The weeks before leaving Vancouver to settle in Tecpan, Guatemala, I felt the pressure of attending to the many inevitable details. Finding a suitable vehicle, building a truck canopy, sorting what to bring, what to leave, and saying goodbye to our many friends and family. It felt endless.
Once on the road I thought the stress might ease, but very soon I realized that this journey was not going to be anything close to a holiday. It would be an experience of being present with whatever challenging unforeseen situation would appear. My self-inventory of the capacity to handle difficult situations seemed reasonably adequate for the task at hand – or so I thought.
After 16 long days on the road, we had a variety of experiences to reflect upon, but I will highlight only a few. To put the journey in context, we had fully packed the truck, named Chuck, with my tools, kitchen equipment and books, as well as four large suitcases. One of our concerns was the American, Mexican and Guatemala borders that we were going to cross and the probability of a thorough search, which meant emptying the truck. Although we had nothing to hide, it was a minor miracle just to get everything in the first time and the thought of repacking was unsettling.
Amazingly, we never had to take anything out of the truck. We did have to use letter of recommendation from the Mexican consulate in Vancouver to clear our way at two police and military checkpoints. It seems that human behavior is more civilized when there is a realization that others are watching and one has to be accountable for one’s actions.
We arrived in Tecpan, Guatemala grateful, relieved and exhausted. Over 7,000 km of driving concluded with a warm welcome from our Project Seres partner, Corrina Grace. We unpacked Chuck and began making our new house into a home and getting down to work to strategize our next steps to establish the Children’s Village.