My family’s Christmases are usually filled with family and friends but this year it would just be the four of us. We planned several things to make it special.
The night before Christmas Eve, we visited Temperance Café and Bar, a new speakeasy-themed restaurant with Prohibition-era inspired food and drinks. It’s located in the Chinese Room of the Smith Tower. When it was built in 1914, the Smith Tower was the tallest building in Seattle until 1962 when the Space Needle, built for the World’s Fair, surpassed it. The Smith Tower is still a Seattle icon located in the downtown neighborhood of Pioneer Square. The Chinese Room has a beautifully hand carved teak ceiling as well as an old Chinese teak chair called the Wishing Chair. Legend has it that any unmarried person who sits in that chair will be married within a year. The bar also has an observation deck with a beautiful 360-degree view of Seattle.
Deciding to fly home for Christmas was a hard decision. I had said I was going to travel for six months and I really wanted to stick with it. On the other hand, I was homesick and I wanted to spend Christmas with my family. I also knew my grandmother was nearing the end of her life and this might be my last chance to see her.
My last day in Tulum (and Mexico) was spent riding bikes, swimming, eating delicious food, and lying in the hot sun. I wondered how I could leave all that for the cold of Seattle. I even called the airline to see how much it would cost to change my ticket, but it was too expensive. In the end, I flew home for Christmas and it was the right decision.
After over a week in Mérida it was finally time to leave. I took a bus to Valladolid, and the trip in total took a little over 2 hours with ticket prices ranging from $115 MXN to $200 MXN (about $6 USD to $10 USD) depending on the time of day.
Getting to Valladolid was scary but also a breath of fresh air. I realized it was going to be the first time I was on my own in about a month. I hadn’t traveled anywhere by myself since arriving in Oaxaca. It felt nice to have some alone time after being constantly around people for so long.
I fell in love with travel at the age of 22. I impulsively purchased a ticket to Guatemala and signed up to volunteer at an orphanage. I went knowing nothing about the culture, what to expect, or who was picking me up from the airport. I left it all up to chance and the trip ended up being one the best months of my life. I realized two things about myself while in Guatemala – I love travel and I love Latin American culture.
When I returned home, I made a vow to myself that one day I would backpack from Belize to Brazil. Fast forward six countries over seven years, and my love for travel and Latin culture has not changed. However, I still have not accomplished the goal I set for myself those many years ago. The “right companion” or the “right time” always made for suitable excuses. Read More