First Sunlight of 2019 ~ Mexico

 

A few months before the new year I decided I wanted to transition into 2019 with a trip to a place I hadn’t traveled to before. At 23 years old I am incredibly fortunate (blessed, lucky, all those words) to have traveled to 23 different countries. It’s a personal goal of mine to continue adding onto that number with every new year, never letting my age advance it.

After attempting to organize plans with a variety of friends from California, where to go and what to do changed from one idea to the next. Months passed, tickets went unbooked, and ambitions abroad transformed to lingering locally, a camping trip somewhere nearby the family homes we’d already be nestled at for Christmas (always an incredible time). But then I remembered my original intention, a simple one: Go to a new place. California naturally didn’t fit that description, so I booked a flight to Mexico, a country I’d been meaning to visit for quite a while, to spend a week in Playa Del Carmen and Tulum, Quintana Roo. It was an intended solo adventure with the confidence of three prior months spent traveling on my own throughout Asia a few years back. And then a dear friend of mine in New York hopped on to the itinerary, a delightful celebration for two.

I would recount each day we spent, 3 in Playa Del Carmen and 4 in Tulum, but alas, photos speak louder than words. Aside from the outstanding beaches and life-changing tacos at El Fagon, the friends we met along the way were perhaps the most rewarding treasures we found. That and delightful feeling of flirting with the freedoms of forgetting what day it is, disregarding what hour we woke or slept.

From Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, London, San Francisco, Wisconsin, Australia, Amsterdam, Wales, Canada, France — friendship is boundless behind the doors of hostels and unlikely destinations. I will never doubt the magic of traveling friendship, the instantaneous connection we form with each other at the cheers of a glass or a splash in the water amidst settings we’re all unfamiliar with. Rejoicing in company and cultivated enthusiasm for the spaces that exist outside of our usual homes reminds me of what might truly matter to my head and my heart, wealth though experience as opposed to eminence.

 

A Day in PDC

Feeling my body want to give out, call it a day, crying for rest as my feet strike the ground pacing towards the ocean. Knowing at some point today, perhaps quite soon, we’ll all have to rest and say goodnight while the sun is high in the sky. Knowing that the sun rises everywhere each day but feeling an obligation to witness it here, as the hour emerges into a new year and people flood from the crowded clubs to the open horizon. Bodies that were dancing begin drawing signs in the sand, sitting close to one another to witness an ordinary thing like a sunrise become an extraordinary moment like that time we watched it together. Believing there’s something telling, crucial to us and the way we live, about the way the light draws open the day, dim and dark to orange and blue, the hushes and whispers and laughs between us as natural and intended as the waves that cascade in and out like open arms, drawing us closer to the water, the sand between us dwindling in size, drawing us closer to each other. Thinking about how these things happen whether we’re here for them or not, all the beauty in the world and what it can mean. Hoping we never choose to miss it, hoping we never forget how to see, stay up all night, or stride towards the rising sun.

A Day in Tulum

Rising with a dear friend to warm sunshine and humid air, slightly tired after a night out in Tulum spent dancing in the streets and sipping drinks with a group of strangers from London. Sleep here hasn't been a priority, instead the number of people and places you can see without it.⠀
Stopping for coffee on the way to pick up a friend we met in Playa Del Carmen a couple days before, with two brief but pleasant conversations, going off the general settlement that good people can be recognized in a matter of minutes.⠀
Two becomes six - us, the intended friend originally from Wisconsin, and his three new friends from Australia, shuffled quite comfortably into our rental car. Pressing "shuffle" with a playful anxiety that Australians might not enjoy the same music as I do. Smiling at the resolve of "I love this song".⠀
Driving to the cenotes around the area, underwater caves fit for swimming and snorkeling. Gasping and exclaiming at the color of the water, blue as azure. Hopping in, swimming around until an influx of other travelers jump in the water too. Deciding to head back to town for lunch.⠀
Six plates of food - fajitas, tacos, salads. Six drinks - margaritas, beers. Six people from different places telling different stories, talking about similar things. Feeling as though I could sit here for the rest of my life, perhaps different tables with different people but the same feeling. Closeness from nothing. Care for people unknown hours before. Love for this moment, regardless if another one like it ever occurs.