Any traveler knows that there are essentially two truths that you will encounter if you vagabond for any length of time:
1) you will get ripped off at some point (even if only for a $1 or $2)
2) you will get sick
Fortunately, since my life’s valuables are taped inside my underwear (thanks for the advice H), I haven’t yet been hustled. Unfortunately, I had a stomach bug that wore me down a bit.
I hopped off the Green Tortoise trip in Mulege Mexico so that I can continue my travels from here. Mulege is an oasis in the desert, a little sleepy town set in a valley with a river that runs through it which means nice breezes and lots of greenery. Mulege weather reminds me alot of San Diego in that the temperature can vary between a chilly 60 degrees and a balmy 80 degrees during the day, but you’ll almost always want pants and a jacket at night. The people are friendly, the pace is slow, there is no ATM, one internet cafe, and the cutest elementary school you can imagine with Disney characters painted in a mural on the exterior. You can walk around the whole town in under 20 minutes.
I decided to recuperate here at Hotel Mulege ($32 US/night incl. TV, 2 bottles of water daily). After weeks of travel and camping I was so happy to stand in a piping hot shower, roll around on the two beds and brush my teeth with running water.
I got some meds from a mexican doctor who only charged $25 to see me and the farmacia (pharmacy) was right there at the clinic. For the most part I needed rest, the last 4 months of prep and packing and partying and then traveling fast and furious wore me out. It has been nice to sit, stare out the window, watch television (which those who know me is really, really rare) but mostly I slept, I walked around the town and slept some more. Restricted to a diet of bananas and water and juice I longed for tacos and oranges and a diet coke but was happy with the scenery and the quiet, a soul deep quiet that echoed “rest”. People around town began to say things like “oh I saw you at the taqueria yesterday” or they’d start asking me (in spanish) if the dog following me was mine, etc. All in all a nice place to recover for 5 days. The funny thing is, as nice as it has been to be in a hotel w/ a shower and t.v., I find myself missing the rugged adventure of “roughing it”.
I donated my tent, snorkel gear and life vest to Cortez Explorers and am now down to my main pack (30lbs) and my daybag (9.5lbs). So with renewed strength, increased confidence and lots of Mylanta, I am ready to begin the motion of traveling again.
It occured to me that one of the reasons that travel is so personally transforming is that it infuses you with confidence. That confidence stems from realizing that you CAN adapt to a harsh environment, that you CAN deal with hygiene issues without running water or a 7-11 store, that you CAN navigate a foreign medical system. You then believe that you CAN go further, delve deeper, risk more and if all else fails, try again. The dream of the traveler is that you CAN explore far away places, seek untold adventure and return home safely to tell the tale.