A Travellerspoint blog

Mexico

Six months

A couple of thoughts and an update.

17 °C
View Crossing back on Zaspirucho's travel map.

Travel is more than an arbitrary change of scenery, its more than just going from here to there.
It is an experience; an adventure.

What is adventure, then?

Once I read Georg Simmel defining it as an experience so outside the normal routine, so different to the usual way of life as to, when finished (because it must finish), constitute a dream-like memory. Once over, an adventure is not much more than a tale ready for retelling and embellishment.

I believe this definition is missing something: an adventure, to be considered such, must risk one's life... It need not do so in a physical way though. In spanish, an affair is often referred to as an adventure. An affair may not risk one's life in any biological sense, but it certainly jeopardizes a way of life. Some adventures are so because in them we discover other ways of life, and wish for a moment there was no reason for going back to ours.

Much has been written about the difference between the tourist and the traveller. The way I see it, such difference lies in the word itself: tourist. A tour, in french, is a circuit, a turn or twist, some circular path. A tour ends where it begins, and so, a tourist will visit a few places, then come back home. A traveller, however, can never go back, she can only go forward.

When the trip finishes the tourist returns home, finding nothing much has changed, falling back to the routine. The views, beaches and drinks become blurry, a simple adventure, a dream. Real life takes over, continues.

But sometimes, it doesn't. An adventure may lead to another, trains may follow each other and what started off as a round trip, well, just goes on. Travelling, as the traveller experiences it, is more of a way of life. It does not simply end. A journey may encompass many smaller trips, tours, arrivals and departures. One may stay still for a week, a month or a year, but soon feelings arise. Some languages have special words for this. Wanderlust, anomie or fernweh but a few. The nostalgia for faraway places and distant friendships is not easily quenched.

I know this, for I am there.

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It's been almost six months since my return to the City. There's been some trying, some good and other awesome moments.
I missed my friends while away, so I gathered some of them to live under the same roof.
For almost two years I spent every full moon at a different place. I've now spent this past ones not only in the same bed, but beside the same person.
Academically too, I am finally where I had projected to be. After a four year struggle, I can finally move on to my thesis, and leave that university phase behind. Wouldn't that be something?

And yet, I can hear the call of the horizon and ache for the road. Soon.

I did say travel is an adventure. And I also said adventures end.
Just, not quite yet.

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Posted by Zaspirucho 21:43 Archived in Mexico Tagged travel mexico adventure city mexico_city update wanderlust fernweh Comments (0)

Volver

Coming back is also part of the trip

semi-overcast 22 °C

I have a bed, a room, a car, and responsibilities to attend to. So I guess I live here now!

I've even got sort of a view

I've even got sort of a view


Everything is the same, yet all is different. Coming to live again in the house we got when the family first arrived in the city, was not exactly as expected. It is not the place it was then. No more bougainvilleas hang from the side, I was surprised to be greeted by tall bamboo bush out front, and the once little lime tree sapling now bears its fruit proudly. It's been about twelve years since that first time, and over three years since I last lived here. No, being here didn't nearly feel so much like stepping into the past as I thought it would.

Coming back, stopping, settling down (for however long) is also a part of the journey, just as the planning phase is too.
Time is different on the road and off it. The feeling of urgency, I have found, is very different to what you find in daily city life. When travelling I knew not the feeling of hurry. Except for the occasional train departure or date of arrival, I could take my time for anything. Writing, drawing or drinking coffee, I spent as long as I wanted or required. Nevertheless, everything had a strong sense of immediacy. A constant "now or never" aura surrounded each action, every castle visit or kiss. The things left for later were forgotten. The museums left for some other time will have to wait for another trip, if ever. It is a life in every breath kind of existence.
City life, however, feels the other way around. It takes so long to get from one place to another, and there are so many things to do, that life passes in a constant state of hurry. Not even the best of books will make time spent in traffic feel less wasted. And yet, not much gets done at a time. Nothing is immediate, but must be programmed days in advance, then confirmed the previous evening and probably that same morning too. If I want to see someone, we must arrange for a meeting during their lunch hour, or wait for the weekend, when they are "free". There is little room for improvisation, for the now.
Projects take long to come through, but then again, they can be done. While travelling, one cannot build. It felt like I was laying down a brick every time I learned someone's name, each time I stole a kiss or heart, or found the right place to spend my time. Yet a brick does not make a house, and when the storm arrives, one needs the shelter... I guess that's what made me come back to Mexico. In terms of country, I feel here as much a foreigner as anywhere else; but this is the place where I have spent more time building a foundation of friendship and love.

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So I arrived, and spread the contents of my backpack on my old desk. Things from here and there, stuff that reminds me of certain people, places or moments. Coins, bills and postcards, even some things that stayed hidden inside the pack for months at a time, even the whole year.
I spread out my trip on the surface, organized it, put it away, then started this new chapter of this journey...

I got a good thing going here

I got a good thing going here


I've been biking a lot this past few weeks. It might not be Rotterdam, but still you can bike in Mexico City. It's my way of dodging some of the traffic, and therefore the ire of the streets; the potholes are just part of the adventure. And it keeps me fit and alert. With the stress, altitude and smog, you kinda need it.
One reason I came back to the city faster, instead of my original plan of moving slowly up from Cancun to Mexico City (a good 2000km via Chiapas), was that my sister needed some help home. But now she's back in Barcelona, for good this time, leaving me in charge of house and cats. It is interesting sometimes to experience the other side too. To be the one that stays behind. But, for how long?

People tell me how finishing their studies felt like a big weight fell off their shoulders... I did not feel such a weight, but when analyzing the costs/benefits of it all, I decided to stay here a while and try to get it over with. So lets see how that goes!

My dear Uni, didn't think I'd see you again so soon.

My dear Uni, didn't think I'd see you again so soon.

Posted by Zaspirucho 13:38 Archived in Mexico Tagged home mexico adventure city living travelling mexico_city beginning the_end Comments (1)

Enter the nomad

Sometimes you talk about the future, say how things will or will not be. It's eerily creepy when you turn out to be right.

During those late night chats in eastern european hostels, same questions would usually arise. Where are you going next? What will you do when you go back home? "I shall go back to Mexico City, finish all unsettled business, and after a year I will leave again", I would answer. "This time I was a away for a year, next time will be longer." Turns out I was right.

It's been a year since my return to the city, and even though this past few months I've hardly been here, a year has passed. Although it wasn't really planned, it nonetheless happened as foreseen. I leave my flat tonight, hand in the keys in the morning. No ceremony, no going away party, just pack my things and leave. But I'm not just moving, nor am I moving away. I leave some possessions scattered around, but for the most part, I need to get rid of them, for there is no intention on coming back. Objects that have accompanied me for some ten years or more, it's time for them to leave. The backpack's more than full, no place for office chairs, suits, or japanese oil lamps. Even the books will have to go. Even the books.

All empty now!

All empty now!


It's been a good year, this past one. The thing about living in such a central part of the city, is that it makes you lazy. I didn't really need to move to meet with people, they were more than willing to come here. 'Meet you downstairs, on the plaza!' Or 'at the coffee shop, two blocks away!' But now the time for pretty Coyoacan is up. No more stone streets, no more rooftop coffee or wine. The time for rucksacks and airplanes is nearing, the time for wanderings is almost here.
So we enter the nomad lifestyle, time to get off my lazy ass and ransack the world!

Posted by Zaspirucho 21:49 Archived in Mexico Tagged nomad beginning coyoacán ransack Comments (0)

The prior arrangemets

Almost there, but not yet quite.

overcast 18 °C

They say the planning and getting ready is an important part of traveling. Deciding what comes with, and what stays put.
The feeling's stronger this time, for I don't know when, or if I'll be coming back.
I speak of a one year journey. To some I mention two years. But In my heart I know It will be longer than that... There won't be a life to "come back to". Rather, if I do decide to be in Mexico once more, it will be a different life. One built with the blocks I have in that moment.

What to leave, where to store it, who to trust with all my objectified memories? Will a box be enough? Two? Maybe a suitcase, full of suits. If I'm gone for one year it will be fine. But if I'm gone for four? For more?

We're at the final crunch, and I'm still not ready for this trip. I don't think I'll ever be.

Posted by Zaspirucho 06:16 Archived in Mexico Tagged before arrangements Comments (0)

The beginning

In 2011 I won a design competition, the prize: a trip to Milan. That was my first solo trip to another country.
Since then, two and a half years later, I've been to more than 20 countries, and have no plans for stopping any time soon.

Just this year I've been in the Caribbean, sailing with The Clipperton Project from Colombia to Dominican Republic; in Canada, "touring" the cherry orchards, and hitchhiking 2000km across the US. But now a bigger one approaches, so I'll start this blog to try and keep in touch, from time to time!


Here's the plan for the trip, more on it soon!

Posted by Zaspirucho 19:03 Archived in Mexico Tagged map beginning Comments (1)

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