We were fortunate to have a smooth trip from San Juan La Laguna to Antigua, first by catching a boat back to Panajachel where our pre-arranged taxi met us. Rony, our driver, gave us a very different experience than the one we had in getting to the lake. He promised a ride that was “tranquilo” and he more than delivered. We enjoyed getting to know him and arranged to have him pick us up in Antigua two days later for the next leg of our journey.
Antigua is beautiful. The colors, architecture, volcanos, perfect climate, churches, ruins, and endless delicious restaurants all make for an amazing experience. At the same time, it felt strange to see so many tourists after having been in San Juan. The indigenous people that we did see were mostly selling souvenirs, and probably a long way from their home villages.
I have to admit that I love the beauty of Antigua and its colonial architecture. But the history behind the conquest of the indigenous peoples and destruction of their way of life cannot be ignored. I have been learning more about how the choices I make as a traveler connect to my power and privileges as a white person from a wealthy and powerful country, and sometimes am confronted with uncomfortable truths.
Wanderlust is often a condition of lacking roots. White supremacy has created a crisis of identity for settlers who have little connection to the lands they are on or the communities they are a part of. And for this reason, they are always trying to escape, move on to the next place, consume, and repeat.Bani Amor
I highly recommend this article from Bani Amor which has given me much to think about. It’s true that nearly all of the travelers I encounter are white and nearly all of the nice people I meet, the ones who work long hours to serve the tourists, are not. I have benefited immensely from the systems of oppression, both past and present, that have maintained this inequality.
As one driver said, after asking where we were traveling to in Guatemala, “You know more of my country than we do.” That is not how it should be.