A Little Travel Memory … Sweating the Insignificant Details Sucks

These young Guatemalan children paddling around the lily pads on the Rio Dulce (Sweet River, in Spanish) came at a perfect time on my four hour boat ride down the Rio Dulce.

The thing is, I was so frustrated just minutes before I spotted them paddling amongst the lily pads down a side snake of water off the main river. Our guide was being tight lipped about why our boat was stopping every 20 minutes down to a putter, but I had a sneaking suspicion the boat was broken.

Kid Vendors Paddle Over

Children paddling and playing on the Rio Dulce, Guatemala

And yet he wouldn’t tell us why; he just pretended it was natural for the engine to sputter down to an overheated, albeit temporary, death every 20 minutes. He’d take that time to point out local birds, a white heron gliding over the water and landing in nearby brush.

But I wasn’t seeing any of that; instead I was agitated and wondering how long it was actually going to take to reach Livingston.

Then I spotted these children.

At peace in their surroundings and lost in the moment of their own games; their boats sliced through the blossoming lily pads and their giggle floated over the rippling water.

And I realized I was missing the point of the Rio Dulce if I spent the entire boat ride up the river caught up in my pending destination.

I look at this photo and remember that I still find myself sweating the little details occasionally, ones I have absolute no control to affect. Though for today: take one opportunity to forgive yourself and just let it go, whatever it is, and enjoy your today! :)

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16 Responses to A Little Travel Memory … Sweating the Insignificant Details Sucks

  1. Claire April 3, 2011 at 12:18 am #

    How did you like Livingston? I loved it…so relaxing. I didn’t do anything but lay in a hammock on a pier for 3 days.

    • Anonymous April 3, 2011 at 8:18 am #

      It had SUCH a different vibe from the rest of Guatemala and I spent my
      evenings hanging out near the basketball court in town, watching the locals
      play games. It was sublime :)

  2. Dave&Deb Travel Duo April 1, 2011 at 6:25 am #

    Such a great point Shannon. It is easy to become agitated. I would love to say that I am completely Zen, but I find myself reacting the same way many times. And then these little reminders happen that snap me out of my mood. What is great is, you were aware enough to notice and realize that “Hey, Life is meant to be enjoyed.” Many people would stay in their agitated state and never notice the little things.

    • Anonymous April 2, 2011 at 6:16 am #

      That’s one of the first things I notice in some markets, the travelers getting so irate at what is amounting to 75 cents…but in the moment it’s hard to grasp perspective…I definitely still have my moment’s where I’m not exactly Zen either, so you’re in good company :)

  3. Ayngelina March 31, 2011 at 8:12 am #

    Sometimes I get really frustrated with things taking so long and then I realize if I’m not in a rush or have to be somewhere, why do I really care

    • Anonymous April 2, 2011 at 5:45 am #

      Exactly! That’s always something I struggle with…why do I care if something takes an extra day or two when I have no set plan anyhow. Happy wandering Ayngelina, have a great weekend :)

  4. Andi Perullo March 30, 2011 at 11:18 pm #

    Beautiful reminder and perfect timing!

  5. Andrew March 30, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

    Deep breath and enjoy. Would love to be able to manage that in my non-travel time as well.

    • Anonymous April 2, 2011 at 5:47 am #

      I second that, I’m on a work binge right now and trying to keep perspective :)

  6. Leigh McAdam March 29, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

    What a great shot – that’s immediately what I focussed on!

    • Anonymous April 2, 2011 at 5:42 am #

      Thank you Leigh!

  7. Bluegreen Kirk March 29, 2011 at 7:08 pm #

    Yeah we waste so much time complaining about the little things in life we forget to enjoy the time we have. Thanks for the reminder to actually enjoy today!

    • Anonymous April 2, 2011 at 5:41 am #

      You’re welcome Kirk! Hope you are gearing up for a wonderful weekend :)

  8. TravelnLass March 29, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    So true. Back when I was guiding small groups to Belize and Costa Rica, there seemed to always be one that spent seemingly every waking moment preoccupied with wrangling the very best currency exchange rate possible. They’d walk 8 blocks and wait in line an hour, just to get a 5 colone higher exchange (about 1 penny). And/or grumble about what amounted to a few cents “rip off”.

    Sadly, even if they added up the difference over an entire 2 week trip, it would only come out to about 3 bucks. And meanwhile… they spent much of their precious travel time focused on nonsense, whilst no doubt missing the wondrous sights and kind Ticos that surrounded them.

    • Anonymous April 2, 2011 at 6:02 am #

      I have been guilty of that in the past – it’s really easy to get caught up in the local currencies and the whole notion that vendors are “ripping you off” – but it was about half way through India, when I was peeved over paying what amounted to .50 cents. Ah perspective :) Have a wonderful weekend!

  9. Naomi March 29, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    Sometimes we just have to stop and be fully present in the moment :)

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