Home in Maine, the weather is seasonably frigid with wisps of snow and rain. It suits the mood as a finish to the three months I toured in Belize. I have to have contrast from the bright, saturated colors of the oceans and bush. I have to have perspective on the richness of the environment. The gray of the trees and sky is the only color that would suffice.
Its nature’s way to provide me with balance.
I loved Belize. The country, the food and its people unfolded to me in ways I would not have expected. I have a massive body of notes, photographs, and anecdotes that sit next to me in my yet-to-be-unpacked suitcase, a hard drive, and crammed within in my head.
Now the work begins, and I digest what it means to have been a “Road Warrior.”
The Road Warrior Program was the brainchild of a writer in New York, named Julie Schweitert Collazo. She helped develop a partnership with the Belize Tourism Board to bring writers and photographers to the country for three-months stints over the course of one year. The objective: the promote the country utilizing social media platforms. The outcome? Four journalists, each publishing online and in print, each of us crafting stories and presentations for a global audience.
Each of us took on a different focus subject: adventure, celebrations, photography, architecture, and food. Each of us took on a packed daily schedule, filled with interviews, sightseeing, transit, and the navigation of new social and emotional environments.
Three months on the road was filled with excitement and dread, energy and exhaustion. I have not slept well since my return 4 days ago; my thoughts spinning like a rolodex, processing the magnitude of my experiences.
I have been asked, ” How was your trip?”
I want to say, ” Where do I start? Do you have five hours to spare if not more?” Instead, I lean towards a more socially graceful response: “Great!” I say. “Amazing!”
And its was both “great and amazing” and every other adjective you can think of.
I want to say, ” I am ready to sleep for a week and ready to write. I am caught between hugging and squeezing my family out of missing them so much, and a planning for when we can all go again.”
Kristin Fuhrmann Simmons