How I Ended Up in Mexico

I won’t get into the reasons why I left, only how I ended up here after I did leave. Walking out of the USA over 7 years ago I had no idea where I would end up, all I knew is I was going for a walk with my dog and we were in search of a new home. Leaving just before another Wisconsin winter hit I sold most of my things (a second time) and filled up a bag with some survival gear and clothes. We started off in a motorized bicycle with a homemade fiberglass trailer but that soon became a huge failure even in some smaller hilly mountains. The one thing I had over looked was a break system!

After trashing the bicycle on a huge mountain barely escaping with our lives we decided to set out on foot. Bought a new stylish hiking backpack and was lucky enough to find people along the way that helped in my adventure. From food, places to stay, to transportation; it was a blessing and even when we had to sleep behind a dumpster it was still an adventure. (No hotels allowed dogs.) One time riding on an air mattress in the back of a pickup truck with my dog Ace as a group of 5 travel hippy hobos made there way across Texas.

Ace

After crossing the border the adventure became more intense, unable to speak a lick of Spanish it was a curve ball to say the least. I spent a month on the border helping a family fix their computers at their internet cafe and in return they offered me food and a place to sleep. They showed me there city and we were able to communicate with translators quite easily. After spending a month with there family I figured it was time to hit the road head deeper into Mexico. Making friends and family along the way I never went a night without food or a place to stay.

Eventually we would make it to the other border of Mexico but for some reason I always felt something calling me back. After a few months on the border my dog came down with a few serious illnesses. I spent almost a year taking care of him trying to fight his problems and right as it seemed like they were going away one morning his heart gave out as he went to follow me. After being my homestead, baby animal babysitter, and travel buddy for over 12 years; from Wisconsin to Arizona in Audi’s to riding shotgun in a motorized bicycle death trap on his way to Mexico, swimming in rivers and eating gifted food along the way.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t quite depressed for at least a year or so and just had no interest in traveling anymore. In that time span I met more and more of the community here and was accepted as friends and family. Enjoying beers and food with the neighbors as we shared plants and animals. I guess you could say I fell in love with Mexico and the community living here.

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Living Outside the Box is Dangerous

Looking back on the time before I left, many friends and family were the opposite of supportive. Many had tall tales of my death at the hands of the cartel. Some said I’d be back, and others were simply indifferent. In general the theme of their words maintained the story line of fear. They projected their own fears onto me when they tried to picture them selves doing the same thing.

I actually had only one friend that showed any sort of support at all and it was tied with the expression that I would return one day. Every single other person threw up their 5 gallon bucket of non-sense on every aspect of my adventure. This projection is a toxic thing and often times can keep someone from chasing after their dream. If I wasn’t so stubborn and adventurous I might have heeded some of their warnings.

The reality is though, not a single one of their warnings came to be. Every single time I was without food, it was provided. When I went without water, it was given to me. When I needed a place to sleep, I found one. There was never really any doubt in my adventure as far as safety. I can honestly say not one time did I ever feel threatened in any way. Especially in Mexico, the USA is a bit shadier in the cities whereas Mexico, other than Mexico City itself, is rather peaceful.

I was prepared though, with knives and other defensive objects as I was on my adventure but often times found myself never needing them. Not even close. My expectations of could be trouble never materialized. The fear that they had pumped into me never showed itself. In fact, it was the exact opposite the entire time. Fear of having to pay bills, gone. Fear of getting another speeding ticket, gone. Fear of not paying credit debts, gone. Fear of losing my job, gone. Fear of my insurance being valid, gone. Fear of losing my stuff, gone. Fear of economic collapse, gone. All my fears had vanished upon starting this adventure. No matter how big or small they completely vanished.

Looking back now, I kind of laugh at all the remarks that were made to me. Some of those still to this day ignore me when I extend a greeting. As if they can’t even speak to me because my life literally contradicts all of their delusions. They feel guilt for pushing their fear and deep down they know they are truly a coward so they remain silent. They don’t have the balls to admit what they did was childish or own up to it. They simply ignore and continue their delusion.

Living in this box of fear is a scary place to be, and many times those fears are what keep us inside it. People project theirs onto you in hopes of keeping you inside this box, with no consideration for you.

Living in this box of guilt is a scary place to be, and many times those guilts are what keep us inside it. People manipulate others to remain at their beck and call, limiting you to their intentions.

Living in this box of doubt is a scary place to be, and many times those doubts are what keep us inside it. People say faith in Jesus Christ is a cage but the reality is, my faith is what got me through that door, and in fear, I’ll live no more.

An Important Pack Item for the Adventure Traveler

The wool blanket. Need I say more? Well I will because it’s by far one of my favorite items in my pack. It enables me to do many more things than your typical blanket while also being much easier to maintain and keep clean. The benefits of wool are endless if you can get over the scratchy feel of it. (Which I have a few tricks to help with that as well). It provides you with much more than just the warmth of a blanket and in dire times it can prove to be quite the life saver.

The obvious uses for the wool blanket are for sleeping and warmth. This can be achieved with a number of items but the wool blanket offers you so much more. I remember a time when I was hitchhiking out of mid Texas and it started to get late. Real late. I had no place to stay and had some extra spending cash so I decided I’d book my first hotel on the trip to clean up and get a good nights rest. Well as I was walking along the hotel strip every hotel I tried to go to was booked solid. Every single one.

I ventured on with Ace, stopping at a few food stands along the way to regain some fuel. It grew to early morning and still no luck. I tried at least 20-30 different hotels in this shady-ish area. Finally! I found one with vacancy. The problem was however they didn’t allow dogs. I decided I had to sleep. Instead, I ventured on. I noticed Ace getting extremely tired as we were coming upon a giant commercial complex. I wasn’t sure what was on the other side and a lame ass security guard was already staring me down as we poked along.

Even after getting around the corner he continued to stalk us but once we got on the other side it was pretty much wilderness with a few more hotels in the area. With one last ditch effort I tried the remaining but no luck was to be found. This is when I threw in the towel and looked for the next best option. As I wiggled my way into the forest behind the hotel it got pretty dirty so I looked for another spot. I found a nice quiet area behind a huge dumpster on the back side of the parking lot. It had a huge wall encasing the dumpster with trees and a fence behind it.

There wasn’t a view from the hotel and it was a quiet little clean spot. The problem however was it covered with small sticks. This was no problem for the wool blanket! I won’t say I got a good nights rest but it kept me from having an even worse night. It was a true life saver in a dire time of need. As Ace and I cuddled up for the night we stayed toasty warm and enjoyed the tranquility of life behind the dumpster.

I thought to myself what a cop would even say if they caught me. I had money for a room, but no room was available. What’s a man to do? Pull out his wool blanket and have a good sleep! Unfortunately there was a car dealership on the other side of the fence and they came into work quite early. They didn’t spot us but we woke up and continued our journey.

This is one example of when the wool blanket saved me for a truly terrible night. With a regular blanket just sitting there would have been awful after 10 minutes. When you add in the other benefits of the wool blanket like staying warm when wet and the ability to self clean itself in the rain offers the traveler a good advantage compared to a regular blanket. The don’t tend to hold nasty smells either like other blankets can.

There are a few down sides to the wool blanket though. It is a bit bulky and heavy. There is really no way around that. I roll mine up super tight and tight it to the bottom of my backpack and it works out really well. When I sit down it gives my butt a nice cushion too. I decided it was well worth the cargo space and weight for me and truly love the ability to get down and dirty with this blanket, throw it out in the rain, and it’s like brand new!

Putting it in the rain is one way to help remove some of the scratch from your blanket but if you have a washer and dryer another good way to do this is by washing it with soft t shirt materials. Many fabrics give off tiny strands and material and the wool blanket seems to actually velcro these tiny fibers. Between washing it down and this process it seems to really soften it up. (It could be in my head but it certainly seems to work).

Why You Should Stop Taking Vacations and Start Traveling

The cliche thing to do now-a-days is travel. To book a cheap flight somewhere, fly there, spend a week or two or maybe even a month. Then fly home. This however is not what I would consider traveling. Perhaps a short vacation but traveling requires a bit more of an investment. A bit more time. Traveling is something you do when you’re not sure of the exact destination but you’re going for the adventure itself. You might need to fly over the ocean or something to save 3 months boat travel but maybe hitch hiking, taking a bus, or renting a car would be a bit more of an adventure. Most people work an entire year and take this one to two week vacation and call it traveling.

Now, there is nothing wrong with taking a vacation. Vacations are great. You recharge your battery, get away from work, and maybe even a tan. What I am proposing however is that you are missing out by going on vacations, rather than traveling. Instead of just recharging your battery to go back to another year of work why not save up for a few years and go on a year long vacation. Why not travel for several months at a time with no destination? It can sound scary. Quitting your job, moving your things into storage, or having someone watch the house but in reality there are other jobs out there. You can always find another employer especially with the experience of traveling abroad!

The benefits of traveling over a simple vacation are endless, from personal growth, confidence, and opening your eyes to the realities of the world outside what the media tells you. Most people are very sheltered on their cliche vacations hiding behind the illusion of fancy hotels and beach front condos. How much can you really grow looking at the ocean from the 35th floor of a luxury hotel? How much can you really grow flying over three countries to get there? How much can you really learn about yourself sitting in an airplane seat staring at the clouds? See the reality is people have been sold this silly idea of vacations. It’s expensive, short, and the same every year. For the amount you spent to stay at a luxury hotel in Miami or Key West you could have hitch hiked to Panama and lived there for six months. Which one is going to bring new experiences? Which one is going to teach you about life and yourself? Which one is going to be riddled with adventures and meeting new people?

I can’t tell you the number of experiences and people I have met in my travels. Looking back on the vacations and family vacations I took this still happened but in such a low number. The percentages are hardly comparable. I’ve met hundreds and thousands of new people throughout my travels. With new stories, ideas, and perceptions of the world around them. From family ideals and philosophy to hobbies and learning new skills. When you take the time to travel you meet the local farmer, the local hammock maker, the tortilla seller, you hear their stories, their adventures. Along the way you find private beaches and lagoons that you never would have found as a tourist. You meet locals, enjoy local foods, and get to know real people living real lives. Are you going to get this experience at Senor Frogs? Are you going to get that sort of knowledge on a cruise ship?

Another aspect of traveling is the therapeutic aw’ness of it all. Having the time to enjoy new environments and explore the things you wish you had the time to explore when you were on a short week long vacation. Not having to worry about a business meeting or getting to work on time with the right shirt on only to deal with some rude disrespectful costumer. The reality is some of the most peaceful moments in my life have been sitting in the grass, leaning up against my backpack, scratching my dogs belly as we waited for a ride. On a cool summer night I could have laid their for hours, watching the sun go down and thinking to myself, “well I don’t mind if I do”. As I take a short nap.

The reality is traveling offers so much more to the soul of anyone doing it. The peace and joy associated with all of it. People offering food to me or my dog. Offering us rides or even a place to stay. All in the name of good conversation. None of these people would have been in my life if I simply flew to my destination. None of these experiences would flow through my memory if I had just taken another vacation, another year of working 9-5, and another year of daily boredom at what my life had become. Traveling will change your perspective on life forever. It will change how you see people, and yourself. You’ll learn more about yourself the first night out there than 18 years of public school and college.

When it comes down to it the only thing that stops you from traveling over a vacation, is your mindset. Traveling is by far much cheaper. From hitch hiking, tents in campgrounds to campers and couch surfing, there are ways to travel extremely cheap. You could probably spend an entire month in Mexico for the price of one night at a luxury hotel. These are realities. It’s not the money, it’s not the time, it’s not your job, it’s only your mind set.