Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bye bye Tequis and Having Second Thoughts

Just a couple more days packing things that will go to a warehouse in Oaxaca, then cleaning and loading the motor home now parked in front the house and Queenie and I will be on our way. I have checked the route to Oaxaca and was delighted to find out that I’ll avoid the city of Mexico, to my great relief. Apparently, it’s a toll road all the way to Oaxaca! A tad expensive but far more secure as I’ll be avoiding the congestion of the city. I’ll probably cruise to Puebla for a visit and an overnight, then on to Oaxaca.

This afternoon, at the sight of the RV, my Queenie just hopped in, made a beehive to her special co-pilot seat and would not budge. She was obviously happy at the prospect of wider horizons.

On a more sombre note, I have been horrified by the utter devastation and human suffering of biblical proportions following the earthquake in Haiti. These people have lost everything, parents, children, husband, wife, house, personal possessions, clothes, job, absolutely ALL! It surpasses anything I could ever imagine and my heart and prayers go out to the Haitian people. It certainly puts into a different perspective my relatively insignificant troubles, does it not?

It also brings into focus the risk of moving to an area that is subject to natural catastrophes. I had for a while thought of Colima, a city that is beautiful, filled with palm trees, and purported to be the cleanest city for hundreds of miles around. But it is awfully close to an active volcano. So I gave up the idea of courting this kind of risk. Now, I’m having second thoughts about settling down in Oaxaca where earthquakes have occurred before, in fact not so long ago. One registering 6.4 on the Richter scale on 12 February 2008! 

My daughter once asked me “…what in the world scared me”. Not much EXCEPT for natural forces. Most other dangers and risks can be avoided or prevented with a little forethought and intelligent care or prudence. But who can predict when a volcano will erupt or an earthquake crumble all that stands above it and even far beyond the fault line? Haiti’s tragedy is so graphic, it’s food for thought.

So, I’m having second thoughts. Going back for a while to the life of a vagabond. How things can change in the blink of an eye will forever astonish me. Besides, I’m too old to attempt to make all the mistakes on my own. Others’ experiences can teach just as well. . .

Saturday, January 9, 2010

On the Move

After living in Tequisquiapan for a little over four months, I have come to a decision—Tequis is not for me. It is a lovely town, with its colonial architecture, flowers everywhere, quaint paved roads and a view of the mountains from practically every part of town. But I cannot live without a library and the possibility of companionship with English or French speaking expats. Sure, I’m learning Spanish but to acquire the fluency I aspire to will need many more months, if not years, of study and practice. I get by for the necessities of every day life in Spanish, that’s it for now.

And there is the question of cold. Not the kind of cold associated with snow and the thermometer plunging below the freezing point for weeks on end, but cold nonetheless. Tequis sits at 5,600 feet of altitude. In the winter months of December, January and February, the days are mostly sunny but the night temperatures often zip down to the freezing mark or barely above. The cold that seems to permeate the stone walls reminds me of the south of France where I spent quite a few miserable weeks huddled under a ton of blankets, afraid to get up in a room that felt like a refrigerated warehouse. There is no central heating in either of these parts of the world. No insulation in the walls either.

The latitude for Tequis is 20º 58; for Oaxaca it is 16º 58, with an altitude a notch above 5,000 feet. AND the city has libraries, the main one with many English books. AND there are hundreds of expats living in Oaxaca. AND the city is renowned for its many artists and artisans. AND it has a university. AND it is renowned also for its culinary confections, its many festivals, its proximity to a great many archaeological sites. AND the state of Oaxaca boasts 500 kms of beaches and bays on the Pacific coast. And I could go on and on. . .

The strange thing is that for years now, when I thought of moving to Mexico, Oaxaca was always my first option. Lately, I found a site posted under that is chockfull of information about Mexico and even has a questionnaire to help determine where to retire based on one’s preferences. I wish I had discovered it before crossing the border. Now, guess what? After filling it, the place that popped up as to where I’d be most likely to find all that matters to me was … OAXACA!

So, Oaxaca here I come! By January end, I’ll have made it there in my motor home. I’ll be looking for a place to live and anxious to discover the area and tell all about it. I’m really excited about the move!

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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Time to Ponder – and CARPE DIEM


When one makes such a drastic change in one’s life as moving to a new country, abandoning a vagabond way of life for good, learning new customs, a new language, it requires at first much thought to ponder the necessity for such changes, then much energy to implement the transition, and finally much patience with oneself to acquire a certain ease with the new “just about everything”.

At first, it was akin to a honeymoon and like all honeymoons, it was followed by a reality check. All this I have met with either vigour, at times ease and even zest, seldom with any trepidation. The problem with being a vagabond for years, is that there is always a more enticing place; the road beckons and its lure never abates. Yet, however much the spirit may urge one to seek farther horizons, the body sometimes begs for rest, tranquility, for less activity, and please, please? . . . less work? I suppose that this is the case as far as I am concerned. Besides, despite my very positive attitude on ageing, I must face reckoning with a lessening of energy. Not necessarily sickness, just being plain tired. So, I suppose that finally staying put at age 70 is “…about time!”

I have avoided facing the need to keep up with the blog for some time now with the resulting sense of guilt. Arghhh… guilt, such a reliable companion! This, coupled with learning Spanish, had become a chore rather than pleasure. Add to this that I felt a bit of a cheat since I was no longer boondocking. Plus during the past weeks, I had to travel to Querétaro a number of times to apply for the FM3 visa, a rather time-consuming affair. Since I had decided to remain in Mexico, getting the resident visa seemed appropriate or else I would have to get out of the country to re-enter every six months as a tourist.

I have lived much of my life with a deeply ingrained sense of duty, responsibilities often taking precedence over the need to rest, to enjoy life. When I moved to my rig, I dutifully kept an agenda of things to take care of. Generator, solar energy batteries, housework, body work on the rig, tires, brakes, suspension, water, dumping, cleaning, laundry, shopping, etc. etc. the list was endless. It required that I keep an agenda of things to do! A perfect continuation of my working life when in fact, I’d reached retirement age more than five years before. I think that the tiredness was mainly of myself getting in the way of good intentions and a more pleasurable style of living.

CARPE DIEM – I have much to learn in the art of seizing the day, living in the day, for the day, this without thoughts about duty or the elusive tomorrow. When I first contemplated the move to Mexico, I kept reading as much as I could on the country, its climate, its customs, its people. I recall a note that I kept that goes, “The Mexican reveres the past, lives for the present, and thinks that the future will take care of itself.” Not a bad philosophy to try and acquire so as to begin to enjoy the rest of my life.

My blog needs to be for the sheer pleasure of it and it is when I allow myself to enjoy writing about all that matters to me, with the hope that a reader may enjoy it, as well. So, from now on my posts will take on a more personal flavour as opposed to adventures on the road and the life of a boondocker. As I had mentioned earlier, the name of my blog will not change, so my apologies to readers who either wanted to experience vicariously the life of a vagabond or get tips on rv’ing. There are so many very good blogs to satisfy the most avid reader and I felt that my contribution was duplicating all that already existed, most of it certainly more knowledgeable or enjoyable. ***

So, here goes carpe diem. . . and a tremendous sense of relief!

*** I will be happy to answer any question about full-time rv’ing that I can, or else refer the reader to a site that will.

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