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The Holiday Before the Journey - Part 1

Updated: Dec 11, 2020

It’s hard to find that perfect vacation spot in Mexico. We’ve been trying, believe me. Last year we thought we’d found it in Melaque, but damn it…apparently everyone else found that pretty Mexican pueblo at the same time we did. No beachfront hotels for $45 available in Melaque this year. I told Aaron we shouldn’t tell everyone and their dog about our great time there! Bit us in the ass it did!

So, what are our options? I thought, perhaps an all-inclusive somewhere? Problem is…we’re both nastily susceptible to skin cancer so we can’t go anywhere that involves continual basking in the sun, which is what all-inclusives are about. Furthermore, we don’t drink enough to make the free alcohol worth it – I danced on my last table at least five years ago, and Aaron’s a lightweight. And lastly, I’m really, really, really trying to transition from ‘living to eat’ to ‘eating to live.’ Buffets don’t support this objective. So no, an all-inclusive didn’t land well.

Aaron’s easy to please - he wants nothing more than to have me by his side for 24-7 in a place that has no television. As for me, apart from totally looking forward to being with Aaron for 24-7 …and no, I’m not being facetious at all (well, maybe a little bit), I want three things: 1) to get away from work and the house; 2) to be a little decadent without breaking the bank; and 3) to start ‘backpacking,’ i.e. transition from holiday-ing to travelling. Because….we are going travelling! For most of 2020 (with a small break in April to see our kids, grandchild, and parents)!! But I digress…this blog isn’t about our next journey.

Aaron was good with all three goals though a bit nervous about the third. Vacations include car rentals as far as he’s concerned which is, from my perspective, as far away from backpacking as you can get. So no. We’re taking buses. And collectivo’s. And tuk-tuks if they have them.

And maybe…if a bus doesn’t come when we want it to, we might, just like I did back in 1986 to get around Europe, stick our thumbs out. I don’t know, but there ain’t gonna be any car rental.

Hitchhiking to Paris from Brugges in 1986

Next…I suggest hostels. Backpacking is about hostels and couchsurfing, i.e. staying in strangers’ houses for the price of a bottle of wine and some company. I love hostels! Their lively environment, crowds of like-minded travellers, minimal cost. So many cool ones I remember from my trip in ’86 that I hope still exist but suspect don’t. Like the bomb shelter in Belgium whose surrounding cement walls made me feel like I was in…well, a bomb shelter. The tangerine villa I woke up each morning in Florence to gaze from my bunk out our dormitory’s massive arched windows to the blue sea. And I can’t forget the circus tent in Munich that I along with all my new drunken friends, crashed in each night after Octoberfest, or the magical castle with its towering turrets in Bacharach, Germany. Or like the old ship I slept anxiously in that very first night I landed in Europe, a relic whose insides had been torn out and bunks crowded in.

But no, neither hostels or couchsurfing offers much privacy, which my Aaron so appreciates. I’m gonna have to bring him along slowly on that one. Holidays for both of us are about beachfront hotels with pools. I’m not sure if we can start the transition from beachfront hotels to hostels on this holiday. Is there a compromise between the two? Last trip we Air B&B’d it and, as I think about it, I think that a $60 Air B&B is that compromise. Typically nicer than a hostel, but not as nice as a beachfront hotel, an Air B&B will give us as much privacy as we ask for.

Aaron’s research finds us an Air B&B in Cancun with a pool on a lagoon and across the street from the ocean. A great compromise between a hostel and a fancy hotel it seems. Our destination is confirmed. We book three nights there. In accordance with our plan to transition to backpacking, however, we’ll make the rest of the holiday up as we go.

Next stop...

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