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.

Isla Holbox, Quintana Roo

Tulum, Quintana Roo

Lantern on the beach, Christmas 2014

Mexico City

Benito Juárez, Oaxaca

Hierve el Agua, Oaxaca

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas

Chiapas, near Palenque

Chiapas

 
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