Sail Away From the Safe Harbour

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. – Mark Twain

Tomorrow I’m leaving Cardiff and heading back up North for two months before starting a whole new life – my third year abroad.  And it really will be a whole new life – in a different continent, different language and different culture.

Now that the stressful bit – all the organisation that needed to be done at this end – is over, I can’t wait to go!  I just have a feeling that Mexico will have something to teach me that I can’t learn anywhere else.  I’m still trying to find a new way of thinking, and I hope that I will find it there.

A lot of people told me that I was crazy to go to such a ‘dangerous place’; a lot of people warned me that I would get kidnapped or murdered or forced to join a cartel amongst other horrific things.  At first I worried about those things too, but when I actually stopped to think about it I realised that Mexico is a big country.  So big, in fact, that I probably won’t get to see all of it in the space of a year, as much as I want to.  Yes, it has its problems, but don’t we all?  There are problem areas, but the real problem is that people are too afraid of those relatively small areas to go anywhere near the rest of such a beautiful country.  One of my lecturers here in Cardiff is from Mexico City, and the other day she told me, ‘there are drugs, but that’s only up in the North, and you wouldn’t want to go there, anyway, because it’s mostly desert.’  Yet people jump to the conclusion that it’s the same all over Mexico, and the media image doesn’t exactly help.

So, no, I’m not scared.  Well, no more than I would be if I were going to Spain or even to London.  I’m not scared of the things that could happen in any city and are no more likely to happen in Mexico, and I’m certainly not going to let that fear stop me from taking a once in a lifetime opportunity which may well end up being the best year of my life.  The 40-something students on my course all have to go somewhere, so why not go all out and do something completely different?  I feel extremely lucky to have had it offered to me and I know that I will appreciate it so much more and learn so much more than if I had chosen a ‘safer’ option, and when I come home I will be able to understand the things that really matter in life.

The mayan ruins of Tonina in Chiapas, Mexico -- by davecurry8

Tortiando - to have a greater appreciation of the differences between cultures, we should all take the opportunity to live as others live.

Popocatepetl, Mexico