The first thing Torna told me when we met was that she started traveling with two guys but a week ago they split and now she's on her own and thinking of cutting her trip short because she doesn't handle it very well.
You know she picked the wrong person to say this to.
I started telling her that she shouldn't give up so soon, that it`s true that traveling alone has it's down moments but that things can change in a split second and turn amazing before she knows it and and and...
I really think she tried to get herself together and have a good time in Antigua with us.
But when we were half way to Panahachel, she started changing colors, and told me that she can't breath or swallow and that she feels her lips and fingertips getting numb.
Feeling helpless and not knowing how to help her, I talked with the driver and told him that we needed to go see a doctor right away. He was a good guy but explained that the first docton nearby is only in Pana... Finally, after a very stressful two hours, we got there, when I keep checking up on Torna making sue she doesn't faint or anything. I already imagined myself going with her to the doctor and trying to explain to him what the problem is and translate it somehow back to her... but eventually the driver said that in Pana there are only small clinics, and that if Torna can handle the ride back, then it's best if she gets back to Antigua and go to the private hospital there, which was what she decided to do, and that's where we said goodbye.
I still don't know what happended eventually and how is she doing, and she is on my mind a lot. This whole episode made me wonder - maybe, just maybe, traveling alone is not right for everyone, at every stage in life. Maybe for some it can do more harm than good. And perhaps some fears we have are there for a reason, and we sould be listening to them - perhaps some fears should be left unfaced - at least so long that we are not strong enough or have the right tools to deal with them and come out of the experience stronger rather than weaker.
words: Efrat Havusha, Israel
photo: Dorothee Lang, Germany (oil on copper)