After 12 months of travelling with Remote Year it was now the final month. The culmination of a year of jumping around the world and I couldn’t have asked for a better place to finish up.
There are a few important things to know about Mexico City…
- Tacos rule for several reasons. They are cheap, they are tasty, they are life (and best at The Flying Cat taco stand in Roma Norte)
- Tequila is not the way to go in Mexico. Mezcal is the drink of choice (Fun Fact: Tequila is a type of Mezcal and I know a special way of really tasting it)
- The city is actually built on swamp so if it feels like your building is shaking when a heavy truck lumbers past…that is because it is!
- Mexican food is amazing and not always folded
- You MUST go and see a Lucha Libre, Mexican wrestling show. More on that in another post…
I had a blast in this HUGE city, with so much to see and experience, farewells to be had and organising what was going to happen at the end of this structured travel program, there was a lot to get on top of!
From the video in this post, you will see us all having a good time and life would seem to have been a lot of fun, which it was, but it was also a very weird month. Everyone was talking about what they were going to do after our little travel bubble burst and we all were to head our separate ways. Don’t get me wrong, we DID have an awesome time but for me there was a foreboding undercurrent of impending separation.
Some of this separation was probably welcome for some, as it is impossible to be best friends with everyone in a group of 50 people, but there were a few things that really smacked me in the face.
It was weird to come to terms with this being the end of the road with Remote Year. The 12 months was almost long enough to create the illusion that it may just never end…
It was strange to think that I would no longer have two awesome people, our program leaders, Michelle and Chrissy, making sure that all our travel needs were sorted. No more safety net. It is amazing how we can easily become used to having a “blankie”. For my last 12 months this “blankie” came in the form of a Chicagoan Champion, Chrissy and a Lancaster Las, Michelle. Legends of the game. Much love always!
I also found that throughout the month people were discussing the concept of time and how we felt that time had flown but also ground on at certain points. Days would be long, but weeks would fly, months would disappear and the year, well, blink and you would have missed it.
Something that I think many were fearful of was just stepping back into their old life and everything would seem like a dream. I am still travelling now throughout the USA so have delayed that feeling for the moment, but already my adventures on Remote Year do seem to be a weird real dream. They happened, but did they? Who were those people? Wasn’t I meant to find myself over these last twelve months? Why don’t I have all the answers?
In between the catch-ups, farewells and exploring the city I did think a few times that a particular moment could be the last meaningful time I would spend with someone or I would look around at a group event and wonder how or why I hadn’t got to know certain people better.
I think that throughout the entire year I had a feeling that no matter what happened I would have time…tomorrow, next week, next month…to get what I was here to get out of this experience. But I wondered if at any time before or during the year of travel if I could ever really define exactly what that was?…after a lot of thinking about this, the simple answer to that is…no.
When I was staring down the barrel of the end of the year of travel, I realised that that “time”, that epiphany, that lighting bold of understanding would never come, and it got me questioning things. I found myself looking back and felt that I should have gotten more from the year. That having “gotten more” is what would have alleviated this feeling. More close friends, more trips to more exotic places, more memorable evenings, more, more, more. It felt like I was longing for another experience that I had missed, but was unable to define in any significant way.
A long time ago I heard a quote that really stuck with me.
“Comparison is the death of joy”
I have been thinking about comparison lately. It is not uncommon to have expectations and then be upset when they are not met. What is dangerous, and also not that uncommon, is when we are dissatisfied but cannot really define what that mental image, what that expectation actually was. The idea of comparing your lived experiences with an abstract expectation is ludicrous but we do it all the time, often without realising it. You know you are doing this when you hear yourself say “it should be different” or “it wasn’t meant to be like this” but have no idea what “different” or “this” actually look like.
I think that before the year started I felt by the end of the 12 months, I would have figured “it” out, without knowing what “it” was. It is like trying to answer a maths question without knowing what the equation is.
Maths teacher: “Solve this equation”
Student: “What is the question”
Maths teacher: “It’s on the board”
Student: “There is nothing on the board”
Maths teacher: “But what is the answer”
Student: “I am not sure, maybe 27”
Maths teacher: “Wrong!!”
Over the past few weeks I have begun to wrestle this unease of sorts to the ground and started to realise that in the end, the year was what it was, no more, no less, it just was my experience and that’s it, and that’s awesome. I am continuing to try and apply this philosophy to the rest of my life because I think that in the end, this will lead to true contentment. I don’t know what the “maths question” was or is, but I feel the answer was, and will be, the experience I had. If that makes sense.
This is not to say that we should not try and make things better or be clear on what we want to achieve, I guess it is mostly about being at peace with what your experience was, being at peace with your past.
No special reflective stuff in this post, I feel I have written a pretty reflective post right the way through in the end! Hope you enjoyed the intensity (the next one is not this deep!).
Up next, how Mexican wrestling changed my life!
As always, take what you will from this post and see you next time!