Travelling is a perfect way to experience as much as you can from life. Whether you go away for a week or a month, the simple fact of changing places, landscapes, weather and time zones is enough to broaden your horizon and give you moments you could never have lived at home.
Travelling abroad has the additional benefit of getting you to know a different land and way of living; sometimes, completely different. It may take just a border cross, an airport sign or a few words spoken in a foreign language, to feel that you have entered a completely different universe.
My first trip abroad was to Mexico and there’s a very interesting reason for that. After high school, I joined a program of volunteers who taught English to foreign workers, mainly Latin American. Through that experience, I learned about the amazing contribution of immigrants to the development of our city and our whole nation. I concluded that we can’t deny the multicultural structure of our country; furthermore, of our whole world.
I decided to learn Spanish, as a way to have a deeper understanding of one of our greater cultural influences; Latin American culture. At the end of my volunteering term, I enrolled myself in a Spanish summer course in Mexico City.
I choose that particular program, because it also included what they called “a cultural immersion”. Students get to take classes about Mexican History and Art, visit museums and there was also the option to share a flat with Mexican students who offered you a place and the chance to practice your Spanish, if you were willing to help them with their English. Of course I accepted!
I’ll never forget my first impression of Mexico City. I arrived at night, because the cheapest flight I found was scheduled at 8:00 pm. I shall mention that the low cost airline I choose provided a great service; the departure and the arrival were just on time and the flight went by with no incidents (you can find it by searching online “vuelos VivaAerobus”).
It was almost 10:00 pm when we start descending, and the view of the enormous city was like a huge maze of flaming stars. Mexico City became pitifully famous because of its pollution, a problem that sadly hasn’t been reverted. Travellers say that when you arrive by day time, you will see a huge, brown cloud over the city. At night, you can still get a glimpse of those toxic fumes, but the view of the lights is just astonishing.
My stay was marvellous and I can tell why people keep living in big cities such as that, despite all the problems that can be experienced. There’s always something interesting to do and some new place to discover. No matter how early in the morning or late at night, you will find a solution if you are hungry, thirsty, bored or just curious. You can meet all kinds of people and many of them will be simply kind and wonderful to you. My room mates were awesome and I’m glad to say that we still remain friends.
That first experience abroad taught me much more than Spanish. It showed me how amazing life can be when you just decide to go out and try new things.
There’s a question that I’ve heard so many times during my adult life. You may be thinking that it could be something about getting married or starting a family, but fortunately my acquaintances haven’t put me through that yet. Perhaps they finally understood that these are not the only options.
The question has to do with choice and stability. Modern societies may be getting that paternity and family life are not the only ways to reach maturity, but the idea of choosing just one path in life is still strong and determinant. You have to choose a profession; get a job and stick to it; find a place to live and “grow some roots” and start planning ahead, to secure your future. Change is related to lack of compromise, and if you keep going from one job, place or country to another, you are just not mature enough.
What I have to say is that it is a short, short life and if I can, I won’t spend going just in one way. I get committed, of course; I give the best of me with every project. But after finishing something, I just can’t tell why it’s impossible to get committed again, with something totally different.
“You only live once”, it’s often said. As far as I can tell, that’s totally true. But I’m also certain that, if you want, you can prove as many lifestyles as you want. Just try it!