filled me with more emotion than I’ve ever felt towards any location I’ve ever visited. Maybe it was reminiscing about family stories, or maybe the thought of my wonderful great grandfather passing away in such a frugal, yet touching city as Zacapa.
I can not and will not forget the first time I stepped foot in Zacapa. I was surrounded by large, rich-colored trees, and the many houses that snuggled up together. As the air was pure and clean, the only sound that filled your ears with joy were the many birds tweeting in harmony. It was the best feeling in the world! For one, I was glad that my long drive from Guatemala City has finally come to an end. But most importantly, it was just one large step closer to seeing my great grandfather.
The next morning, I immediately headed over to my great grandfather’s house. The feeling of excitement and anxiousness was just pulsating through my body. I walked through the large steel doors that guarded his house and turned the corner.
This photo says it all.
It was one of the happiest moments of my life. The look on his face when he saw me filled me with so much joy. It was worth the long travel…
During the time with my great grandfather and the rest of my family, I had found myself feeling something that can only be described as magical. Every day, everyone wakes up to do the same thing. We go to work or school 5 or even 6 to 7 days a week. We do the same thing repeatedly finding nothing new to look forward to besides repetition. Being able to experience this new place filled with memories passed down from generations to generations opened my heart up to new feelings. Due to my great grandfather’s life-crisis, it made me appreciate the life we are living so much more.
I remember I was sitting on a handmade chair, and I just so happened to lay my eyes on a mango tree. The mango tree was full of ripe, succulent mangoes. But that’s the moment my heart was filled with this magical feeling. It was a feeling I could not describe. But, I knew where it originated from. Because despite our constant repetition, there is always a moment in life where we break away from the social-corporal norm and get to truly experience and embrace what the world has to offer. In Zacapa, I found myself smiling and laughing every minute of the day.
It’s those moments we capture on camera that we look back at and just smile to ourselves. That smile will never go away, for that smile is a true landmark you have placed at that location. For me, it was Zacapa. My smile has left an emotional crater in my heart and within the soil there, for I have created a special connection.
My advice is to truly embrace what each location has to offer. No matter the reason, enjoy and treat each and every place as your home. For, you will truly get the best and most memorable experience you have ever had!
As we all know, there is always a place in the world that fills our hearts with love and fulfillment. No matter what the place looks like, we can all truly connect with the location for one reason or another.
P.S. My great grandfather is healing, and is almost back to his healthy self.
P.P.S My blog will cover activities you can do to truly connect with the locals, and to be able to leave a special, emotional landmark in every place you visit! Thus, making your experience a truly magical one!