After my break-up, Cancún and The Island of Women were the logical next stops in my journey.
The day after the end of my relationship, I hopped on a plane from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Cancún to begin my month-long backpacking trip through Mexico that I had been planning for months. As you would imagine, I was by no means in the mood to travel… not yet at least. Luckily I had my spirits lifted by many other travelers along the way, but it all started with the two women that I met shortly after arriving back in Mexico.
Here are brief summaries of our interactions.
Immediately after touching down in Cancún, I hopped on a van to take me to the water taxi to Isla Mujeres. The moment I sat down in the last available seat on the van, I was greeted with a smile from a lovely woman also headed to the same destination. Her name was Wendy and she is a grandmother from Wisconsin. We talked the entire way to the island about life, traveling, relationships and of course… politics.
During my two day stay on the island, we coincidentally ran into each other twice at the same breakfast place. There we talked some more as she showed off pictures of her daughter, her son-in-law and grandchild, you know… grandma stuff.
Throughout our talks, we kept coming back to the same topic regarding how so many people on this planet have such an obscure view on the rest of the world and live in their own little personal bubbles or alternative realities.
In her spare time, Wendy enjoys drawing and bestowed upon me this masterpiece she created as a reminder for herself.
I am very grateful to have met her and to have run into her on several occasions on that crazy little island off the coast of Cancún.
Before arriving in Isla Mujeres, a friend from back in Puerto Escondido said to reach out to a friend of his that lived on the island. So I did and we met for coffee and a walk on the beach with the dog she was babysitting for a friend.
After talking with her for a short period of time, I learned some things about our mutual friend that I never would have known had we not met. Apparently this friend of ours convinced her to follow through with a yoga teacher training that proved to be a life changing experience for her.
I learned a very deep lesson in our exchange. That lesson is this:
My judgement of others has usually been rooted in my limited personal experience with them and doesn’t take into account all the other factors that have shaped their character. After all, what are we but a makeup of all that we’ve experienced throughout our lives? Being quick to judge someone based on our bounded knowledge of any person is not just ignorant, but lazy.
I’ll be sure to make a better effort to try and understand more and judge less.
Movie star and internet meme sensation, Nicholas Cage, once said:
Understanding is deeper than knowledge. There are many people who know you, but very few who understand you.
So Lee, thanks for helping me stumble upon that lesson, even if done inadvertently.
She and I would meet later on in my backpacking journey for a plant medicine ceremony on the beach in Tulum, but that story that will have to wait for my next post.
Sunset @ Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres
Even after a good start in Isla Mujeres, I still felt like I needed an extra boost to help get myself back in the right mental space to really enjoy myself.
Luckily for me, not too long ago I was informed of a brand new start-up company called “Happy the App“.
It has a similar business model as Uber where you can access on demand emotional support with a few taps of your smartphone. Several months ago, I was interviewed to be a part-time “Happy Giver”, got the job and am currently part of their beta testing while their launch date is slated for March 2017. Through this testing phase, all Happy Givers are encouraged to log in to give or receive “happy” in order to practice our skills in holding space for others going through tough times. Needless to say, I was in need of receiving some happy so I decided to call in a couple of times. On one of those calls, I was lucky enough to be connected with a woman named Nancy who stayed on the call with me for nearly two hours as I unpacked all my newfound emotional baggage that I’ve been carrying around the past few days.
There are times in our life where we get stuck in the gutter of our emotions and just need to talk it out with someone who is gifted in the art of listening, compassion, empathy and understanding that can ask us the questions necessary to assist us in drawing out the feelings blocking the flow of love from our hearts.
For anyone adverse to seeking a therapist to remove emotional blockages and feel that all they need is someone to listen, hear their story and offer compassion, I highly recommend giving “Happy” a try. My two hour vent session with Nancy more than helped me jump-start what would prove to be my most life-changing backpacking adventure to date.
As most of us know, Cancún is known for its beautiful beaches, wild nightlife and is synonymous with Spring Break. Due to recent circumstances, I still wasn’t exactly pumped to partake in any of the aforementioned activities.
Buuuuuut, when you are staying in a hostel full of interesting travelers from all corners of the Earth and a cute blonde Brazilian girl asks you if you’re going clubbing with the rest of the crew that night, well…..
How about that… I actually had a great time! Nothing like a night of clubbing at The City in Cancùn to shake things up a bit and give me a chance to let the beast out of its cage.
The next day, most of the hostel was in fairly bad shape primarily due to the copious amounts of rum and tequila imbibed the previous night. So we took it easy and stayed at the hostel bar for dinner.
Thanks to Nico, our Argentinian bartender at the Mezcal Hostel in Cancún, for helping us nurse ourselves back to life with the same poison from the night before.
That was also the night I met two lovely ladies from Germany that were on holiday and doing a bit of traveling in Quintana Roo and the Yucatán as well.
Mary & Nina
The girls next stop was Holbox and then Tulum while I was heading directly to Tulum. So we exchanged info and made plans to meet once they arrived.
Tulum is where my journey started to get really interesting, but that story will have to wait for my next post.
Thanks for following!