Life lessons in a Guatemalan bookshop
When you travel you need books. Good books. Because it is hard to watch series on your phone (I tried). Because local tv is not always what you want. And because they are way more interesting than tv and wifi combined if you do it right. When you travel you want books but you can't carry them around. So every time you finish whatever you had with you, the chase starts. The chase for a new book, as good as the last one. Swap it, find it, buy it. Chase it. Let go of your normal taste. Be open. This is not an amazon website, this is life. This is where you are and what you have. What you read is what you find, what you will find is what you will read.
In Xela, Guatemala, what we found was an English second hand bookshop full of treasures. But, a lesson learned before: when you travel you might often find more than what you were looking for. That day we found a golden conversation.
The guy who sold the books new pretty much everything. How the world was fucked was his area of expertise. How it was past its tipping point, ecologically. How we are lost. But how it also still matters that se try. That we care.
"People have the ability to hold ambivalent ideas in their head simultaniously. So on the one hand you know it is all too late, and on the other hand you still love your friends, the beach, quality time. You still want to enjoy your life.", he said.
How? How then do you bridge the two? It came down to integrity according to him and I think I agree. And as you continue educating yourself and living new experiences, your definition of integrity will change. You will have to refine it over and over, cross some parts out, put some new ones in. Maybe at some point your definition of integrity gets whiped out and you start all over. Then that is how it is, you start over.
It is hard. It is damn hard when you are tired, overwhelmed. It is hard when you just-want-to-have-a-good-time. It is easy to look at ready made answers, crave easy solutions, quick fixes. They are all around, we look for them in food, diets, accomplishments, drugs, diplomas, people, love, travel,... But what did they ever fix?
What does it mean to live with integrity? I don't know. We don't have to know. All we have to do is to continue to come back to that question. Taking your temporary answer as a starting point for your next life-move is so much more fullfilling than the other option. Letting the meaning of integrity change as you go along, feels so much more free than so called rules that are set in stone.
So read some books.
Go see some places.