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Published: February 5th 2013
After 19 months and 30,000 miles, it’s time to head north and end our trip to Mexico and Central America. We have seen a good part of this area of the world and are both sad and happy to be on our way.
We visited 8 countries and nearly every state in Mexico. We lived in 13 different cities and visited hundreds more. It has been both a challenge and greatly rewarding. Things that were unbelievably foreign to us have now become commonplace. People that seemed unique and completely different than us are now our neighbors.Foods, language and customs that once seemed unique and different are now everyday occurrences that we have come to take as normal. Seeing grand churches, colorful birds, volcanoes, beautiful beaches and cobblestone roads don’t seem odd to us anymore.
We arrived in Mexico with not much more of a plan than to get to our new house and hope for the best. We learned how to get money, buy food, and communicate in a new language. Along with learning to get along in our new country, we also needed to learn how to get along in a new environment that didn’t revolve around work
and family. We have travelled a great deal in the past, but long term travel was a new experience that turned out to be much more of a difficult undertaking than we expected. At times, we also found that while we had always worked well alongside each other, we had never really had to work together.
Over the months we got better at border crossings, finding activities and making our way in a foreign world. We adjusted to tough roads, smaller apartments and some of the luxuries that come with having a less transient life. Unlike when we had travelled as tourists, we knew that we were not going to be returning any time soon to “life as we knew it”. At times we struggled to define what we were, tourists, travelers or expatriates. We knew we were no longer tourists who cherry pick the best experiences and often avoid many of the challenges of life in a different location. We weren’t sure if we were expatriates, as they seem to be more about settling in one place and making it a home with some of the comforts of where they came from. Neither of these choices seemed like
us right now. We decided we were travelers and decided to move from place to place for the time being.
At some point in our travels we found that we were increasingly tired of moving and decided to slow down somewhat. At first the thought of staying in one place for more than one month was greatly appealing and we enjoyed the more relaxed pace. We found that towards the end of the 2nd
month we generally became lazy and bored. Maybe our newly defined “traveler” lifestyle was not for us after all.
We returned briefly to the U.S. for much needed car repairs and during this time realized we needed to move in a different direction. What to do? We returned to Mexico to finish the rest of our 6 month visa. Perhaps moving to more “discovered” areas popular with expats would prove to be what we were looking for. As it turned out, not so much.The ability to live a slower lifestyle with the convenience of language and more things we were used to at home did not prove to be satisfying either. We found ourselves becoming complacent watching American TV and spending more time in
the house. It wasn’t very adventuresome and to be honest pretty boring.
We definitely did not want to go home. The idea of returning to work or going back to our old lives did not appeal to either one of us.
Perhaps what we needed was a change of lifestyle and maybe even a change of venue. We started thinking of places we could go. Maybe instead of having the car and so many comforts of home, we could get by with less and become a little more mobile. We needed to keep budget in mind, but still have access to the exoticness we enjoyed when we first arrived south of the border.
We have made our choice and decided to return to the U.S. just long enough to drop off our car and head off to new adventures in Asia. We will begin our trip in Bangkok, Thailand where we have booked an apartment for a month to get our bearings. Where we will go from there, we don’t know. We have visited Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, India, Nepal and China in the past, but these were rapid trips with agendas that only allowed us to enjoy
things briefly. Laos, Burma, and Malaysia sound interesting. A return to India and even Sri Lanka sound exciting. Not having the car will definitely take some getting used to, but perhaps will free us from some of the responsibilities and hassles of planning roads and routes. We have used local transport in Mexico and Central America and found it interesting and not too difficult.
We have enjoyed our journey so far. Like most of life, challenges come around and take patience and work to overcome them. We both feel a little older and a lot more tired than we did a year and a half ago. The countries of Central America and Mexico are all beautiful and unique in their own way. I think we have been partial to Mexico but only because we spent significantly more time here. The countries are safe and should be visited by everyone who wants either an adventure or a relaxing trip. The people are friendly and helpful. They have a wonderful history and are rapidly moving towards a bright future. Mexico is especially beautiful with stunning beaches, verdant jungles, ancient cities, beautiful architecture, excellent food and wonderful cultural attractions. I would highly
recommend it to anyone who has not had a chance to experience it themselves.
We leave tomorrow on the second leg of our world tour. No telling where we are headed or how long we will be gone. Wish us luck as I know we will need it. We leave for California in the morning, ready for the next adventure. We’ve included some pictures of our trips to Guadalajara and a few from the local area. See you in Bangkok!
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