So far, I've taken two major trips in 2019 - one to #CentralAmerica and the other to #Ireland - and both have their commonalities and differences keeping travel on an learning curve. Normally, I don't like to make comparisons. This could be a rare exception.
In Central America I struggled somewhat with the humidity, heat and the drinking water situation, while in Ireland it was almost the opposite with cooler temperatures and rainfall.
In neither location did I find my safety as an issue, nor did receive anything less than spectacular hospitality everywhere.
Of course, the American dollar goes further in Central America, and supporting the local economy - I brought home beautiful weavings from artisans - was the right thing to do. However, my entire trip to Ireland was based on staying in family-owned guests in small towns off the beaten path. I guess you could say that I met that goal.
The historical aspects of both trips -the route of the Maya and the development of Irish identity - were compelling, and my personal study prior to visiting enhanced my experiences.
People are resilient and adaptable to their geographical situations; however, the possibilities of making a sustainable living are much brighter in Ireland. The government supports education and health care with a safety net for its citizens. It is worrisome to see the level of poverty and lack of opportunities in Central America. The future is not as clear and I realize how migration is a viable option.
From Central America I took away a deeper compassion for hardships, human rights and indigeneous people. From Ireland I left with abounding affinity for a vibrant land and its citizens who long ago overcame servitude to the British Empire and are a current force in the technological world.
Reflecting back, the one commonality that I cherish is sitting down with an individual and listening to the stories - the midwife in her Guatemalan home and the cook at the Irish guest house - for all of us have a similar love for family that connects us together globally. We share the cycle of childbirth, marriage and death whether it be in an isolated village, or in a modern cityscape. Being rich in the blessings that each of us has at our fingertips is the key to our happiness.