The last time I was in Mexico, I was twenty-three years old. It was a long time ago. I had never been out of the country and was about to embark on four months of travel of travel through several area of Mexico, and on to Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. I was with my best friend and a backpack. I spoke high school level Spanish and she spoke none. There were no cell phones and we relied solely on guide books and meeting other travels for guidance. We got ourselves into some troublesome and risky situations. We got lost a bunch. We rode chicken busses and had multiple moments of being dropped off in the middle of nowhere unable to find anyone who spoke English. We picked fresh fruit off of trees at hostels we stayed at. We slept outside in hammocks. We stayed in dollar-a-night places for much of the trip and hand-washed our clothes in cold water at places that had no other option. We did a home stay and a language program in Guatemala. We hiked. We swam. A monkey stole one of my sandals on a beach in Costa Rica. We were big-bitten and tanned and were coated in layers of dirt by the time we returned home to real life.
That trip changed me. I returned home to a sold childhood home and a sense of belonging in small town Massachusetts even less than I had growing up. I knew that traveling and being in a city around all kinds of people were extremely important to me.
It was shortly after that trip that I decided to make a move to NYC and then apply to graduate school. I knew that I wanted something more than the small town life I had grown up in. So for that, Mexico, I thank you! I will be seeing you again soon.