Always say yes to an adventure

So it’s not quite home time – yet.

Though my Outriders travels are over I have opted to spend another week here in Mexico – on my own pound/peso before anyone calls the Edinburgh Book Festival to complain.

I am going to spend some nights in the jungle and nights on the beach, near Tulum. Around 4 hours south of Merida, 1 hour away from Cancun. I have to transfer through Cancun airport and it’s a bit of a culture shock to be surrounded by British and America tourists, many clasping souvenir sombreros. Very few Mexican’s (nearly none) visit Cancun, which I think probably says enough about it… the airport is intense I have seen a woman cry and 3 couples have arguments. I love airports but sometimes they are like life turned up to volume 11.

My partner is coming to meet me. I’m looking forward to telling her my stories and showing her pictures. Ximena says – and I agree – that sometimes you can’t really know what you think of an experience until you explain it to someone who wasn’t there.

Ximena asked me last night what I had learnt from this trip and I said I wasn’t ready to know yet. Of course there are facts I have learnt about Mexico, living truths, things witnessed but I don’t know how to curate all these images, emotions, experiences into one experience. I have seen four different cities which might as well been four different countries. This isn’t a negative I should add, it’s just unexpected. Maybe it was naïve of me to think I could form an opinion in three weeks across four different cities and if I wanted to I am sure I could churn out a novel length blog about the identity and injustice of Mexico but I would just be rehashing opinions and copy and pasting stories I had heard/seen. It will take time to know what I really know, to feel what I really feel. After all, in the cenotes you can only attempt to see the bottom after you’ve been still. I am definitely still existing in the middle of the ripple.

Today, I said goodbye to Ximena, who has been a wonderful travel partner. Our mutual love of food and drink and laughter has seen us through this trip which at times has caused us to see or hear hard truths about her country. It’s clear to me how well respected Ximena is both in Mexico and abroad. Her work ranges from TV series to big budget theatre to intimate stories played out in intimate theatres. I am delighted I got to travel with a fellow playwright it’s has been an important aspect of our journey to share our craft. She once said in a throw away comment that we communicate like family. That made me smile. We went from being strangers to friends to familiar in a matter of weeks. We say a simple goodbye, hug and thank each other. I am thankful for August, for emails, for further exchange. I’ll miss her. Her wisdom, wit and kindness. Thankful to call her a friend.

Ximena said that she believes you should always say yes to an adventure, which is an excellent mantra if you ask me. And it has been adventure. One that in some ways is far from over.

This isn’t my final blog but it might be my final blog that takes the form of a travelogue. Up until August I plan to blog (sporadically) the evolution of my thoughts about this trip. But for now… it’s been a utter privilege. A journey I could have never imagined. Thank you for reading and thank you to all who made it possible.

Mexico is now woven into my fibres and I am changed, for the better.

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