Think about all the people you’ve ever met in your life. It’s a lot, I know. This morning I was peeling a mango and all I could think about was the rainy afternoon on Ometepe island where a guy named Ronni brought us mango after mango that he kept picking from the trees nearby. We were six chelas packed around a table under a palapa, trying to stay out of the downpour and listening to Haley read us bits of Into Thin Air. Each mango Ronni brought us left us giggling with the fact that we each took a bite and passed it on, spilling mango juice down our chins and making our fingers sticky. They were the freshest, purely mango tasting mangoes I have ever had the pleasure of biting into, and this morning as I bit into the one I bought from the store I couldn’t help but compare it to the ones of Ometepe. And then my internal panic began.
If the Nicaragua Canal, the idea of Chinese billionaires (but don’t only blame them, the U.S. wanted to do this even before the Panama Canal), continues to gain momentum and ground continues to be moved, Ometepe will never be the same. Nicaragua has .07% of the Earth’s land mass but 7% of it’s biodiversity. The canal would be three times as long (170miles) and twice as wide as the Panama canal. And it will plow directly through Lake Nicaragua, destroying its freshwater ecosystem and damaging the pristine island of Ometepe. Destroying the livelihood of the beautiful people like Ronni who spends his days chopping coconuts and picking mangoes for chelas caught in rainstorms.
Which brings me back to my original thought. The thought of all the people we have ever interacted with in our lives. When you’re done reading this, or even right meow, think about a few of them that you can really see in your mind’s eye. Maybe you don’t remember their names, or maybe you never even asked their name. But focus on them for a minute. Take this whole minute to thank them for simply being. Being alive, being wherever it was that you met them, any conversation you might have had with them. Send gratitude.
Last night Willow texted me to go get drinks and catch up. We couldn’t remember when we last saw each other, but we could remember where it was and who else we were with. I’m pretty sure she is the only person from Steamboat that when we realize we are both in town, we make a serious effort to see each other. She’s a bigger traveler than even I am and last night she told me all about her travels through Chile, Argentina and Bolivia, then over to Europe-France, Germany…that she has just gotten home from and we talked about the different people you meet in hostels, through friends, through friends of friends, and how much of an impact they can have on your travels or even your life. We basically came to the conclusion that when we travel, we are the best versions of ourselves because no one knows us as the Steamboat girls we grew up as, and parts of us can shine that we might not have even realized we were suppressing all those years.
What I’m really trying to say here is, be yourself. Stand up for what you believe in, and do whatever the f*ck it is that makes you happy.
PS. Yes, I’m officially back in the U.S. after completing my yoga teacher training in Costa Rica, and spent 5 days in Steamy before hitting up the Main Salmon river for a week. Tomorrow mis padres y yo leave for Targhee Bluegrass!!