One would think a month living in the Winnie parked down on the farm in Texas would be enough time to get the blog caught up. But there were farm chores to do, families to visit, projects to complete, and adventures to experience.
I hauled off and burned enough tree trunks and limbs to warrant notifying the fire department beforehand. I reconciled a few storage sheds and helped my brother Don install some 8’ X 12’ sliding doors on the equipment shed. I got both my passport and my tetanus shot renewed for another ten years. And got my Mom’s dog Annie vaccinated. I filed my income taxes, and had both vehicles inspected as required in Texas for registration.
There were some fun times too, with dinners out with family, a night at the opera to see Madame Butterfly, a trip to the Dallas Museum of Art, and a night at Cirque du Soleil with my dearest niece Hannah. Then there was the annual cousin get-together, trying to keep up with my thirsty cousins which led to a wicked hangover the next day.
Starbucks…in Guanajuato, Mexico. Yes, I made the mother of all U-turns. After a month in Texas, I am back in Mexico. My reason for returning was three-fold:
Reason #1, I have all but given up on my planned itinerary for this summer. For the past year, I have had in the back of my mind that I would like to go east this year, all the way up to the Canadian Maritimes. I had planned to dip down into Florida for the winter, then hug the east coast all the way to Maine, crossing into Canada for the majority of summer, touring Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador. But shortly after I had ordered the guidebooks and maps, in commemoration for their 150th anniversary, Canada announced a National Parks “free pass” to the world just for the asking. It’s one thing to go into a crowd unknowingly like I did last summer in the Pacific Northwest. It’s another thing to head straight into a place where the entire world has just been invited. Add to that the backlash of our own travel ban which has reportedly diverted some international travel north of the border instead, and I came to the conclusion…This isn’t the year to visit Canada.
And along that same vein leads me to Reason #2. I try to keep politics from infiltrating my life, but in short, “Trumpy makes me grumpy!” I found myself sizing up every person I encountered. “Did they vote for him??” Teeshirts lined up on treadmills at the local gym with #MAGA slogans and 2nd amendment ads were making me feel judgmental and jumpy. As someone who spent a lifetime career of circling the globe, I don’t want to live in a walled country.
And finally, Reason #3. I have a dear friend who lives in Guanajuato. She is traveling for a couple of months, leaving her beautiful hillside home empty. Guanajuato is known for its excellent language schools. It’s also a city without many English speakers. What better opportunity to immerse myself in a long time goal of learning to speak Spanish.
How long will I stay? The Magic 8 Ball says, “the answer is hazy.” Best I can guess is I will stay until my friend returns and wants her house back, or until I begin to feel the lure of the road again…whichever comes first.
I’m not sure where this leaves a blog with a name like “Take to the Highway.” I’ve already lost half my followers when I crossed the border. But I maintain that I write the blog so I won’t forget. And living outside the USA has been something I’ve fantasized about since I was in college, so I don’t want to forget a minute. I plan to share a little of the daily life, the culture, and the trials and tribulations of navigating life in an unfamiliar country and a different culture for longer than the time it takes to read through a few pages of the Lonely Planet Guide. If that sort of thing interests you, I hope you’ll stick around…