Mexico: Part One of Many
From Great Outdoor Store
The first time I traveled to Mexico I was 14 years old. It was a Spanish Club trip--the first of its kind for our small Northwest Iowa school. I had to sell candy bars, work extra hours at the local pizza/Mexican restaurant, and convince my parents in order to make it on the trip. After a year of saving I was able to board the plane with 16 other kids. At this point in my life I had barely been out of the state, let alone the country. It was a big deal to drive up to Sioux Falls or Owatonna, MN to see relatives, so the idea of traveling to another country was incredibly exciting. I boarded the plane in Omaha and disembarked in Mexico City, the largest city in North America at that time.
The seven-ish days I spent in Mexico were life changing in a way that I didn’t realize at the time. I was exposed to a new culture, new food, saw the ocean for the first time, and most importantly, realized that traveling isn’t scary.
Since then, I’ve been to Mexico dozens of times. I’ve traveled there by car, bus, boat, and plane. I’ve never stayed in an all-inclusive resort or a resort of any type for that matter. When my husband and I travel, we prefer to get out and experience as much of the local culture as we can. In the ten years that we have been going to Mexico regularly, it’s worked out incredibly well. There has never been a time where we have felt unsafe--we’ve been lost a lot. Once in Puerto Vallarta, we got on a local bus and for some reason just never got off. We ended up riding it out to a neighborhood on the outskirts of town. The driver pulled into the last stop, looked at us and said “‘last stop”. We got off the bus and started walking back to town which was probably 5 miles away. Because we looked out of place, a nice gentleman (who was a meter reader) directed us to the next bus stop a few blocks away. Half an hour later we were back in downtown Puerto Vallarta in familiar territory.
Getting lost is kind of our specialty. It’s during those times that we have some of the best experiences and meet some incredible people.
Mexico is a country full of natural beauty, amazing food, and historic cities. Over the next few weeks I’ll be writing about some of my favorite places to go in Mexico. I would write more about my initial trip, but that was a long time ago. I don’t remember exactly what we did, but I do remember the sounds of the city--the horns honking, the engines of hundreds of VW bugs filling the roads, and not being able to see the sun through what I thought was fog (pollution). I took photos with a disposable camera; I have about 36 pictures total from the duration of that trip. The photo is of me in Mexico City as a sophomore in high school: long live the fanny pack.