The supposed beautiful scenery was marred by the torrential rainstorm and the realisation that my life was in our driver’s hands (who’d been going for ten hours, though with two breaks).As he swerved round the puddles and jerked inwards to let the traffic pass I leaned into the woman next to me. Then they told me I needed to wait an hour for my ride as ‘he’s just left’, and then it would be another 30-minute journey on top. I was ill, on top of everything else, my back was twisted after contorting into my dirty seat for ten hours and I hadn’t showered since yesterday.
I’ve gone through pretty much every illness that I know as a possibility, granted I only know about 10 but I’ve convinced myself at various points that it could be anything from malaria, to brain cancer to Dengue Fever and I’m feeling a bit over it to be honest.
I want to get back to those carefree Mexico days of sun and fun.
It was when we were traversing the treacherous roads into the Semuc Champey area – one of the most beautiful places in Guatemala – that I decided this just wasn’t fun anymore.
One wrong move and we’d be flipped over the edge like a dive master from a boat.
I was going to write ‘Feeling Ill and Travelling: Never the Twain Shall Meet’ in that headline.
Then I realised I didn’t think I’d ever said that out loud before, and I didn’t actually know what it meant, precisely.Good old Urban Dictionary cleared that one up for me, and made me laugh. There’s no better way to ruin an amazing few weeks on travelling than to feel ill.You’re away from home, probably in another language zone, and if you’re a solo traveller, no one even cares. My eyes feel strained and if I look to the left or the right it hurts, my brain hurts, my scalp is sensitive to the touch, my teeth hurt, my hands and feet are bloated and most worryingly, I can’t eat.Travel is a great way to find out what you like and what you don’t, and I’ve come to the conclusion that long distances and cliff drops are not for me. I won’t go into it but Gap-Yah-Henry’s over excited check in methods pretty much made me want to jump head first in the river and not stop swimming till I could get back to Mexico, taco in hand. Despite the cigarette smoke and excited chatter coming up from the bar downstairs, I slept soundly till 4am. It was then I had to find the toilet – an approximate three-minute walk away, outside in the jungle, in the rain – and get back again.At 8pm, 15 minutes after I arrived, I got in my bed wearing as many clothes as possible listening to the thundering rain on the metal roof and the sound of my fellow hostel dwellers having their ‘family style’ dinner downstairs. To celebrate my achievement I stole the blanket off the vacant next bed to get me back to sleepy warmth.I checked to see if my brain still hurt, if my eyes felt stretched and if my gums were still inflamed. Thankfully I fell under again, quickly, although continued to wake every hour, kind of excited to see this famous view Gap-Yah-Henry had warned me about. My strained eyes laboured all the more to take it in.