Taking a Break

I’m an impatient person, so the days when writing feels like holding a ketchup bottle upside down are especially difficult. I nap; I snack. It’s excruciating. People will tell you it’s important to write every day; equally important, I think, is knowing when to take a break.

With that in mind, I sublet my apartment and went to Mexico for a month this winter, intending to do a little editing, a lot of relaxing, and absolutely no research or writing. I camped on white-sand beaches and in the middle of the jungle, hitched lifts in cars and in the back of pick-up trucks, watched the sun rise over the Caribbean and set into the dense fog over Mexico City, snorkelled through cenotes and coral reefs, wandered among ancient ruins and the waterfalls near a Zapatista village. The books I brought to read remained unopened. Instead of imagining other lives, I lived my own.

The intensity of travelling in this way can make one feel topsy-turvy upon return. But instead of missing the heat, a foreign language in my mouth, and the wonderful people I met, I'm looking forward to the creative challenges ahead. “Gracias a Dios,” said a Maya woman I was chatting to, “I am healthy and able to work.” That’s the attitude I hope to carry with me into 2015.

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Isla Holbox, Quintana Roo

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Tulum, Quintana Roo

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Lantern on the beach, Christmas 2014

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Mexico City

Benito Juárez, Oaxaca

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Hierve el Agua, Oaxaca

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San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas

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Chiapas, near Palenque

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Chiapas

 
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