I’ve been in the States for the past couple weeks – first in Connecticut and then New York to officiate a wedding, and then, after a quick meeting in New Jersey, to San Francisco to conduct a workshop.
The contrast between these places in the States and my place in Guatemala is stark, and I always reflect on it when I’m going from one to the other. I also sometimes worry if I will feel out of place in either location because of my connection to the other – so, for example, will I feel overwhelmed to be back in a big city like San Francisco after being in the jungle for a while? Or, will I miss the luxuries of San Francisco when I get back to Guatemala?
I’m not going to lie: one of the things I look forward to when I am heading to the States are hot showers. The water here seems to be hotter, and you really want to take a hot shower because the weather is a little cooler. There are also some favorite foods that I have a hard time finding – or can’t find at all – in Guatemala. And, of course, I look forward to seeing family and friends.
The reverse is also true. When I’m in the States, I find myself looking forward to heading back to Guatemala for the peace and tranquility of my home, seeing my friends there, and, of course, my cat Jaguar. I think I may have bored a bunch of my US friends and family members with stories of my cat!
But what I’ve discovered is that I can straddle both worlds and move between the two without any difficulties. I look forward to being in both, enjoy my time there, and then can head to the other place without any stress, remorse or resentment. Both places are home to me…and I’ve realized that this is easy for me because I am still a nomad at heart.
The other thing I’ve discovered over the past couple weeks is how much I miss Jaguar. She is part of my family and I hate leaving her behind when I travel. One of my friends in Guatemala takes care of her – feeding her, cleaning the litter box, and playing with her a couple times each day – and I know she is in good hands when I’m gone, but I still miss her.
So I’ve been thinking about introducing Jaguar to my nomadic way of life. She seems to like to be with me, and follows me around wherever I go, so I think she might be okay with this. I have a harness for her and have been training her to wear the harness. Next up will be attaching the leash…and then going for car rides.
But the real test will be flying internationally. I’ve already spoken to her vet in Guatemala and found out what types of documents I will need to bring her in and out of Guatemala. And, while I was visiting my mom, I bought a soft-sided pet carrier that is airline approved. (It’s a Sherpa brand bag, and I got it for $20 in Ocean State Job Lot, which was a major score, considering that I had seen the exact same bag for $80 at a nearby pet store.)
I’ve also been doing a lot of online research on traveling with a cat. Years ago I did two cross-country flights with my cat and my Dalmatian, but it has been a while. Jaguar and I won’t be flying anywhere for at least a few months, but I’m a bit nervous about this and would love to hear other’s experiences.
In the meantime, I’ve brought her back a bunch of treats and toys and will just enjoy our time together.