Pick Three Animals – An Adventure in Story

“Hola, como estas?” I began speaking with a local Guatemalan over a beer. I arrived in “Guate” earlier in the day and finally headed out for some dinner, drinks and exploration of Guatemala City. Very excited for the next two weeks traveling across the country, I thought I’d ask locals for advice on their home.  Adventure awaited, but little did I know I’d learn a little something about myself this night.

the secrets of the talking jaguar, a book about the maya in guatemala

the book was given to me as a gift.

After pleasantries, discussion about a Kayak on Lake Atitlan, the opportunity to hike a volcano, and a visit to Tikal at sunrise, she asked me a question. She asked me to pick three animals. Three animals? I thought about it. (Reader, please pick three animals before you continue…)

Three Animal Parable

With an “Americas” focus, both in my reading and my recent travels, I decided to select animals native to the continents in my home hemisphere. I answered –

1) The Jaguar. The Jaguar, an easy pick as I just finished the book that helped lead my to Guatemala,  Secrets of the Talking Jaguar. an eagle

2) The Eagle. The bird represents my country, and whenever I travel, I never shy away from saying I am an American.

3) The Condor. I recalled the legend of the Eagle and the Condor flying together. The eagle (materialism / technology) and the Condor (spirituality) were prophesied to reunite after 500 years and bring harmony. And 500 years had passed, the time was now.

a temple in Tikal, Guatemala

a bird flies across the sky in Tikal, Guatemala

One problem, I couldn’t communicate Condor. The first two, not a problem (“jaguar” y “aguila”) but “condor” seemed to puzzle my new friend (even though it’s “condor” in Spanish).  I needed to pick another.  Resistant, I tried to describe the bird, and she told me “pavo,” and smiled. She told me “turkey

I thought, fine, my attempts were unsuccessful, let’s move forward. I reluctantly agreed. Then she continued to explain.

(Did you pick your three animals? OK, here is what they represent)

The first is the animal you admire, the second is the animal you think you are, and the third is the animal you truly are. Okay, OK, but a Turkey?

Appreciation for the Turkey

I laughed, but as it settled in, it started to sting. Then as days passed, the blow softened and I started to gain appreciation for the bird. Perhaps I am a Turkey.

aTurkey at the mayan ruins of Tikal in Guatemala
The bird only flies (uses its power) sparingly, when it needs.  Plus, Ben Franklin wanted the Turkey to be the national bird and not the eagle. OK, not bad, and then there is Thanksgiving.
The Turkey symbolizes the holiday. It’s a special holiday created to remind us to give thanks for our lives and good fortunes. Its origin is the celebration of the meeting of new cultures the Native Americans and first settlers too. It’s also a holiday with no obligations, a day everyone celebrates, a day with great food, and a day most people travel. Yes, I can see it now. Wow, maybe she was right.

 

Adventure Travel Mindset:

Sometimes we travel to explore the outside, but on many trips we learn not just about destinations or culture, but ourselves. Guatemala was one of those trips.

Sure, I wasn’t thrilled when she said I was a turkey. But it grew on me. And when I walked among a few turkeys on the grounds of Tikal, I just smiled. A Turkey. Maybe she was right after all.

Well, let me know what animals you selected, have a Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans, and enjoy your next bite of turkey.

Stay adventurous, Craig

This post is part of the Autumn of Adventure and the Adventure Travel Mindset series. Hope you enjoyed the Special Series.

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  • http://Www.Wendypgreene.blogspot.com Wendy Greene

    Well.. I chose a black panther, a bird and an elephant!

  • Maryann

    Interesting article for the Thanksgiving season. Is being a turkey bad? The turkey does represent one of our favorite holidays. Families and friends come together and reflect their blessings and give thanks.

  • http://www.stayadventurous.com Craig Zabransky

    @ Wendy, I guess that means you never forget… the elephant is an amazing creature, I loved seeing them in the wild, take a peak here:
    http://www.stayadventurous.com/2010/08/a-thirsty-herd-of-elephants/

    @maryann, no I was trying to be clever with my eagle and condor approach, and honestly probably never would answer Turkey, but just like you mentioned. A turkey has tremendous positive symbolism. And this was my first thanksgiving after the story, and it was even a bit more special… thanks for commenting.

    stay adventurous, Craig

  • http://dontwastelife.com Shani

    Great story! I think weather it was a turkey or a condor it’s a win-win. I’d imagine the interpretation would vary by culture! Mine are gorilla, dog, and giraffe. I definitely admire the gorillas and to see them are high on my list of adventures. The dog – well if I compared myself to my pup, I think that fits, he loves adventures, play time, snacks, and going out for a run. The giraffe – I’ll have to think about that a bit more! I’m 5′-0″ so the comparison is escaping me for now, but I will work on it….Definitely enjoyed your post!

    • http://www.stayadventurous.com Craig Zabransky

      Thanks Shani. Thanks for sharing your three too. As for a dog, I tend to think it’s not just a pup that loves those activities, but all dogs. Plus there is much more to a Giraffe then it’s height, perhaps you often stick your neck out for people? Ah, it’s fun to interpret the meanings.

      Glad you enjoyed the post.
      stay adventurous, Craig

  • http://twitter.com/WorkMomTravels Francesca

    Ha ha, I’m a goat!