The flights are booked, the Mariachi music is playing and we’ve splashed out on an (absolutely authentic) Old El Paso fajita kit to celebrate: we’re going to Mexico! We’ll be living there for six whole months, from April until October. Details beyond the flights are still a bit fuzzy, but the general plan is to a) eat as much Mexican food as possible, b) swoon over all of the Mexican-y things, and c) not embarrass myself too much with my dreadful Spanish skills. I’d love to say that tourist stuff is on the agenda too, but we have so much work planned I’m not sure how much time there’ll be for trips. I think a mini-life in Mexico is adventure enough though, don’t you?
I’m excited about this trip for so many reasons. For one thing, we’ve never travelled to this part of the world before. Latin America is going to be a whole new experience for us and I desperately want to love it so that we can start exploring some other countries in that region.
I guess Mexico is my canary down the Latin American mine. I hope the feathery little bugger survives.
Unsurprisingly, however, we’ve already seen a few raised eyebrows about our choice of destination. I say ‘unsurprisingly’ because pretty much every time you hear about Mexico it’s because something awful has happened.
A woman we spoke to about a house sit in Ajijic told us that everyone she knew had been robbed at some point, including herself, and that two of her friends had been murdered during a home invasion the previous year. We declined the sit for other reasons, but that little nugget of information certainly didn’t help.
And then there’s the UK’s official travel advice. It starts with a cheery: “Crime and violence are serious problems in Mexico”, and goes on to outline bus hijackings, kidnappings and violent street crime.
I do understand why people are concerned.
You simply cannot live your life being scared of the world.
Before we travelled to Hanoi we had tons of people warning us about the dangers there. We heard about muggings at knife point, bags and phones being snatched, and gangs surrounding travellers on deserted streets. We arrived paranoid and nervous, and for the first week I clutched my bag close to me every time we set foot outside our guesthouse, eyed every friendly face suspiciously and was generally resigned to something bad happening. It didn’t. In 8 weeks we had zero issues.
We’re also pretty careful as a rule – we know not to flash cash around, we try to blend in where possible and to use common sense when exploring. And the areas we’re looking at are all in the south – far, far away from the drug cartel battles in the north.
I want to say that in 6 months time I’ll be telling you how safe Mexico is, but honestly, I can’t be sure. Sometimes safety is more down to luck (or bad luck) than judgment. But that applies to anywhere in the world.
I’m still excited. Everything just seems to be brighter over there, more colourful and in HD. It’s just what we need after all these grey weeks in the UK. I love being home, but Mexico is calling. I just want to breathe it all in, feel the warm air, try the food, meet the people, and enjoy all the small things that stand out when you visit somewhere new. And eat all of the tacos. Every. Last. One.