••• The International Writers Magazine - Our 20th Year: Travel and Adventure
Saying goodbye to Hotel Taselotzin
Getting up is tough this morning. Yawning ferociously, I can almost chew the humid air that kept me up through the wee hours. Damn damp sheets. I seriously consider hitting snooze, but know that could lead to further offers from my phone to put off starting the day. But I also put off packing. I take in my palely-lit surroundings for a few seconds, sighing at the sight of my belongings strewn about the room. I contemplate my open suitcase. My legs swing over the edge of the bed.
Organizing my things reminds me why I should have done it last night. OCD kicks in. Should I put the clean clothes in the upper compartment? Do dirties go in the main section? Still, that’s only duds. What about all this other stuff I have? I can cram my toiletry bag in the small pocket at the top of my soft shell, but I should leave it out right now because I have to brush my teeth yet. I am paralyzed by over-analysis. Where’s Alyssa when I need her? I finally opt to start with the shirts. Rolling up the three long sleeves I’ve hardly worn, I shake my head. Whose stupid idea was it to pack these anyway?
On the way to the breakfast table, I decide to detour. I make for the back of Hotel Taselotzin’s main building. Peeking through the rear screen door, I see Viky cooking as usual. What’s unusual, however, is that she’s alone. It is 7 AM though. Maybe her helpers—Adán, Efraín, and Misael—aren’t accustomed to starting so early. Viky senses someone behind her and looks over her shoulder. She smiles. We exchange good mornings. I turn around and frown—we’ll be leaving in about an hour. I’ve had to say goodbye to her a couple times before, and I’m dreading it like a couple times before.
Dragging myself to the veranda, I walk towards the second table from the end. Abigail, Tonya, Teri, and Clara are seated at the farthest. I place the three thank-you cards (one to Viky, one to the remaining cooks and waitstaff, and the third to the maids) I wrote last night on the tabletop and ask the ladies to sign them when they get a chance. I head for the head of their table to join them for our final hotcakes together in Cuetzalan.
Breakfast is quite pleasant. The sky is a neighborhood. Hummingbirds fly back and forth just beyond the balcony’s borders. Songbirds occupy nearby branches as well as the air with their tunes. A bright sun hovers over distant mountains while its brilliant rays enhance the beauty of the eco-lodge’s jungle-like lot. Sipping on hot chocolate and coffee, the five of us enjoy plates of fresh fruit, pan dulce, and panqueques. We share some stories. We share some laughs. I don’t share how I feel in this fleeting moment.
|Year after year I lead volunteer trips to attempt to do some good in the world. I know I am very fortunate to have the life I have and, therefore, it is important for me to express my gratitude by trying to bring happiness to others. Another reason why I am a team leader is because these community service programs take me to places where I am often pushed out of my comfort zone. Personal growth is something I constantly seek.
Photo: Tyrel & Viky at Hotel Taselotzin
The final, and maybe the biggest, factor for me is relationship-building. I have the rare opportunity to meet all sorts of incredible individuals from around the globe with this gig. My pop stressed to me that the best way to change the world is through people, not projects. In fact, the friendships I have due to my travels are among the things I most appreciate. And I believe I have made a few more friends from this latest adventure.
Eduardo—our driver from Jurfal Transportadora Turística—awaits us. According to Viky, he’s been sitting in his van next to Taselotzin’s entrance since 6:30 … even though we aren’t to depart until 8 o’clock, which is thirty minutes away. He probably wanted to rest a bit before retracing his three-hour drive back to Puebla. I take a deep breath. The farewells are about to begin. Viky’s shortly, Abigail and Tonya’s twenty-four hours from now, Teri and Clara’s some hours later, and mine to Mexico mid-afternoon tomorrow. Perhaps time will stop if I don’t stand. I pensively stare into my coffee cup while the gals continue to chuckle. Getting up is tough this morning.
© Tyrel Nelson June 13th 2019
Xperitas Team Leader
June 12-21, 2018
*For more information on how to join an Xperitas Community Partnership Program visit their website here.
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