Over-complicating things is one of my favorite things to do and over-complicating something as simple as a toggle switch? How does one even do that…read on.
Archives for September 2016
I don’t really talk about sex much. Well, let me rephrase that; I don’t really talk about sex much unless it’s in the company of the person I’m having sex with. So, as one could rightly assume, I talk about sex with Will.
When we lived in one of our many houses around the world sex was a relatively easy affair. We had big beds, couches, a dining room table, and even one very comfortable lounge chair on the roof. The questions of “where” never came up. It just happened where it happened.
Now that we live in a camper the question is not so much “where” as “how”.
The layout of our camper is pretty straightforward. It fits in the bed of a truck and the bed we sleep in is over the cab of said truck. We have a small couch about the size of a twin bed. We have maybe 5 x 2 feet of floor space. We have a small counter with a sink, two burner stove, and a fridge. It’s designed for sleeping, cooking, and escaping the elements.
It’s not really designed for fucking. But design flaws aren’t really going to stop a couple of people from having sex. I mean, think back to the high school backseat days, where someone’s knee was in the other person’s face and the seat belt always left a nice, clear imprint on your ass. Sweaty, steamy, fumbly, and awkward.
That’s kind of how it is now but we’re not teenagers. I like my sex nice and comfy with just enough oomph to prove I’m not dead.
Now don’t get me wrong. Our bed is really nice. It’s a queen and it’s really comfortable. But there are only about 18 inches of headroom so that kind of puts some limits on what can and can’t be done in the bed. Oral sex hasn’t been a problem at all, nor has the standard missionary position or anything else that doesn’t require one to elevate themselves more than 18 inches, so we’re good there. Mutual masturbation is also a great choice, especially when we can’t use the a/c and the idea of sweaty skin on skin action is so, so gross but you’re horny anyway.
Obviously, if we decide that we want to try other positions we have to move to the couch. You know, doggy style or any variations of girl on top. It’s not really a problem but sometimes the cushions slide around and leave one or the both of us unceremoniously deposited on our little scrap of floor. That can be funny or infuriating depending on where your orgasm was when your ass hits the ground.
Climbing around in this camper is kind of tricky too. If one of us is standing on the floor and the other is in the bed then the bed person has to climb down on the couch to get around to the door. Climbing up into the bed requires stepping on the couch or the generator housing and then squirming your way up. It’s cumbersome but I don’t think Will minds when it’s me and my bare bum scrambling up and he’s got the view from the couch.
You know. Because he kind of likes me.
Part of this grand adventure has always included wild camping and we’ve done that a few times now. Deserted beaches, clear water, impossibly beautiful night skies. The perfect setting for a naughty romp under the stars, right?
Do you know the kinds of bugs that come out at night? I’ve seen things I didn’t even think were allowed on this planet. There’s no way in hell I’m getting naked out there and I think it would be really, really hard to get turned on when I might have to ask, “Is that your dick or something else? Because it feels kind of weird.” Then some crazy bug ends up in my vagina and I’m scarred for life.
Yeah, that’s a worst case scenario for sure but I’m sure you get where I’m coming from. And I’m sure an ass full of mosquito bites wouldn’t make for a great time either.
Overall, I never really expected to have to talk about sex as it relates to this overlanding adventure. And as you are all well aware by now I never expected a lot of what’s happened on this trip. Most times it’s like I’m just fumbling my sweaty way around, doing what feels right at the time.
And that pretty much sums up sex in a camper.
Several years ago I had an idea for a blog. This blog would contain nothing but bitching and moaning about all the places I visit. I abandoned that project almost as soon as I came up with it, but it seems as if that long stowed away idea has resurfaced here.
My last few posts have resonated with a lot of people. Why? I think the main reason is because I’ve stopped writing what I think people want to hear and started writing what few travel bloggers do.
The truth is that travel isn’t always fun. It doesn’t always change your life. Things will go wrong, sometimes horribly wrong. It’s a messy, confusing, infuriating endeavour at times and I know I’m not the only one that thinks that.
But I am going to be one of the bloggers who writes that.
Travel blogs are everywhere these days. Sometimes it seems that anyone with a passport and some WordPress skills is a travel blogger. My Instagram feed is full of perfectly posed beachside shots full of carefully curated hashtags, one of the most common being #soblessed. I understand this on some level. Those of us who can travel full-time or even part-time are fortunate, but blessed? To me, this implies the benevolence of some deity who has bestowed blessings on you and left someone else out in the cold.
But the other thing that bothers me is that when I visit this #soblessed person’s site I generally find little of substance. There are the same bikini-clad shots found on Instagram, posts titled “5 Ways the Full Moon Party Changed My Life Forever”, or glowing reviews of hotels and restaurants because the PR departments of these establishments paid the blogger to write said glowing review.
But despite this, these blogs that reveal the narcissistic underbelly of this saturated industry, there are some beacons of light. These are blogs written by people who aren’t afraid to show their vulnerability, people who write very helpful and insightful content, and people who write with such passion and skill that I melt in their company.
I’m talking about bloggers like Kate McCulley of Adventurous Kate who truly gives the lowdown on travel as a solo woman and she does so with exquisite prose. If you haven’t read the post about her shipwreck go do so right now. There’s also Jeremy Scott Foster of travelFREAK who recently went public with his critical battle with Lyme disease. And then there’s Bret Love, a man so passionate about what he does and what he stands for that Green Global Travel is a must for anyone who wants to live a more eco-conscious life, whether traveling or not. His recent post on the Rwandan genocide moved me to tears. Talon Windwalker is another truth-teller, and he weaves together his travel and personal stories so well at 1 Dad 1 Kid.
I like reading honesty. I like reading truth. And I’ve now discovered that I like writing it too. Because while we made this travel choice consciously, we had no way of knowing exactly how it would play out. Overlanding and the challenges that come with it are far, far different from a guided tour of Paris or a comped stay at a luxury hotel. Overlanding comes with its own unique set of realities and I want to tell the truth about that.
And the realities of it are very, very raw. Just like the wounds covering my legs after I lost my balance on the steps leading up to Moby’s camper. But that’s another whiny, bitchy story.
I’m not trying to bash anyone here. I understand the fear, risk, and vulnerability that come with putting many aspects of your life online for everyone to see. Few people would say to your face the things they say in a comment box. It’s tough to be, well, tough. And I understand that everyone has the right to blog as they see fit even if I don’t personally like their style.
I’ve also never considered myself to be a #soblessed person. We worked hard to make this journey happen, we work hard every day to keep Moby and each other safe and sound, we work hard at our respective jobs, and I work hard on this blog. #soblessed has absolutely nothing to do with that.
So, I’ve decided to adopt the #notblessed hashtag. I don’t use Twitter that much but if you follow me on Instagram you’ll find it there. And for those of you who were hoping this would be another post about how much I suck at overlanding, stay tuned.
The tale of woe that is me falling off the steps, cracking my skull on the cement, and scraping up both my legs is next in the queue.
I know lots of people who are self-proclaimed makeup addicts. They have pots, tubes, pencils, and various other containers full of all the things that they brush, slather, and blend on a daily basis to look and feel beautiful. Then there are the various lotions and potions that go on the skin before the makeup. Anti-wrinkle creams, skin brighteners, moisturizers with sunscreen, moisturizers without sunscreen, and serums. And don’t even get me started on hair care products.
I mean, the makeup section in drugstores can take up three or more aisles and then there are the entire stores devoted to makeup and skin care like Sephora and MAC.
I don’t know if I would describe myself as one of these addicts but when it came time to pare down for this trip I figured that the makeup portion of the throwaway process would be the easiest. While I do like makeup it’s not like I had a ton of it, right?
Oh, how wrong I was.
When I sat down to take on this task I realized I had not one but two boxes full of this shit. There they were, all the tubes of foundation, pots of eyeshadow, and at least 5 or 6 different types and brands of moisturizer. Some of this stuff wasn’t cheap so I knew I had to be careful and couldn’t just aim for the garbage can with each and every dip of my hand into the box.
In the end, I took way, way too much makeup and skincare stuff. I went from two boxes to two bags and guess how much of it I’ve used since we left? Almost none. The Visine is really the only thing I go for on a regular basis these days.
So for all you overlanding ladies out there, these are a few of the on-the-fly beauty routines I’ve adopted for my glamorous overlanding adventure. Or you could just trash your makeup and call it good.
Everyone wants to have nice skin, but the best thing is when someone comes up to you and tell you that you’re glowing. This is even more welcomed when you’re not currently pregnant. The makeup makers go to great lengths to create products that promise that highly sought after glow but when you’re out on the open road there’s no need for that.
Sweat. Sweat is the best glow you can get and guess what? It’s free! Whether you’re frolicking on a 37-degree beach or trudging through a steamy rainforest the sweat that spouts from your face will definitely have people asking, “What’s your secret? You’re positively glowing!”
Another way to achieve that healthy, sun-kissed glow is a little-known secret that is actually two beauty tips in one. After you apply sunscreen to your face and wipe off the sweat that will try it’s best to wash that sunscreen off, then pat a little sand on your cheeks. When the light catches the shiny flecks of sand you’ll look radiant and when you go to wash your face at the end of the day the sand acts an amazing exfoliator. Win win!
Beautiful, Road-Worthy Hairstyles
Okay, in the spirit of honesty and I do try to be 100% honest about the very real struggles of overlanding I suggest shaving your head. I know, I know… this suggestion isn’t very well received among women but the truth is you will have absolutely nothing to worry about when it comes to your hair. I know this because I did it 7 years ago.
However, 7 years and a foot and a half of hair later I can attest that keeping my hair healthy and looking like something other than a rat’s nest is a real struggle. While sweat might do wonders for your face it doesn’t have quite the same effect on hair. Unless you’re the type that likes sodden hair that dries into a crispy, salty mess of tangles.
If you don’t have short, sassy, easy to care for hair this my favorite hairstyle tip, the messy top knot. It really doesn’t even require that you actually brush your hair; you just have to flip your head over, grab all your hair, and twist it into a knot on your head, then secure with pins. The result is an effortless, “I woke up like this” look that will definitely turn heads. “Heads” probably being your own as you struggle to keep your top knot secured and wipe loose, sweaty strands from your face and neck.
Because, you know, hairspray in a camper? How frivolous!
Smooth, Pretty Feet
Back when I had a house I loved to give myself pedicures. Now that I live in a camper I’ve had to adopt some other crafty ways to keep my feet from looking like they’ve been chewed on by a dog. Since you’ll likely spend a lot of time in flip flops or other types of sandals it can be really hard to keep nail polish from chipping and the skin around your toenails from looking like jerky.
Obviously the best answer here is to just head to the salon for a pedicure. But what if you’re in some breathtakingly remote place and there’s no salon in sight? Well, if that beautiful place happens to be a beach then, once again, sand comes to the rescue. Simply get your feet wet and attack them with sand. Sometimes this can hurt a little, especially if the sand is not the sugary white kind, but keep at it. All that nasty skin and probably a fair amount of dirt will come right off.
Now, when it comes to polish I have a nifty little trick up my sleeve. I don’t have any polish remover because “oh shit, if it spills that stuff will eat through anything and stink up the place” but I don’t let that deter me. When my current polish starts to chip or grow out I just cover it up with a different color. That way, when your polish chips because you’ve stubbed your fucking toe on a rock again you get a nice kaleidoscope effect.
Brilliant and easy.
So, as I continue on down this wild road I’m sure I’ll come up with some other inventive ways to help myself feel like something other than a sweaty, dirty mess. Maybe, one day soon, we’ll land in an area with a climate more conducive to makeup and I can unearth my long buried goodie bags and the gauzy, silky maxi dress I know is in here somewhere and we’ll go to dinner.
I’ll be sand and sweat free, my hair will be down, and I’ll have my much-loved makeup on, and my husband will tell me I’m pretty.
Then, as always, I’ll spill something down the front of my dress. C’est la vie.
As many of you are now well aware, things haven’t been all rainbows and unicorns since we began our overland journey a month ago. In fact, things have been downright shitty at times as you can see from my previous post.
However, last Friday as we said goodbye to Mulege and spent a blissful night on a relatively cool and deserted beach I began to feel as if things were looking up. I was peeing somewhat normally, I got to go for a swim, and the Bay of Conception is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.
But pretty beaches and pristine bays can’t hide the fact that we’ve done some pretty stupid shit thus far. Well, I guess I should say that I’ve done more stupid shit than Will has, but we’re both new to this and mistakes happen. But the big mistake we made during Hurricane Newton really takes the proverbial cake.
The funny thing is that we’re no strangers to severe weather. I’ve been through a couple of tropical storms in Louisiana and Hawaii and we both survived not one but two Category 3 typhoons in Taiwan. We know the rules but apparently the 90 miles per hour winds of Hurricane Newton blew those rules right out the window.
We became aware of the storm that would become Newton on Saturday and made it to Loreto on Sunday. All of the projected paths had this storm headed straight up the Baja Peninsula and right into our laps. On Monday Newton became a Category 1 hurricane and we talked about what we should do. Head for higher ground? No. The Mexican Civil Defense actually advised against that due to the extreme risk of mudslides. Go to a hotel? Maybe, but how will we know if it’s bad enough?
In the end, we just decided to move Moby away from the trees that we were parked under, stock up on supplies, and ride it out. We went out to dinner Monday night and watched as the outer bands of Newton swirled slowly over the Sea of Cortez. It was actually quite beautiful.
Tuesday morning I woke to the pitter patter of rain on Moby’s roof. For a minute I just stretched and savored that exquisite sound of rain that I hadn’t heard in so long until I realized what it actually was. The beginning of a fucking hurricane. Will was already up, we had power but no internet, so we drank coffee and watched Master Chef. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad, I thought.
That’s what I get for thinking.
By noon the winds had picked up and Moby was rocking and rolling. We decided to pull the top down which drastically reduced our living space. Each trip to the bathroom resulted in massive amounts of water coming into the camper and the couch was soaked. We were running out of towels. The full brunt of the storm wasn’t expected to hit Loreto until 6pm so at 2pm we did something really, really stupid.
We decided to go out and find a hotel.
We packed a few things in a dry bag, locked everything up, and headed out to the street. Wait, I’ll take that back. We headed out into a river.
The streets of Loreto were swirling with muddy, brown water and debris that nearly reached my knees. All I could think about was the fact that I was probably wading through actual shit, in Tevas. The Tevas that always give me blisters and I’m wading through filthy water and will probably get gangrene from a blister.
But we trudged on.
Then I realized the second stupid way we might die.
Power lines in Mexico aren’t always a neat and tidy affair. In fact, they’re kind of a shit show. So as I looked up at the power lines precariously swinging directly over my head all I could do was whisper to myself, “Five blocks. It’s only five blocks to the hotel.”
We reached Loreto’s little central square to find the hotel we were counting on was closed. A peek through the door showed a collapsed ceiling over the reception area and water everywhere. We trudged across the square to the other hotel. Nothing. Nada. Closed.
We then waded back toward the beach and actually had to skirt a power line that wasn’t entirely down but way too close for comfort. As we approached the beach hotel and saw the cars and people milling about it looked like a shining beacon of light, a true port in a storm, a magical place that might provide me a dry towel and a goddamn drink.
But no. The hotel was completely empty but the staff were there and said, in no uncertain Spanish terms, that el jefe said no guests today. We probably could have bribed our way in but I just wanted to go back and put some antibiotic cream on my feet. You know, so they wouldn’t rot and fall off.
So, we did what anyone who had just risked their lives by walking around in a fucking hurricane would do. We waded back to Moby and got drunk. We stripped down to our underwear and just wore raincoats when we had to splash over to the bathroom. We laughed about how stupid we were. And as the skies darkened and Newton began seriously dumping rain and throwing out winds that reached 90 mph I freely admit that I was scared shitless. But tequila does help with that.
When I woke up on Wednesday it was like nothing had ever happened. The skies were a crisp blue, a delightfully cool breeze was blowing, and we had internet and power. But the real work had yet to begin.
We did get some water in the camper at the head of the bed so we had to open all the flaps and pull the mattress back. All the couch cushions and their covers had to come out into the sun. Our clothesline was jammed with sodden towels and clothes. The shoes we’d been wearing were lined up in rows. Our bed pillows were laid out with the floor mats. It looked like a damn hobo yard sale.
I’m sure this adventure is going to be full of lots of stupid decisions. Life itself is full of stupid decisions but most of those tend not to involve hurricanes, power lines, and wading through sewage. Luckily, hurricane season is almost over and once we’re further south in Mexico we won’t have to worry about hurricanes again for the rest of the trip.
But who am I kidding? There’s no free pass when Mother Nature is concerned.
We’ve got volcanoes and earthquakes to look forward to.
As I write this we are just over a month into what promises to be at least a two-year overland journey from the United States to Ushuaia, Argentina.
Yes. Just one month in and I’m already writing this post.
I know many people who have done this type of trip and some of them have done it several times. It’s life changing, the say. It’s magical, they say. It’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced, they say.
Deep down in my currently dehydrated heart I want to believe this. I want to know that, at the end of this journey, I’ll feel the same way. I crave that gut feeling that they’re right but my gut feeling these days is more about “Oh fuck, is there a toilet?” However, as a newbie overlander and a sometimes (most of the time) complainer, these are a few of the things I wasn’t exactly (at all) prepared for.
There Will be Bugs
Okay, look. I get it. Bugs are a thing. As I’m writing this something unidentifiable is crawling across my screen and its evil kin is buzzing my ear. I’m no stranger to bugs. I lived in Hawaii and New Orleans where the cockroaches play airplane at night and give zero fucks about you, eating your food, or parking themselves in your hair. I stepped in a fire ant bed twelve years ago and still have the scars to prove it.
What makes this different? I can’t really get away from them and repellent only goes so far. At night it’s not so bad as Moby is pretty well screened up but she’s a hot little number in the daytime so I sit outside and why do flies like me so much? And why does repellent never seems to faze flies? Or ants? And did you know that bees really, really like beer and if even one of them gets a taste they’ll inform their brethren and soon you’ll have a swarm on your hands?
Again, I hate to be such a baby but I’m really bad at dealing with climate extremes, and what seems extreme to me would probably be a blip on the weather radar to you. When it’s hot I drip sweat and feel faint for a few days until I acclimate. When it’s cold I shiver and shake and nothing short of a scalding shower can warm me up.
I’ve been very hot and very cold on this trip of less than a month. Las Vegas was so hot that Moby’s little a/c couldn’t keep up and we only stayed one night. Also, did you know that the west coast of Baja California is cold? In August? Hell, I took a university meteorology course and I couldn’t even figure that one out until I’m bundled in flannel in front of a fire, teeth chattering on a beach in Mexico in August.
I’ve met a lot of people over the last month and many of them stare at my salt and sweat smeared face and say, “Wow. You’re red,” as they flick a single bead of sweat from their upper lip. I don’t know if they’re superhuman or what, but when they comment on the 37-degree heat like they’re commenting on the most mundane of things I want to slap their sweat-free head.
Who’s got a red face now?
Bad Things Happen to Your Body
I’ve become all too aware of my body over the last few weeks, namely how it’s betraying me. You know, those pesky needs to urinate, defecate, eat, drink. One might think, “Hey! You’re just sitting in a truck driving around all day then camping at night. Just like home, right?”
I’ve found myself drinking way too little water because I don’t want to have to find a place to pee to the point that I’ve actually had brown urine one morning. Brown. Any doc worth his salt would have me on an IV immediately. After a night of picking through a kilo of local crab in a spicy paprika sauce, I found myself, exactly 24 hours later, stricken with diarrhea and scrambling across a rocky beach in the middle of nowhere to build a toilet from said rocks because my quivering thighs wouldn’t hold me up anymore.
Cue more dehydration. Did you know water intake is crucial? You’re going to sweat a lot.
And speaking of sweat, this one’s for the ladies. Try and perfect your from-the-back bra fastening skills. You might think that sweat-slick skin is the perfect surface upon which to slide your fastened bra around to the front but you’d be wrong.
Or just abandon all your pricey Victoria’s Secret lingerie altogether. You may as well throw all of your expensive makeup in that hallowed grave too because MAC foundation and sweat do not mix.
You’re Going to Stink, Badly
Weather plays a big part in any type of travel but something as far-reaching as overlanding means you’re covering several different seasons in some of the hottest and most humid places on Earth. Showers aren’t always available and baby wipes and deodorant can only do so much. You’re going to stink, your partner is going to stink, your clothes are going to stink, your hair is going to stink, and your shoes, if you wear them, will absolutely reek. And the combo of bug spray and rancid sweat is horrific.
DIY laundry solutions are always an option but let’s face it; dish soap and a bucket are poor substitutes for Tide with Downy and a proper washing machine. And a swim in the ocean does not constitute a bath, even if you take some Dr. Bronner’s in there with you.
You’re Going to Fight, Often
Most people undertake this kind of overlanding trip with a partner, usually someone you’re in a relationship with. That makes sense. It’s a lot of work and having a partner to share the duties with is a big deal. But no matter how strong the relationship chances are you won’t always be on the same page, or more likely even reading the same book.
You’ll fight about how one of you (me) is complaining too much. You’ll fight because one of you (me) really wants a toilet. You’ll fight about spending the night at a luxe yet pricey campground versus a free yet barren beach. You’ll fight because you’ve listened to the same 171 songs over and over for days. You’ll fight because your starter went out in a blast furnace somewhere near Barstow and you don’t even have any drugs that will kick in to ease the pain.
And one of you (me) will almost always cry.
You’ll Have to Learn New Words and Their Actual Meanings
Jerry can, boondocking, voltage, inverter, greywater, gross vehicle weight. What are these words and why should I care? Also, at the risk sounding less than feminist, aren’t these guy words?
Well, it turns out that if you’re part of an overlanding duo, regardless of your gender, you need to know these words and more, what they mean, and how they now fit into your brand new lifestyle and lexicon. I’ll leave the fun of exploring these words to you, but these words also involve a lot of work so I don’t know exactly how much fun that will be.
You’ll Wonder What the Fuck You’ve Gotten Yourself Into
I feel like an utter and complete asshole for saying this but I’ve questioned this decision more than a few times in a month. Why this? Why a trip that requires so much work and decision making and complications? Are we really ready for this? Who, in their right mind, does something like this when we could have just moved to Thailand or someplace in Europe for the same cost and half the hassle?
I’m a worrier and an over-thinker so I know my feelings are probably more extreme than most, but for fuck’s sake. Can I really do this? Two years? In a camper the size of the smallest kitchen in any of the huge houses we’ve lived in? Without killing each other? I also tend to be pessimistic (surprise!) so that only makes it worse.
I’m working on that.
You’ll Wonder Why You Didn’t Do it Sooner
So after every horrible thing I’ve said to this point I still think this was the best decision we ever made and I think we should have done it years ago when it first came up. I’ve found myself with a very deep level of respect for Will and the things he knows how to do. He is a problem solver of the best kind and has the skills to back that up.
He’s also been pretty patient with me and he’s not the most patient of people.
Some of the less attractive aspects of my personality have come roaring to the surface. I’m whiny, I’m lazy, I’m a creature of habit and comfort. None of these are conducive to this or any healthy lifestyle. I need to shed those habits and embrace more joy and spontaneity and learn how to be a truly active participant in my relationship and this journey. These are all good things to know.
And the pods of dolphins seen from deserted beaches and the skies so dark that the Milky Way slides across the night with a brilliance I’ve never seen before in my life help ease the pain.
Those things help a lot.
Of course traveling is all about the places you go. And then again, its not at all about the places you go. I am fortunate to have had great experiences all around the globe. I’ve seen many beautiful things and have sometimes even taken photos of those beautiful things. The places and the beauty however, are rarely what make a visit to someplace stick out in my mind. The people I meet, on the other hand, solidify the memories of beautiful (or not so beautiful) places.
Mulegé is a non-descript small town on the east coast of the Baja Peninsula. For me it was a convenient place to stop for the work week. We found an inexpensive campground which had good wifi (this is low-season so nobody else was using it). All of my requirements were met here so the decision was made to spend the week.
For our first couple of nights, we really didn’t get out much. There’s really nowhere to get out to, it’s also pretty hot at this time of year and leaving the shaded area of the orchard where we were camped was less than pleasant. Boredom and monotony eventually drove us to brave the heat and seek out something resembling entertainment. So far as we could tell by Google maps, the nearest bar/restaurant within walking distance was nearly 2km away. That’s not very far at all under normal circumstances but if I have neglected to mention how hot it was, well, it was hot and I would just as soon not be drenched in sweat by simply walking to dinner.
We set off towards the beach and after about 5 minutes walking saw what appeared to be your typical Mexican bar/restaurant. It didn’t really look open, but there were two ladies about so we inquired. Indeed, they would be happy to have us. That didn’t really mitigate the dreaded sweating, but by stopping here, it didn’t get any worse.
Soon after we were seated, a lone man sat at a table nearby. Cate made several attempts to strike up a conversation, but he didn’t really seem chatty. He would politely respond to questions but was perhaps a bit hesitant to elaborate on any answers to questions that he had given. Not too long after he arrived, a friend of his showed up. That’s when what amounts to entertainment in Mulegé began.
Cate and I had had a conversation a few days earlier about what might make a person choose one place over another when deciding to expatriate from the US. She was trying to make sense of why people flock to places like Boquete, Panama. More specifically, why do people leave the US and travel to a strange country to only do the exact same thing they were doing back home (in many ways, we exhibit this behaviour as well). Once these two old friends got to talking, Cate seized on the opportunity to explore her questions more. “Will you ever go back to the US?” she asked. “Nope” was the response. “Why not?” Cate asked. “People in the US park too fast”. Yep, you read that right – park as in park their vehicles. That’s the kind of place that Mulegé is. Life is a LOT slower there. There were many other great quotes from that night – the only other one that I can recall is “Lobsters are the groupers of the shrimp world”. I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean, but I found it hilarious at the time.
In so many places that we’ve lived and traveled, expats from wherever show up and try to change wherever they’ve moved to to be more like wherever they came from. It’s an odd phenomenon.
Later in the week, we were invited back to the same restaurant/bar for a potluck. More of the local expats were there. The vibe here is definitely different. None of the people that have adopted Mulegé as home complain about the Mexicans. This is the exact opposite of our experience in Tulum where that seemed to be all the expats would talk about. Nobody here is interested in changing a damn thing. I get the sense that if one decides to expatriate to Mulegé, they do it because they simply want to be left alone and I also get the sense that these folks have succeeded in that endeavor.
If you ever find yourself in Mulegé on a Sunday afternoon, you should seek out the Carlos Racing Bar & Grill. Sit down, relax (but slowly) and learn a thing or two about just letting go. Thanks, Mulegé for reminding me how to relax.