I have put city life behind me.
Or, at least I’ve put megalopolis life behind me.
For all its culture and street life, Mexico City had become too loud and oppressive. The patterns had become too familiar. The bureaucracy too demanding.
And so I decided to pick up shop and move to the Yucatan Peninsula. The fact that I’d been dating a girl in Playa del Carmen for a few months and that other friends had recently moved to the area made the decision easier. It was hard to walk away from the life and friendships I’d built over my four years in Mexico City, but a change was needed.
I had decided to drive. It was 20 hours from Mexico City to Playa del Carmen, but after doing the math it seemed like driving with my dog and all my things would be cheaper than shipping my belongings and putting my canine friend on an airplane. Plus, I was convinced that the experience would not be a positive one for my pooch.
I’d had my wallet stolen a few months prior, but I was fairly confident I’d have my replacement license in time. That turned out to not be the case. Governmental bureaucracy was apparently not the lone property of the Mexican government, and Ontario Services (the provincial body that oversees driver’s licenses and the like) informed me that my license would not be ready in time to make the journey.
"...You just don't know how to *hold* the reservation."
So, after scouring the Internet for a cheap plane ticket, my girlfriend flew into Mexico City in order to drive me, my dog, and my possessions to Playa del Carmen. The next set-back came when we arrived at the rental office to find the car we reserved was no longer available. After more than an hour of haggling, arguing, and quite possibly bribing someone (I will never confirm nor deny!), we finally had ourselves a 12-seater passenger van. Whatever guilt I had toward the fact that my girlfriend would have to drive the whole twenty hours quickly vanished when I saw her 5-foot-nothing frame climb into the driver’s seat of the giant vehicle. Her face, barely able to see over the steering wheel, was a picture of stoicism and determination while I quietly giggled at the image and took discrete pictures on my phone
I loaded up the van that night and the next morning we were off. The journey provided us with some of the most diverse views I’ve ever seen. We passed the city of Puebla, which two years previous was the epicenter of the terrible earthquake that shook buildings into the streets of Mexico City. We spent the night in a loud and sketchy city called Villahermosa that seemed overrun with bordellos and discount electronics stores. (That city made us so uneasy that, after a quick walk, we quickly retired to our hotel room and ordered cheap take out.) We saw mountain roads that looked like something out of Jurassic Park as we crossed Veracruz and descended toward the Atlantic ocean.
We began one day wearing hoodies and pants and when we eventually stopped for gas, we stepped out of the van into a wave of humidity. Even though we weren’t given the luxury of taking our time - Karla had to work Monday morning - the trip was a perfect example of the diverse and natural beauty that Mexico has to offer.
Present Day Update
It’s been just under a month since I put down roots in this odd beach town. It overflows with drunk tourists, bad electronic music, and humidity. But tucked back in the jungle where we live, removed from the noise and hustle of the main tourist drags, there’s a quiet beauty.
I’ve never been one for beaches. I prefer pants to shorts and shoes to sandals. I like a cool breeze more than the hot sun and, forced to choose, I’ll take angry punk rock over laid back reggae any day. But I’m enjoying stepping out of my comfort zone. We’ve already found glimpses of meaningful culture tucked into the less-traveled corridors of this town. I’m excited to find more.
Ty Trumbull, from his base in Mexico, covers the entrepreneur’s journey, M&A and business continuity for ChannelE2E. On the occasional Tuesday or so, he offers views about his adopted hometown — his personal Dispatches from Mexico City. Oh, but sometimes he pops up in his home nation of Canada.