- Shit I fell asleep.
- Me too. Where are we?
- No way! Hahaha it can’t be…
Travelling with people over the years taught me one thing. To have a good time, money and comfort levels must be in sync. Money is straightforward. Comfort though means different things to different people. To me it means sleeping on a hard mat and without mosquitoes. To my friend Pablo, it means having his conditioner foam exactly when the shower reaches 43 degrees... No judging.
With la Chichona, I got used to making all the decisions. Destinations, activities, etc. And the message was always clear: If you're not happy, you can fuck off. My control-freak side was satisfied. Now that I was backpacking with Sophia, I had to compromise, to let go of control.
Sophia led a successful corporate career. She came to Mexico to have a good time, not to count her money. That same week I had received my last paycheck from Shitty Sugar’s package. I had to be careful cough cough* cheap until I made it with my business. Returning to the nine-to-five rat race would be the ultimate failure, the explorer's seppuku.
Sophia wanted to visit the island of Holbox. I’d heard it was a tourist trap, overrated and expensive but I compromised. Plus, the bio-luminescence on the brochure looked worthy of a visit.
Everything in Holbox was double the price. I was fighting internally to silence the control-freak and just enjoy the experience. We went to a hostel that fit my budget and slept outside in a hammock. Sophia was terrified by the jungle. She couldn’t sleep at all. True there were raccoons, snakes and crawling creatures. It was slightly out of her Parisian comfort zone.
At night, we jumped in the back of a quad bike for a bio-luminescence tour. The guide told us it would be the best experience of our lives. We rode on muddy dirt roads until our asses hurt from all the bumps. We arrived, deep into the jungle, ready to be blown away.
I was startled...by traffic. A dozen quads were jammed in the little dirt-road leading to the water. We continued on foot. The guide warned us to stay close together because of crocodiles. We stepped knee-deep into the water, a large group of fifty tourists expecting to have the time of their life. The tour guide started to splash the water in the hope of awakening the seaweed. The fifty followers followed. We looked like a cult performing a ritual. A cult of idiots.
The bio luminescence had lost some glow compared to the brochure. The tour guide blamed it on the moon, too bright he said. We returned to the traffic, waiting and providing for the mosquitoes. An hour later we arrived at our hostel, short of $50 and looking like chickenpox patients. That’s what happens when you let go.
After that epic fail, Sophia needed a proper room. She booked one at thrice the price. The mattress was too soft and gave me back pain the next morning. I woke up in a sulk, as cranky as an old geezer banging his broomstick on the ceiling. In an awkward attempt to make me feel better, Sophia offered to pay for the room… She made it worse. I left to have breakfast on my own.
The coffee helped. My control-freak mind was ruining everything, even my friendship with Sophia. She was a sweetheart and I couldn’t let go of my ways for one week. ONE WEEK! I was ashamed, and decided to be less of a dick. I would continue the trip according to her standards and use it as an experience, try to really let go.
Our next stop was Bacalar, a tiny paradise far from the tourist path. The highlighted activity was to watch the sunrise from the lagoon. It was dark and cold at 5am. We pushed the kayaks in the water and paddled non-stop to stay warm. Forty minutes later we were deep into the lagoon, with a clear view on the horizon. We used the life-vest as pillows and laid back. In a majestic entrance, the sun pushed darkness out of the world. We watched in silence, immersed in a sea of hypnotizing beauty.
Tac... tac... tac. The sun was high in the sky, the kayak tapping against the dock. We had fallen asleep and drifted on the water. Of the dozens docks along the lagoon, of all the possible angles and directions, the current had brought us back exactly where we left off. We closed our eyes and teleported to our hostel dock, right between the two pontoons. Unbelievable.
I saw it as a miracle, a lesson from the universe, the circle of life. Sometimes it’s okay to just lay back and let go.