Was lucky enough to just get to spend some time in Mexico. I'd been longing to go back down to the tropics and I haven't been able to get the southern latitudes off my mind since my return to U.S.
Our media outlets do there best to install fear towards the action of traveling south of the border. Not to dismiss the violence that is happening based around the drug cartels, but I have to say the average person down south seems a lot happier than the typical norte. People smile more and conversations with strangers happen much more frequent. It's definitely a different world down there, more of a raw and wild existence than up here. I enjoy the concept that everything can be negotiated.
I was able to meet some of the area's seasoned expats right away and from the get go they shared valuable information with me in regards of surfing, where to eat/drink/party, who specifically to stay away from (mafia/cartel) types, and many other important things about how the town works that would have taken me a while to figure out on my own. The locals were awesome though, most were very friendly and welcoming, giving constant reminders to feel safe and just enjoy yourself. Most were as curious to learn about life in the states as I was to learn about Mexico. I never really felt tension between anyone throughout my whole stay.
Hablo un poco de espanol, pero necesito para seguir aprendiendo. With the lust to continue traveling south and all of Mexico and Central/South America speaking spanish. It's very apparent the power that would come with being bilingual. Hats off to all the European travelers I met down there, they could all speak fluent English, Spanish, and French. While the average American there was English y poco espanol. My lack of fluency with another language is an intellectual embarrassment within myself. How enriched in the world can you claim to be if you only speak English?
The entire trip it pretty much felt as if nothing could go wrong, had a true sense of freedom. Got to surf in the warm water everyday I was there...shortboards, longboards, glassy early mornings, sombrero wearing sunny afternoons, sunset sessions where we'd stay in the water until total darkness. Met many amazing and friendly locals and fellow travelers - this is where I get my sense of place and community. It's a everybody knows everybody feel and if you want to be included just open your mouth. There's something about the climate and warm ocean down there that is so beautiful and romantic. It seems to create a simpler, less is needed lifestyle.
It's the experiences and memories i'm able to take away that are of the most value to me. Showing up knowing no one / leaving saying goodbye to a new community of people in your life, swimming through ocean caves, surfing beautiful warm waves, swimming in ocean in the middle of the night during a lightening storm with a beautiful mexican chica, etc. This was my first solo travel to a foreign land. It's good stuff and if you allow it to it'll open you to ways/idea's you didn't know existed. For me that's the whole point - experience what's out there.
Be a traveler, not a tourist.