And that is exactly how this story begins, but before we get there, let me give you some background information to help you better understand how I ended up living in Mexico. I was 17, and it was the morning after my high school graduation. I had spent the night in a hospital room, watching my dad pass away. June 11th, 2006, at 7:00 a.m. my entire world stopped. For the very first time, I was physically somewhere and mentally totally checked out. The building could have collapsed around me, and I wouldn’t have felt a thing. The one disease that has affected most of the population either by having it or by knowing someone who does. Cancer. It’s a bitch, and it doesn’t care who it destroys in its path.
I was already in a life transition, to begin with when my father passed away. High school graduation means college was the obvious next step for me. When my dad died, I spiraled into a deep depression and just went through all of the scenarios that I had lived out with him and thought of the things I could have done better or what I could have changed. My father and I didn’t have the best relationship, and I blamed myself for things which only led to more guilt and depression. I told my mom and stepdad that I wasn’t ready for college and that I needed time to “find myself.” Then my best friend from middle school decided to drop a bomb on me and tell me that she was moving back to her hometown in Mexico. I felt like I was losing everyone that I loved either to death or circumstance.
My friend moved to Mexico and called me one day and told me that I should come to visit. I was lost in guilt, grief, and depression hell, so I figure, why the hell not? Plus, what better way to “find yourself” than at the bottom of a bottle of tequila? (There are SO many better ways, but I was 18 and wild, young and free. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.)
Her cousin and I decided to drive from Louisville, KY, to San Luis Potosí, San Luis Potosí, Mexico. If you aren’t Mexican, you probably just said, “Where the hell is San Luis Potosí?” I had the same reaction. It’s almost smack dab in the middle of Mexico. Here is a map of Mexico for reference. https://www.lonelyplanet.com/maps/north-america/mexico/
Anyways, 38 grueling hours later I was in the middle of Mexico. It was so different than Louisville but similar at the same time. It had that big city/small-town feel to it. I told my parents that I would be visiting for 2 weeks and then headed back home to be a responsible, young adult and go to school. Flash forward two weeks, and I’m on the phone to my mom saying, “Hey mom so there is this event in San Luis called La Feria de San Luis, and everyone keeps telling me that I can’t miss it, so I’m going to stay another two weeks.” To put it lightly, she wasn’t happy, but she knew there was really nothing she could do to make me come home immediately.
Another two weeks went by, and I was starting to love life again. What 18-year-old girl doesn’t enjoy a life filled with new experiences, exciting cultures, making new friends, partying like there was no tomorrow and just ignoring all adult responsibilities? Not many. I did what anyone in my position would do. I canceled my return flight home and decided to stay and live there.
The next three years of my life were filled with flights back and forth between Mexico and the U.S., traveling all over Mexico, partying that puts any person’s night in Las Vegas to shame, (except for maybe the wolfpack in The Hangover) getting into a horrible car accident and hanging out with a federale for a few days, ALL the street tacos that you can imagine, chugging more tequila than water, because I was trying to avoid Montezuma’s revenge, or at least that was my excuse at the time.
Looking back on it, there are way better things that I could have done in Mexico than drink and eating spicy food and ending up with gastritis. To be honest, our youth is for making mistakes and pretending to be invincible. We all have regrets, but those years in Mexico are not one of them, and they are actually a highlight of my life. Moving to a foreign country is what dragged my ass out of a deep depression and helped me rediscover my passion for life and travel.
*Typically, I would post a photo of me somewhere living my best life in Mexico, but seeing how I just described 3 years of partying and drinking to oblivion, (my poor liver), I’ll save everyone’s eyesight and not share that hot mess.
** Also, for those of you wondering/questioning, yes, I did eventually go to college and made my mama proud! 😉