Buying that plane ticket home from Mexico was bittersweet. We still had two weeks left on our visa, but our wallets were thinning out and the truth is that I was feeling a little homesick. I don’t get to spend a lot of time with my family in Florida now that I’m living out west, and I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to live the seasonal lifestyle and have the time to visit like I can now. Lucky for me Austin was also willing to call it a trip, and we both booked a flight to Tampa International.
Still, as the days to our departure drew nearer, we started to feel sadder and sadder about the prospect of leaving this beautiful country. So we made a list of things to look forward to in order to brighten our mood. The list included things like – being able to drink from the tap, having access to a car, large grocery stores, air conditioning, going to the movies, watching our favorite TV shows, and a lot of specific foods (Carrabba’s calamari, Steak n Shake burgers, sushi, and somewhat weirdly, Chili’s chips and salsa). Whenever we started feeling down about leaving, we referred to the list and cheered right up again. It started as a bit of a joke, but quite quickly turned into a useful tool for lifting our spirits.
Now that we’ve been home for a few weeks, I’m finding myself forming a different list in my mind. This time it’s regarding everything I loved about Mexico. This list is fairly long and includes things like the Pacific Ocean, mezcalerias, margaritas made with fresh lime juice, the amazing fruit juices you could find everywhere, our home in our Secret Place and the generous man who managed it, tortillas served with every meal, making breakfast in an open air kitchen with an ocean view, traveling easily and affordably by bus, the big cities, the small towns, museums, markets, incredible artisans…
This time though, the list isn’t formulated as motivation to keep moving. There’s no motivation involved at all really. It’s just there, in my mind, growing longer and longer and keeping me warm. I am so thankful for the incredible journey of the last three months. I am so thankful for the growing list and pure joy of those memories. I don’t know when I’ll next be able to return to Mexico, but I know that this country has moved me in a way that will always stay with me. Like my time on the Camino de Santiago, and the red rock deserts of the American Southwest, and the Carribbean waters of the Dominican Republic, this experience has changed me. And no matter where I go, a little piece of Mexico will always be with me.
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