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An Honest Look Back

Remembering what we've learned...

Ok, so I know we have totally jumped around in our blogs, and the last time that I wrote, we were going to live in Troncones. However, life was a lot busier down there than people might have thought. All of the things that we needed to do to survive / start out in Mexico consumed us to point that we had no time to write a blog. Sounds ridiculous, but it’s true…so I’m going to write honestly and openly about it all now.

Despite what people thought back home, Nick and I worked almost every day trying to get our lives together in Mexico; whether it was designing / marketing on the computer, setting up our house, cleaning, working on ourselves, or driving on our little moto for 35 into town, we were constantly moving forward. Yet, besides all of the work and sometimes minimal play, our life in Troncones was the most rewarding experience I could have ever imagined: it was hard at times, and beautiful at times. Things weren’t always easy, but they were real and I needed a big dose of that.

After life finally started to seem peaceful in our little home, and were starting to fall into place, Nick received a job offer back in San Luis Obispo, CA. We were shocked, scared, and overwhelmed once we heard the news. But unfortunately, life is about money and sustaining yourself, which had become so hard while in Mexico, so it was only obvious what we should do; our economic future seemed dim, so we proceeded to make the change. Our family was ecstatic, but I was feeling sick inside. How did this happen? How were we about to leave the place that we’d grown to love so much. Why couldn’t we make this work?

My family luckily visited us before we left, so they could see what we were leaving. It was both exciting and sad to show them around our town one last time. Leading up to the day that we were about to leave, I was filled with anxiety and sadness. I cried uncontrollably, and for the first time in 5 years, I saw my husband cry too. As we left our home and all of the amazing people in our town, we almost immediately felt regret for what we were about to do.

This remaining part of this blog is different from all of the others, because it’s a reflection on the lessons in life that we have learned from our journey. It’s a huge piece of what I want to bring back to Cali, so that our family and friends can understand us, the Mexican culture, what we miss, what we love, and what we want in life. It seems that few really understand why we liked it there, and as a result has left us feeling a bit isolated. This is a chance for me to speak about the truths of we have come to realize about ourselves.

When I talk about life being real there, people in California think that I’m crazy. They say “that’s not reality…sleeping in hammocks, surfing all day, living in harsh conditions…there is no sense of structure or future”. But what I want to say, and what they don’t know, is that it was way more of a reality to me than life has ever been in California. The fake images, the unnecessary stuff we accumulate, the big houses we need, the money, the fancy job…that’s all a reality to some people but to other cultures and to me now, it all seems so pointless. I think life is about experience, love, community, and spirit, yet somehow that gets lost in the hustle and bustle of our society.

I’m going to be honest; I grew up in orange county and LA, some of the biggest places that embody this mentality. I was right there with all of it, and I wanted it too. Yet somehow none of it made me happy…none of it. I haven’t been truly happy throughout the entire duration of my life here. None of it has ever felt like me, and none of it has ever fit my personality. Maybe that’s why I haven’t had many friends, maybe that’s why I’ve lived with depression for years, and maybe that’s why it’s hard for people to understand me. I don’t know.

But somehow, when I traveled through Mexico, and when we lived in our simple little house in Troncones, I felt like it was the first time that I could focus on what really mattered. I could see myself stripped away from all of the bullshit, and I finally felt free! My relationship with Nick reached new levels, as there were no distractions. My relationship with myself had finally begun, and I was just starting to learn who I really was. Life was admittedly hard there, but in a different way. You worked hard, lived minimally, struggled from lack of convenience, encountered scary wildlife, and were exposed to some of the abuses to nature that people are capable of. However in the end, it took the numbness out of life, and made the world a heck of a lot more meaningful. It took us out of the little bubbles that we had been living in for so long, and forced us to think as collective with nature and with our surroundings.

Another piece of reality that was so remarkable, was the warmth and kindness from the people that we met. Throughout our entire journey, we never encountered anyone who treated us unkindly or who disrespected us. On the contrary, we got to know some of the nicest, most respectful people; all of whom would give you the shirt off their back if they could. It was the first time that I truly understood the word “community”, and it was the first time that I felt like I truly belonged somewhere. Nick and I stuck out like a sore thumb, but that didn’t have any effect on anyone. People saw you as a person, and not for what you did in life or what you owned, but for who you really were. This is probably the biggest aspect that I miss about Mexico…well, actually that’s not true…

The biggest thing that I miss, as I had mentioned it before, was the bond and closeness between Nick and I; now that we are back it’s still there, but somehow grew fainter. Most of our days consist of going off to work and isolation from each-other for the entire day, which leaves the remainder of our drained spirits for one another at night. What was once so acceptable and the norm to us a year ago, is now a hard thing to accept about our relationship dynamic. A year ago we both worked our asses off, droned through our lives at home, and drank our weekends away from all of the stress. The numbness had it’s hold on both of us, and now I can see it is sliding back into our lives.

This is another piece that no one understands, as it is the way of life here: our society tells us to create another life for yourself from your partner so there’s no dependency. But I will admit one thing: I felt the same way. I was reluctant to rely on my relationships for support, or for anything in that matter, until Nick and I began to travel together, work together, share our days together, and share our experiences together. It’s amazing how much you can grow with someone when you have that closeness and that strong connection. I find myself longing for those days again already, and find it frustrating to be back in the crazy cycle. But for now, all we can do is just try to work through it; all we can do is try to adapt to our lives here again.

There are many great things about this place: family, jobs, school, etc, so we must try to make the best of it. Nick is also going to learn a lot at his job, while I am going back to school to get my degree; both of which would be very hard to accomplish in Troncones. Our hearts and souls will never forget the major way that Mexico has made us grow; hopefully our time spent here will make us grow as well, and will allow us to return again in the future.

You can’t shake the need for traveling from the Testratxpats; it will always be there. Life is too short and the world is too beautiful to stay in the same place forever.

But for now, enjoy some of our pictures from the last couple of months in Mexico! Until our next adventure – Christi Downs (and Nick Downs)

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