Yes, I have already traveled a lot and am currently living in a foreign country, but in some ways, I still feel like I have not really traveled. Most of my traveling has been in large groups for ministry. I, of course, enjoyed the ministry and that was my main purpose for those trips, but there is also something special about traveling somewhere and doing exactly what you want to just so that you can experience it. Traveling should really be a freedom to just soak everything in. I have not done much of that yet. The other week I was thinking again about the fact that I had not been a night away from Guadalajara yet and I have been here almost a year. I have been enjoying my time in Guadalajara and seeing things around the city, but I also know there is much more to see in the surrounding towns and states. Why have I not been to those places yet? Well, for a few reasons. I had not been able to find anyone to travel with me and it seems scary and kind of boring to travel alone. Not to mention how stressful it is to figure out travel details and how expensive it can be. Honestly, I am a little jealous of the married couples who have a guaranteed traveling companion and can plan together. My mom came to visit me this past week. For part of her time here, we took a two day trip to Guanajuato City in Guanajuato, Mexico. I might not have planned the trip at all if it had not started out as tagging along on someone else’s trip. They suggested I go with them, but because they were also being hosted, I was not going to be able to stay with them and then later realized that it was not practical to travel with them. So there I was, nudged into planning a trip for myself and I am so glad I did. I had never stayed at a hostel or taken a long distance bus or planned a trip without loved ones waiting on the other end to offer their hospitality. But I am grateful that I have been pushed into gaining that confidence.
Mom and I had a lovely time. We explored, took pictures, ate some great meals, and listened to wonderful music. We stayed at a hostel in a good location where we could easily walk to everything of interest in the little city.
The highlight of the Guanajuato trip was the Bard Tour in the evening. A group of singing minstrels led us all through the lovely back alleys of Guanajuato, telling legends and sharing lots of songs. I am so glad Mom got to listen to some well-done authentic Mexican music (we also got a little bit of Mariachi and Banda in restaurants). The bus back was surprisingly pleasant and we got a great view of the country between here and there. It was also nice to spend the rest of the week showing Mom more of my daily life. We went to my church, the market, my salsa dancing venue on the street, and also just walked around the neighborhood. I really liked the balance of being able to do something totally new for both of us and also to show her what my “normal” is right now.
Next weekend, I will be taking a beach trip with my housemates and get to explore another new place with good friends. I have already booked the hotel and am trying to make plans from what I learned from my Guanajuato experience (it is possible to travel without a car, now let’s see if I can travel without a car and without eating out every meal). I cannot wait to travel some more!
Photo credits to Laura Barnwell