2010–2023 Writings
by Michelle Margaret Fajkus

On the way to Texas in late September, we stopped in Antigua for a night before catching our plane out of Guatemala City. We checked into our hotel, then headed to dinner and to shop for gifts. We got drenched in a downpour and came home soaked to the bone. We dried our sopping clothes and shoes by the fireplace in our hotel room, at which point I accidentally set my pants on fire—literally. It was a small fire, and the pants were ruined. Luckily I wasn’t wearing them at the time.

Thinking back on this year, I often felt as if my pants were on fire. Why? Never ever have I traveled so much in a single calendar year. I guess we were partaking in post-pandemic “revenge travel.” We spent almost half the year away from home.

Photo by Dan Gold on Pexels.com

As a family, we spent January and February of 2022 at our cozy casita overlooking Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. We then spent March, April, and the first half of May in Colombia visiting my husband’s family in Tuquerres and traveling around the country to see new and old places: Bogota, Paipa, Villa de Leyva, Pasto, Genoy, Popayan, Coconuco, Pitalito, Mocoa, and Tumaco. We ended the trip with Mother’s Day (which is a huge deal in Colombia) and a fun extended family outing to a natural hot spring in northern Ecuador.

We returned home to the lake for five months until late September, ever grateful for our own space and time. Travel is a privilege and a magical experience. Going home after travel is a blessing that makes you more grateful for your space and freedom.

I turned 42 this year. I became even more comfortable with my body, mind, emotions, and spirit—a trend I foresee continuing as I age.

I led a handful of yoga retreats this year, and each one was astonishing and transformational. I deepened my knowledge and study of the sacred Mayan calendar through participation in fire ceremonies and co-leading two week-long retreats that focused on the Mayan cosmovision.

My dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the spring. That was scary. Thankfully, his advanced scan showed that it had not spread and he had surgery to remove the gland three days after his 70th birthday and is recovering well. (Sadly, my aunt in San Antonio has just been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. We are waiting to hear if it’s treatable.)

In the U.S., we spent a week in Canyon Lake at my folks’ house and celebrated with my dad, then we headed to the Northeast for a three-week vacation. A real vacation for me since I took off work and left my computer behind. We spent a few days in Brooklyn, where I reunited with my friend Tommy after 11+ years, took the train upstate to Utica and spent time in Boonville and the Adirondacks with our dear friends Ash and Ben.

We took a weekend road trip to the Boston area and day trips to Salem and Walden Pond. We saw the most fabulous peak fall foliage colors in NY and New England. Back down south to Manhattan, we stayed in Harlem for a few days, visited friends on the Jersey shore for a whirlwind weekend, and went back to Brooklyn for our last few days in Bed-Stuy.

At the end of October, we flew back to Texas and spent Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas there. We spent five days in early December eating and touring our way through New Orleans, too. I ate too much in the USA. Oh so many cheeses! Ice creams! Sodas! Pizzas! Fortunately, my lifestyle here at the lake involves more walking and healthier eating habits, so I know I’ll lose the weight I gained effortlessly.

Photo by Eneida Nieves on Pexels.com

My parents have five dogs at their house in Canyon Lake (which is 40 minutes from San Antonio and 20 from New Braunfels): Snoopy, Lucy, Woody, Peanuts and Charlie Brown. My mother drives me bonkers, which is nothing new. We got to hang out with my sister, my aunt and uncle from Sacramento, and my brother (not by choice in the latter case). I realized that three months is way too long for me to spend in the country of my birth. I am daydreaming of moving to Southeast Asia in a few years. I think I’ve had just about enough of the Americas for now, gracias.

Meanwhile, we have plans to build a house next year, up the hill on this same property. We have an architect/project manager and blueprints. (Just waiting on the budget… then the foundation can be poured!)

I partook in online Kundalini yoga courses in July, October and December. The first two were intense and amazing. My discipline got away from me on the trip, and I still have several to catch up on from the current series.

I did a ton more reading than writing this year. (Maybe because of all the travel? I did some journaling, of course, but little in the way of publishing blog posts.) Some of my favorite titles include The Buddhist on Death Row, Still Life (by Jeff Sutherland), Dreaming the Beatles, Recollections of My Nonexistence, Kill ‘Em and Leave: Searching for the real James Brown and the American Soul, The Choice (by Dr. Edith Eger), No Walls and the Recurring Dream (by Ani DiFranco), Hello Molly, Crazy Brave and Poet Warrior by Joy Harjo, Invisible Child, See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love, Me (by Elton John), Clapton (by Eric Clapton), The Chris Farley Show, Know My Name (by Chanel Miller), The Surrender Experiment, His Name is George Floyd, What My Bones Know, Dream Land, Becoming, Magdalena: River of Dreams, and Greenlights (by Matthew McConaughey).

I’m not setting any resolutions for 2023, but my theme for the year is Inner Vision. I plan to fill my days with mindfulness, yoga, walking, appreciating nature and kind humans, plenty of writing (prose, poetry, memoir, essays, journaling); being more present and compassionate with my partner, daughter and friends; reading; crossword puzzles; cuddles with my kitties; open-mindedness and curiosity. This will be a year of building, growth, expansion, rooting, grounding, centering, and creativity. Feliz 2023!

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