I saw the 2nd shooting star of my life tonight.
My 1st Star: The first was from a mountaintop in Dharmsala, India. I had hiked uphill all day. Too exhausted to hike back down, I camped in a “tea hut” at the top. While sitting outside with other campers drinking from a shared bottle of Old Monk rum late at night, a star went flying overhead. It was breathtaking, but over in the blink of an eye.
My 2nd Star: My second was equally as memorable. This one was viewed from the middle of Laguna Bacalar (Quinta Roo, Mexico) at 10pm, while stand-up paddle boarding!
Actually, by the time the star whizzed by, I wasn’t standing – but rather laying down on the board, looking up. The “starry night tour” started at 9pm with a 30-40 minute paddle out to the middle of the lake, at which point we all grouped our boards together, laid down on our SUPs, and gazed up at the stars while the currents pushed us back to shore.
I was in the middle of a conversation with our guide Kedy – originally from Estonia via 10 yrs in London via 6 months in Bacalar – about constellations & astrology. We were comparing signs (mine: Gemini – a constellation that I can rarely find at home, but could see clear as day next to Orion overhead in the night sky while lying prone on the board. Hers: Sagittarius, which I had no idea how to find.) As we were talking and looking at the stars, one shot right by. In a split second. In the blink of an eye. We both gasped.
Kedy leads SUP tours daily for Kin Paddle Board in Bacalar, mostly the 6am sunrise ones but also the 9-11pm starry night ones. She is lucky enough to see shooting stars with some regularity and was hopeful we’d see more. We waited and watched while the current pushed us along. But eventually a cloud cover rolled in and the cold & wet caught up with me. We decided to stand and start paddling towards home. But I’m totally satisfied with the flickering, lingering moment of my Lake Bacalar shooting star.
It was a magic moment. And it connected me to my India trip’s shooting star, and to the very reason I am able to be here on my own traveling solo in Mexico.
What Does That 1st Shooting Star Have To Do With Me Being in Mexico Today?
Back in September 2014, I was let go from my job as a director of corporate communications at a health trade association. I was devastated and stuck on my couch in depression. I had quit jobs in the past to travel. Twice. But I had never both not had a job and not had an accompanying plan to travel. So my husband gave me permission to use some of my newfound time (and severance) to go travel. And so I ended up on that mountaintop in Dharmasala, India in October 2014 on what he termed my “Eat Pray Love” trip. And there, the first shooting star came my way.
Today, some 4+ years later, I’m still taking advantage of the flexibility that being let go from my full-time career had brought me. Today, I have my own freelance communications consultancy (new client leads welcome), and can write and work from any destination. Like Bacalar, Mexico. Thanks to my supportive husband and family, I now take advantage of our family trips overseas by extending my own trip and spending 7-10 days on my own, backpacking & adventuring CrazyTraveler style.
Yes, I have to get back to my home office. And my kids. And husband. And soccer carpool, grocery trips & dog walks. That reality will come crashing back down come Jan. 13.
Until then, it’s just me, Mexico, the open road, and the stars...