When I started telling my friends and family I was going to walk the Camino de Santiago solo, I got a lot of raised eyebrows. People worried for my safety as a young single female. They thought I would be taken advantage of by thieves and rapists and murderers. When I started telling people that Austin and I were planning a three-month trip through Mexico, I got even more apprehensive responses. They told me stories of drug wars and shootouts and constant kidnappings (for the record, I have come across zero of these things on our trip thus far).
I have been very fortunate that other than a couple of missing earrings (Update: I found the money! Those silly thieves only snatched the jewelry after all), I have had very few negative experiences while traveling. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t dangers involved. The world is a real place full of good and bad and everything in between. And just like you might be in your own neighborhood, it’s important to be vigilant.
But as I enter my fourth week at our secret place on the Oaxacan coast, I am starting to come to terms with what must be the most dangerous aspect of travel by far.
You see, when you leave your home and the people you love to explore something new you always take the risk of finding someplace wonderful. Why is that dangerous? After all, it’s what most people have in mind when they set out to travel in the first place.
It’s dangerous because should you encounter a place that speaks to you like Austin and I have found here, it’s difficult to leave. The idea of ‘home’ starts to change. And time ticks away while all the other places you wanted to visit begin to fade from view.
I know I have limited time and limited money. I know that there is still a huge portion of this country left to see. I never expected to find myself in a position like this, but I’m not kicking myself for it.
I will stay here exactly as long as I like. I have confidence that I will find the balance between indulging myself with a place I have fallen in love with and still allowing myself the opportunity for new affairs. I’m way too young to settle down, after all.
But boy is it tempting. Dangerously so.