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Published: July 18th 2016
Me, Mexico City 1998
Looking a little younger...!! I wonder if I can find the same position/pose this time around...
Greetings again – it’s that time of the year where I pack my backpack again and set off for adventures and travels around distant lands. It’s been a year since my last trip to Southern India last year, and I think I’ve gotten into a new routine of planning a big trip now every summer. Being a proud homeowner now, I have found that one trip a year is much more feasible than three during my pre-mortgage days. Thus, I plan a big trip now once every summer for the foreseeable future – very exciting! And thus I write today, again on the eve of another big trip – this time, five weeks around Central America.
Well, technically speaking, I’ll be in North America and Central America, as I plan to take in the three countries of Mexico, Guatemala and Belize – only the latter two are geographically classed as Central America. But ah well, I will call it Central America anyway as it’s much easier, and it also remains one of the few regions of the world which I have yet to explore – until tomorrow at least.
So tomorrow afternoon I fly from London
Heathrow westwards, direct to Mexico City. Reminiscent indeed of my first ever backpacking trip taken 18 years ago, when I visited my good friend from university days, Ernesto, in Mexico City, and did a couple of trips from there to Guadalajara/Queretaro and Acapulco. This time I fly again to Mexico City, and again to see my good friend Ernesto, whom I haven’t seen for around 13 years or so now.
The original plan was to travel through Southern Mexico, through Oaxaca and Chiapas, and on to the Guatemalan border from there. But alas, I don’t know if many in the west are aware of this, but Southern Mexico has been affected over the last month by teachers’ strikes, which have led to major highways being blockaded for days on end, including the roads leading to the Guatemalan border, and the cancellation of public buses for weeks on end. There have been food shortages, and violence leading to injuries and even deaths. This is not something I would wish to be involved in – I was actually caught up in a road blockade in Colombia six years ago, and the combination of aggravated tensions and lack of police/security presence created
a scenario which I would not willingly wish to experience again. Even if I’m not actually blockaded on a road, I wouldn’t want the feeling of insecurity of not knowing whether my planned trip would go ahead or not.
So, to avoid the whole political instability in the region of Southern Mexico at the moment, I have opted to fly from Mexico City to Guatemala City on a cheap local budget airline on Saturday, and continue my journey from there. This has actually made me even more excited about my trip, as I’ll get to spend longer in two countries I’ve never been to before – Guatemala and Belize.
The plan is to spend two weeks in Guatemala, exploring its cities, highland areas, and tropical jungles, then one week in Belize, getting a feel for its potentially quite different vibe, seemingly more Caribbean than Central American. From here it’ll be a final nine days or so on the Yucatan Peninsula, back in Mexico, before flying back from Cancun on an overnight flight to London Gatwick on 22nd
August, arriving the following morning.
So, as always, I’m feeling a combination of excitement and nerves at the moment. My
bags are once again packed, ready for five weeks on the road, and I am looking forward very much to experiencing again that inimitable feeling of the independent traveller’s freedom on the open road.
Please of course watch this space, as I plan to update my blog with my adventures and photos along the way.
So for now, thank you for reading, and I look forward to keeping in touch as I travel.
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