There are as many routes as there are people to take them. Looking back on our time in Mexico I easily become distracted by the places we did not visit. The renowned ruins of Palenque and Chichen Itza currently loom large in my mind. The state of Yucatan, the Maya Riviera, Veracruz, most of the Oaxacan coast remain untouched by our tires.
I can’t help but wonder if we made the most of our time, a quixotic endeavor if ever there was one, for possibilities are endless while our time is not. I found that the longer we traveled in Mexico, the broader the net of possibilities grew and along with it the feeling of deficiency; a deficiency of time, a deficiency of effort, a deficiency of planning, a deficiency of knowledge. A subconscious fantasy emerged in which somehow all good things were discovered and all disappointments avoided. Against this hidden ideal, hidden because when revealed it is clearly absurd, my own real and actual experience was weighed. My own real and actual experience that was full of wrong turns and potholes and waiting and ignorance and fear and indigestion, but also of markets and museums, generosity, learning, hammocks, sunsets, and ceviche.
More accurately, perhaps, my experience, like everyone else’s, is full of particulars rather than generalities. For when I say generosity, I have in my mind Antonio who helped me hunt down a rotor magnet in Cuitlahuac, and Carlos who drove me to Mulege to find a mechanic, and the guy in Chiapas who waved me to the side of the road just to give me his phone number and tell me to contact him if I needed anything and many others as well, and when I say hammock, I have in my mind a particular hammock on the beach in Puerto Escondido which was netted and frayed and smelled of the amalgamated funk of countless travelers, but was nonetheless a relaxing place to read a book and so on and so forth.
When I take time to reflect on the particulars, even the ones that were not particularly pleasant, like the flat tire near Puebla, the shadow of the generalized ideal begins to fade. What I have is nothing except mine, a thoroughly unique line drawn through time and space. Within that line there is neither too much nor too little ceviche, but exactly as much as could fit.
Today we bid farewell to Mexico. Or rather, we say ‘nos vemos,’ ’see you again.’ For already I imagine our return trip. A return to Baja and her roughness, Nayarit and her quiet beaches, Guadalajara and her restaurants, Oaxaca and her mountains, Chiapas and her people, and further to the treasures we have not discovered ourselves. Thoughts of the future bring to me ancient Palenque, Chichen Itza, and the warm Caribbean Sea. We are propelled onward with these thoughts. We are not large enough ourselves to take in everything this world has to offer. The quest will continue forever, and always there will be new and beautiful experiences waiting for us just beyond.