About a year ago I downloaded an ebook titled ‘Don’t Go There. It’s Not Safe. You’ll Die’. This book’s title amazingly encapsulates the sentement of many of the reactions or questions I get from people I talk to about this upcoming trip. As the trip is two and a half years away I do have my nervous or doubtful moments.
The way in which people express their concern to me really does depend on our releationship. My father has the ability to be amazingly blunt and has expressed his concern for the idea of crossing into Mexico and the danger of the Cartels. The irony that my father has walked across this border isn’t quite lost on me but those were safer times, wern’t they? More recently my students found out that I would be traveling to this area of the world. Beyond their very touching anger that I would not be at their commencement ceremony they also wanted to know what would happen if I was kidnaped or left for dead in some ditch. My nonchalant response that I would deal with that when if it happened did not sit well with them.
The other question I get often is “Who are you going with?”. This question has been with me for as long as I have been traveling. My first real overseas trips were either done with friends and family but more recently I have done quite a lot on my own. In the beginning I spent quite a lot of time trying to convince people to come with me but for a variety of reasons (family, availability of time, not interested in that location or that method of travel) no one would come. I realized that if I waited to find company then I may never go where I want to at all.
I will say that I do have my fears. Gangs and drug smuggling, petty crime, robberies and vandalism, corrupt police and government officials are all things I should prepare for but my biggest fear isn’t any of those. I can be / am an introvert. My biggest fear is that I will travel all of this way but not make the most of it. Traveling through countries where you don’t know anyone can be quite isolating and not knowing the language does make things worse. After trips in the past, a month has been just enough and I have looked forward to friends, family and home. I worry that after a few months I will lock onto the end goal and miss the stuff inbetween in a rush to go home.
In the end I will just have to go and find out. Then again my answer to the question of company is …. You are welcome to come if you like, only you will need your own vehicle.