Travel Stories Contest
By: Marilla Steuter-Martin
Belize is among the most beautiful places I have ever seen. In pictures that is. A couple of months ago I was standing in Chapters Bookstore, fantasizing about the novels I was going to write. What they would look like on the shelves. And my elder sister, who is honestly my best friend on the planet, drew me over to the travel section. There were so many pictures and colours in that aisle. We looked at Italy, and Fiji, and even Hawaii but nothing seemed to stick. In that moment, the idea of planning a trip together was electrifying. She and I grew up in a very tiny town with a population of about 5000 people. Last year, my best friend, my sister, moved away to go to a university in the city, and for a while, there wasn’t anything anyone could do to make the sadness go away. I still feel the pull of her absence daily, and would like nothing more than to spend four or five days just my sister and I, in a quiet restful place, talking about all the things we hadn’t been able to share over the phone.
We always knew the separation would be hard, but I could feel that it would be more difficult for me to bear. She would be off in a new city, meeting new people, and learning all kinds of new things. I would do the same things I always did; eating the same falafels at the cafe, sitting by the same old swan pond, and going to school and sitting in class staring at the exact same chalkboards. But now, my daydreams centered around a beautiful sunny place my sister had found for us, during the hours of separation at her summer job. Belize.
I thought about her and I, staying the luxurious eco-tourism resort she had found for us, Chaa Creek, it was called. There, we would live together, eat together, and experience our own tiny adventure together. Nothing had me more excited than the possibility of seeing real honest-to-goodness Maya ruins. When we were kids, my sister and I would play computer games that taught us about the ancient world of the Maya. Since then, their intricate civilization has fascinated me.
Really, it’s not that she or I deserve an all-inclusive trip anywhere. We haven’t been saving the world, or curing cancer, or ending poverty, not yet anyway. But we did direct a musical together. And we do love all the same things. And for once, I think we deserve to share a new experience, a new memory. It doesn’t matter where we are, or who is there with us, distance can never wear away a bond like ours; but for the purpose of this essay, I really want it to be Belize, and it would mean everything to me, if it was just my sister and myself.