I recently had the best trip to Mexico. To say that I was ready for a vacation was an understatement. It’s possible that my lifestyle appears to include a lot of relaxation based on the way I compose my media, but in reality, I’ve been working most days of the week doing overtime for years. I do live in Los Angeles which is more vacation-esque than a lot of towns so it could be worse. And yeah, I have reason to visit my family members in Palm Springs regularly so that’s vacation-y as well. But I haven’t both left the country and my computer behind since I was in college. (Yikes.)
There are a lot of reasons why this is the case, which I won’t get into now. What I will say is that for the past few years I spent a lot of time working multiple jobs, completely changing my lifestyle, grieving a couple of deaths, and sort of grounding myself in calm solo-ness. And by grounding I mean I both put myself on probation and also that I learned go slow and deep and reconnect with parts of myself I hadn’t seen in a while. Six months ago, after spending a very long time being quiet and alone, I added on another job and met a new guy. Those of course brought in a lot of good and further thawed me out a bit. But I didn’t get any less busy.
Then, this month, one of my old friends had a destination wedding in Mexico, giving me a reason to take a break. The closer I got to the date of departure the more I realized how much I needed it. I reached peak exhaustion. I got up at 3 AM to work extra hours to prepare for the time off. I took a 9 AM de-stress bath and stared at the wall. I forgot normal things. I cried for no reason. I experienced the sort of meltdown version of myself that I try to keep under wraps but then accidentally showed the guy I’m dating right before we left on our first trip together. That sort of thing.
Luckily all was good the second we got into trip mode. My exhaustion and moodiness vanished, to such an extreme that I ended up totally questioning the validity of feeling tired at all. We flew to Cancun and took a van to Playa Del Carmen…which served us van beers for $1.50 a pop. I still don’t really understand the legality of where it’s acceptable to drink in Mexico or not, but if I can book van beers with my rental I’m going to. Definitely. This was my first time in the Yucatan area, and also my first time in Mexico past the teen years. So it was a whole different type of trip from my last.
It took our van a minute to find our Airbnb, but that’s just because there are three different destinations with the exact same hotel name in Playa. I’m not sure the spot even has a numbered address, but I could tell you how to get their. Our Airbnb host, a lovely Italian, was more than happy to hop on the phone with our shuttle driver to point him in the right direction. “That guy is an Argentine isn’t he.” Said the driver after hanging up.
When I had booked the Airbnb in Mexico, I of course was just going off of photos and reviews. The only other Airbnb I’ve ever booked belongs to my uncles, which was a sure bet. I just assume they all are. This spot popped up and looked good at first glance. The price also looked good at $45 a night, so I booked without thinking much about it. This could have gone a lot of ways. The way it went, was that it was even more beautiful and wonderful than I was expecting! Like way beyond exceeded my expectations. It was quiet, and safe, and adorable. Also…two out of the four stories were outdoor living spaces. See the following one minute video of me climbing to the roof. It was AWESOME.
(IDK why YouTube decided that the cat should be the main image but I went with it.)
With only a few days on the trip, we most definitely did not get to everything that we wanted to do. But we made it Tulum where we drank beers on swings in the sand. We took film photos. We ate out a lot and had lots of amazing fresh fish and guacamole. We did some local shopping, local exploring, meeting of the local drug dealers. “They profile me the same way the cops do in the U.S,” says my guy as a dealer named Spider dips back into the wall from where he quietly emerged. We rode bikes to the beach, rode bikes to a mini-mart in the middle of the night, and laughed our butts off on the roof of our apartment. The clouds in Playa Del Carmen were so close I alleged that I could hook a kite onto them from where we lay. We felt comfortable. Lost track of time. “Omg it’s four AM” I’d say before AJ reminded me that it was three hours earlier in the U.S. I’m not sure that mattered since we’d still wake at 8, but it did bring me back to the moment.
We also went to my friend’s wedding, which was really just one of the best I’ve been to. The small group fit on a couple sprinter vans so we all traveled to and from the location together. The wedding was at an estate in Cancun right next to the beach. The ceremony was happy and funny and fast. We ate chicken, we danced around the pool, we drank a lot. I caught up with my former roommate on the dancefloor and spent the majority of the night barefoot. All the things you want it to be.
In retrospect, traveling home the day after the wedding might not have been the best idea, because at that point, I at least, was a bit in pain. I hadn’t been drunk since October 2017 and I definitely put back a hearty dose of margaritas and wine at the wedding. Adding to that, our flight home was about two hours longer than on the way there, for no reason except the airplane was slower. Something to keep in mind when deciding between airlines next time. Ahem. I also managed to get 1,000 mosquito bites, a few blisters, a terrible face sunburn, and had shitty allergies the whole time. None of this bothered me in the midst of all the fun, but sitting on a stuffy plane with no TV’s scratching my swollen feet and blowing my nose was not really the highlight of the trip.
Upon return, I felt a mixture of emotions. For one, I had so much f**king fun on the trip that I immediately started questioning the way I am currently living my life. I felt no stress, no tiredness, no nothing but warm peace until I began the return trip. Why? Is it simply stepping away from my computer? The warm air? Taking off the unrealistic expectations and pressure that I am self-imposing all the time? Hot damn. This led to my thinking that we immediately needed to return, and perhaps even make Mexico a few times a year type of thing. Anything that fun seems like a good goal to have.
But in addition to my excitement about future travel possibilities, the week back in L.A. I got a return hit of that wall of exhaustion. It was also pouring down rain. For a few days I felt listless, mildly depressed, weepy. Yes, I cried again. Figured I’d just bookend the beautiful vacation with some totally unreasonable tears. Aye carumba. I’m going to blame this on exhaustion, intoxication, and vacation withdrawals. It felt real. And also very spoiled. Like I’m crying because I’m tired from eating chips at the beach with a guy who makes me smile all day. Let’s relax woman. I am at least aware enough to try and keep my perspective, but like anything wonderful, it also feels bad for a minute when it’s over. It’s so strange to come and go.
A few days later I started to catch up on sleep and calmed down considerably. I very quickly started looking into flights for booking a return trip with more people and more on the agenda. Next time we are hitting the ruins and lots of cenotes. I’ll keep you updated.
Things to know about Mexico:
-Buses sometimes just don’t arrive
-People don’t always work on Sundays
-If one Farmacia won’t sell you a prescription just go to the one next door and they will
-Similarly, if one money exchange spots requires your passport and you don’t have it, just go to the one next door and they won’t require it
-If you went as a teen, go back as an adult. It will be different.