Coffee Rings + Pen Ink

Do NOT fight with a Volcano

Central American Travel | November 12, 2009

My battered limbs are giving me grief today after my battle with Cerro Negro, the youngest active volcano in Nicaragua. The relationship began well, but after an hour of hiking in the stifling heat it was my time to go, and armed with a sled and very little knowledge of how to stop myself zooming down the steep volcanic soil, we broke up - or rather, I broke up. I am no stranger to the wonderful concept of the "face plant", but this one was particularly painful. Thankfully I was able to stand up, dust myself off and march down to the bottom of the peak with a smile on my face and dirt in my teeth, as a lot of other people have been a lot worse off.

It did get me to thinking though, about how much emphasis we place on the insides of our bodies when traveling, constantly beating up our liver and churning the cogs in our heads in a vain attempt to gain some sort of meaning or clarity out of our time spent in transit. I love every second of being away from home, hauling my life on my back and meeting new people, but the self indulgent element of such brands of travel cannot be confirmed nor denied. I am onto my third travel journal in eight months and it doesn´t appear to end there. Blog posts such as this one conspire to turn me into a memory making machine for my friends, family, and net-nerds everywhere. It is not a bad thing, not by a long shot, but it does have the affect of making me asses my daily thoughts and feelings in a way that lends itself more to a daytime talk show than a private soliloquy. What makes you turn inwards in the face of such externally rich environments? I feel a sense of constant guilt over not taking enough photos or missing a day in my journal, when really that is exactly what should be happening...apparently.

Whenever I whip out my journal in a hostel or cafe, I am usually met by a chorus of voices proclaiming how far behind they are or why they gave up on recording their sojourns. It is almost as if I am a psychologist, ready and waiting, to cure you of your journal-guilt in a confessional designed to purge you of your writing sins - GET REAL! When I get my journal out it is because I want to fill its pages, not listen to you complain in a fit of jealousy how lousy you are at keeping track of things. I do possess quite a bit of notebook rage about this, which I feel is completely warranted, yet please don´t misread me, as I am all for either option - writing or not writing - yet whichever you choose, you should feel content and safe in the knowledge that you are enjoying yourself by also keeping the whinging to a minimum!


Comments

1. Dominique on November 12, 2009

Too true! I also manage to regularly record my travel experiences for posterity and am amazed that most people rely on their memory for this. I make goldfish look like elephants in the memory stakes, so make sure I write everything worth remembering down. The best thing about this is that I can also choose what happened and what didn't, by including it or not. Salta horseriding excursion? What Salta horseriding excursion??

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About Marion Piper

Writing is like a good cup of coffee for me - it smells amazing, perks me up and opens my mind to other possibilities. What you get when you mix one coffee loving Australian with the world of travel is most definately an explosion of ideas, stories and honest reflections.
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