Learnings From My Journeys Around The World
An update on my travels in Mexico:
I have been in Matalan, Mexico for the past 2.5 weeks, and absolutely love the people here.
Arriving at the airport in Matalan after a full day of 3 flights from the Dominican Republic to Los Angeles, a sleepover in a hotel in L.A. for the last leg of the trip to Matalan, the next morning. I was super happy to have a guardian angel observe a taxi driver harassing me to hire him taking me with him. He helped me to find a nice, yet inexpensive hotel, and then drove me and my rather heavy suitcase and backpack over there because hotels in this city do not provide free transport and I didn’t have any Mexican Pesos yet.
But, before the hotel situation was taken care of, my angel had me go with him with his uncle driving the van, another American whom they adopted into their family 20+ years ago — a self-described hippie who never trusted the government, his cousin, and his girlfriend. Apparently, my new friend moved up to Seattle, Washington, to work as a software engineer. He has a US Passport now but grew up in the northern part of Mazatlan. He had come home to check in on his mother who is having some health difficulties and to be with his family for the week.
Not only did he help with the original hotel, but he also found me another hotel a few blocks from the first hotel, paid for my 1st weekend there because that was the only way he could reserve my room on Hotels.com. He told me he did this after he had paid for the room. The reason he did this was that the first hotel is filled every weekend with Mexicans who live inland wanting to vacation on the Pacific Ocean, the first hotel being across the street from the Ocean with a very wide pedestrian and bikeway built a couple of years ago when they renovated the entire Old Town section.
This same man has worked hard to help me find an apartment here, to no avail, but that was taken care of with a few calls from the maintenance man at the second hotel, which has suites with all the necessary cooking and eating utensils and equipment, a nice seating area, huge bed in the bedroom, and large bathroom. This wonderful man was able to get me one of the suites for $500/mo including everything even Wifi and it is all of 3 blocks from the Pacific Ocean and 5 blocks from the original hotel where there is a very inexpensive cafe where I usually get my food — well till the 15th when I know that I will be in the place long enough that it makes sense to invest in olive oil, condiments, basic cooking staples because I will be able to use them up.
However, because it took a while for all of the negotiations to take place for me to be able to live at the hotel, I had to find a place (or places to stay up North in the Gold Zone. There are many stores — really much more of a tourist area. One of the things that I needed to purchase was another pair of sandals the ones that I have been wearing for the past 3 years falling apart from wear. I was finally able to find some leather sandals in this area and a really nice leather handbag with a beautiful leather stamped floral design on the front. The purchase price for both was $57 USD — very inexpensive for the quality of each. I only had that room for a night, found by my Mazatlian angel because I couldn’t find a place for this weekend — everything was booked and I don’t know the areas well enough to choose something that is safe. So, he found the first place. The second place he found was already fully booked so I needed to find another place — which I did with a woman who has a house a few miles from the hotel I was staying at. We get along really well.
It was an interesting situation in that her downstairs apartment was already booked for the weekend, however, she had a second room with a brand new bed and porch that I could stay in sharing the kitchen and bathroom that she uses. Well, it’s been a very interesting day getting to know one another — she is 19 years older than me, however, we have much in common so it has worked out well. The beach is 5 blocks away from her home and we will be going there tomorrow where I will be meeting one of her friends who has studied hypnosis. I am not sure how long she has been involved in it — however, it will be great to meet another hypnotist.
When one travels, one needs to be open to moment-to-moment experiences. Some are easier and more fun than others. However, it is when one is able to be resourceful enough to overcome any challenge that one learns how flexible and capable one is — in addition to being able to fit into a culture much different than one’s own.
Sometimes, I have to marvel at all the cool people I have met in the various cultures that I have been able to be a part of — to live in — because though many dreams of doing such a thing, most find all the reasons, rationalizations, and excuses to never be able to do so. I do realize that some have responsibilities as I had dealing with my mom and her issues for many years feel obligated to stay close to the family that may need their assistance.
To be honest it felt great to finally have my freedom when she passed away knowing that there were no longer any family obligations. I have found my travels both across the US and across the globe to be of much more value than many other endeavors.
The fact that I did my 2nd Masters degree at the University of Haifa’s International School brought an interesting and diverse learning environment living and learning with students — most 20–28 years younger than me from Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia (China & India), a couple from Western Europe and a few others from the US — with Palestinian Muslims in my major and Christian Palestinians living in the dorms added greatly to the larger educational dynamic, just in time for COVID to strike as it did in the 2nd semester of my 1st year there.
I have to say that more Americans need to get out of their neighborhoods and see the country. More importantly, to get out of the country altogether to see the world and get a much different view of both their country of origin — through the eyes of the foreign media and people who live in the other country, as well as to learn much more about themselves — what they are made of. This only happens if one is willing to live among the locals — sitting on the beach or near a pool, drinking margaritas is not going to do it.
For those who are willing to actually travel and be among the natives, one realizes that most people are desiring the same things from life. Of all the cultures that I have been in, the developing world had really kind and helpful people, willing to share whatever they had. They were happy and healthy people — much more than what one saw in the US even before the COVID calamity. After the 25 hours that I had to be in airports and airplanes flying across the US, it was obvious that most people were anxious, irritable, and sadly ignorant of the realities and practicalities regarding the situation at large. I really had no interest in traveling in the US, but it was the only way to get from the Dominican Republic to Mexico — anywhere in Mexico.
My suggestion for my fellow Americans is to turn off the news with all its fear-mongering. Do those things that bring pleasure and fulfillment to your life and by all means, be with those whom you love and who love you. Relationships have been proven by many academic studies to be very important to health and longevity. Here is one article:
Social relationships and physiological determinants of longevity across the human life span
There are many others on google scholar and of course in the academic journals that cover the subject.
So, interact with your fellow human beings — the ones who love you and those whom you love.