Turning the Page

Ten years ago I was but a skittish, anxious, and naive 14 year old. You know the type. Acne-ridden face. Mouth full of braces. An intense curiosity about the opposite sex. A penchant for screwing up every opportunity to talk with the opposite sex.

The exception to this was on Myspace, of course. In internet land I was a world of confidence. With a killer profile featuring hip, yet pensive, songs, a witty “About Me” to create a false air of complexity, a carefully cultivated Top 8, plus clever comments and posts, how could I be anything but confident?

Offline I was your typical privileged American teenage boy. Sheltered. Ingenuous. Hopelessly hormonal. Looking back, it is somewhat shocking to imagine that awkward and woefully unaware young man taking the step that he did that year.

Indeed, in June of 2006, alongside 12 other teenagers and a handful of adults, simple Jack left behind the comforts of home and arrived in the 3rd world for the first time. Organized by my church, St. Mark’s in D.C., the lot of us would be participating in a reforestation project in the beautiful country of Honduras.

Two weeks later I would return home a changed person. Two years later, I would go back to continue the work we started. It has been eight years since that second trip in 2008. In many ways, every decision I’ve made since then has been in effort to get back there, the place that forever opened up my worldview, though I suppose I haven’t always realized it.

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Planting trees in Trinidad, taken in 2006…
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…those same trees in 2008!

As I write this I am relaxing in my hotel in Guatemala City, the capitol of Guatemala. Despite being just a month removed from spending three months in Europe, I felt (and obviously still feel) that this journey is not quite done yet. Thus, I loaded up on my immunizations, began to sharpen my Spanish, and piled months worth of living into a bag once again.

BWI to GUA

And so here I am. My immediate plans are to spend a yet-to-be-determined time in Guatemala with my eyes fixed on Honduras as my next destination. I have no real semblance of an itinerary, so this trip will be a bit more fluid.

As in Europe, I will be doing my best to update this blog throughout my travels. My aim as before will be to tell stories of the land and the road taken, amplify the voices of those I meet, and plant trees (perhaps only figuratively this time around!).

Drop your e-mail in the above-right box to follow along :). Nothing makes me happier than sharing my experience with those who are curious about the world, or who hope to travel as I am some day.

The world is a book worth reading, time to turn the page!

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