In two short days, I’ll be headed to Mexico for a long weekend. My first stop will be in Mexico City for a night, and then I will make my way to Cholula, Puebla. I’ve never been to either place, but have heard and seen plenty about what beautiful, colorful, and cultural places they both are.
As an experienced solo traveler, I could have taken the trip alone, but instead decided to get in touch with a friend from Acapulco whom I had met on a solo trip to Cancun in 2016. Considering that I wasn’t just there for vacation but also to seriously look at Cholula as a future place to live abroad for a year or more, I asked if there were any chance that he would be able to meet me there and assist with language barriers as I scouted neighborhoods and schools for my son. I surely wasn’t expecting him to be able to drop everything to accompany me, but much to my surprise, he didn’t think twice about agreeing to take the 4+ hour bus ride from Acapulco to be there.
It then dawned on me that I also knew of someone else who lived right outside of Mexico City. I had met this person during a vacation in Cabo San Lucas back in 2012, and regardless of the fact that he only knew very basic English and I only knew very basic Spanish, we had a great time practicing languages with each other and dancing all night. We stayed in touch for some months after the vacation was over, but as the years went on, we eventually lost touch and disconnected on Facebook. Thankfully, it didn’t take long to reconnect. Using the little bit of Spanish that I know, I let him know that I’d be in town and asked for recommendations on places to go. Without hesitation, he invited both me and my friend to join him and his girlfriend for a night out once I arrived.
So as I sat there copying and pasting Google-translated sentences trying to make plans to meet up, that’s when it hit me: It hit me that I was so incredibly blessed to have met and kept in touch with two amazing people from a different country, who spoke a completely different language. It hit me that despite the fact that I have only known either of them for a short amount of time and currently live thousands of miles apart, that both were willing to be there for me at the drop of a dime. It hit me that despite our cultural and language differences, we were still able to come together as if I were someone that they have known for years and years. It hit me that in a world full of so much hate and prejudice against those who are not like us, we will still be able to overcome all of our differences and enjoy LIFE and the short amount of time we have together on this earth.
To me, this is one of the beauties of traveling. Sure, you can stay amongst yourselves or the others that you are traveling with, locked away in your resort or hotel...but the moment you allow yourself to branch out and meet other people, you have opened yourself up to a brand new world. The moment you branch out and meet other people, you have allowed yourself the chance to see that world through someone else’s eyes. The moment you branch out and meet other people, you have given yourself the opportunity to make friends for life, no matter where in the world they may be.
I now know that when I arrive to Mexico City this weekend that I will not only have a good time, but that I will also be in good hands. I know that I will be able to experience the area through the eyes of a local, and add to the memories of our unique friendships. And for that, I couldn’t be more thankful.
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