Tegucigalpa is the sprawling capital of Honduras and the sixth most murderous city in the world. Knowing that and little else, I arrived anxiously. But none of the locals I met saw any reason I shouldn’t wander the city freely, and apart from tighter security while boarding busses, and men with shotguns standing guard at many ordinary stores and restaurants, I saw little sign of violence when I did. The fighting is mostly gang related, and shouldn’t affect a sensible backpacker. Indeed, I never felt threatened, and I enjoyed two days there enough to erase the bitter taste of San Lorenzo, and dive deeper into Honduras. At the hostel owner’s recommendation, I headed towards Lago Yojoa and a brewery-hostel that sounded like just my cup of beer.
After a five hour ride, the bus dropped me off at a crossroads. No one had mentioned I’d be unable to find another bus or taxi after 7pm, so I had to take the risk of hitchhiking the last 20 kilometers to my hostel. Luckily, a friendly hardware store owner with a voice for radio stopped before I’d even decided to raise my thumb. He seemed as eager to get me off the dark highway shoulder as I was to leave it. He quickly (and ironically) reminded me that hitchhiking is dangerous in Honduras, but he delivered me to the doorstep of D&D hostel with a smile and a firm handshake.
After checking in, I settled into a home-brewed coffee porter and began chatting with Jean, a 25 year-old from France. We traded jabs about our respective nationalities, he called me old, I patted him on the head condescendingly, and were fast friends. We spent the next few days hiking around the surrounding forests, waterfalls, and lakes, eating Baleadas and Pupusas, and drinking craft beer. It was a short stay, but it forced my hand; it was time rethink my long term plan.
I had always assumed I would fly home from Mexico City. The questions had been how and when I’d get there. I have the energy and freelance income to keep traveling - but the idea of missing another summer in the US was stressing me out. Likewise, I didn’t want to rush whatever was in front of me. So I decided to save most of Mexico for later and fly home from Cancun on July 1st. That allowed me to travel slower, spend more time in Honduras, and had the added benefit of aligning my schedule with Jean’s. We’d travel to Utila together, find our way to Guatemala a few days later, and I’d sneak into Cancun at the last minute.
It was a good plan. But it took me a moment to hit “confirm” on my flight. It was hard to believe that this whole adventure had an official expiration date.