A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama

I’m a glass half-full person, so whatever happens,
I know I’m going to be OK.

Did you learn about palindromes as a kid? As a lover of linguistics, I often wondered if other languages had them too. Let’s be clear about this post - I’m very much still a woman and don’t worry Mum, I promise that I am in Peru. At lunch, we actually walked past a canal, and as far as plans go, this trip is really teaching me to go with the flow. Synchronicity is the Universe’ way to reassure you they’ve got your back.

Travelling has always been a transformative experience for me, usually in a phase of my life where I craved change. We are not made to stay stationary (although it may feel like that at times), and when I have resisted that, the Universe steps in, guiding me back to my purpose. When I landed in Peru on Friday, I knew this is where I needed to be honest, and I can’t really tell you why.

Before leaving New Zealand, my sister gave me some great advice. I’ve written about our relationship before, and how it has evolved as we got older. We weren’t really close up until a couple of years ago, yet without realising it, something had shifted. The essence of her message were: Trust myself because plans can change so just go with it, be grateful and remember that I have an amazing place I call home.

I felt that overwhelming love before I left Whakatane, and for that I know I’m blessed - it will be what gets me through the lonely times. That will come, but right now, everything is still new and exciting. Fresh off the plane, barely unpacked. Maybe in a few months when I begin to satiate my wanderlust and begin to miss home, the wisdom in her words will be more evident. How many people can say that they have an awesome place like Whakatane they can go back to? Where people miss them and for some, even if they don’t fully understand the method to my madness, wished me all the best anyway.

Do what makes your soul happy

I’m a glass half-full person, so whatever happens, I know I’m going
to be OK.

People here don’t know me like they think they know me back home. Here, my story is a fresh chapter - without familiar connections, I’m forced to step out of my comfort zone and meet new people. Nelson Mandela once said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” Before coming to Peru, I made a concerted to learn Spanish and let me tell you, it’s made such a difference in my experience so far.

Even though Zorritos is a tourist town, it’s a fairly small one. Some locals may know very basic English, enough to greet you, but that’s it. So I let go of my ego, made an effort with the hotel staff to speak in my broken Spanish, and well, they say a smile goes a long way in most cultures (except Russian, don’t smile at strangers because they’ll think you’re crazy!). People may forget what you said, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel.

How many of us do what makes our soul happy, and furthermore, saying no to what doesn’t? Saying no may feel like you’re going to miss out, then you realise it holds space for better things to come into your life. That is stepping into your power, because we all have that choice.

Yes, doing what my soul makes me happy brought me to this, and that can only lead me to do more good things. Walk by faith, walk in love - wherever that takes me, I’m going to be alright.


Ronna Grace Funtelar is a thirtyish storyteller, creative, writer and slam poet currently based in Peru. She is a hobby hiker, photography and sunrise enthusiast with a passion for mindfully helping others live beyond their comfort zone.