Now that I finally remembered Allison’s bad ass password for her laptop, I can try bringing our blog “Travels of the Bay family and the Yoda Van” back to life. For those of you who are not familiar with this blog, let me try to bring you up to speed.
In 2006 Allison and I quit our jobs, bought a 1983 VW Bus (Yodavan) and drove from Seattle to Panama and back. We were on the road for 50 weeks with our 2 boys William (4) and Julian (2). To sum it all up, it has been the best thing we have ever done in our life. Not only all the sights, people and countries made this trip the best thing of our life, being able to spend 24 hours a day with our children for 1 year is what I consider pure luxury.
Now almost 4 years have been passed and the yodavan has been replaced with Theo. Theo is now 3 years old and a Yodatrip souvenir.
After returning from our trip the one thing happened that I was most afraid about: we just stumbled back into our old lives. We found new jobs and life was just as it used to be before our adventure. The upside to this is that we have proven to ourselves that we have done everything right. We had the great adventure and we were able to continue with our careers right away. We even got better jobs than we had before we left. The downside, we are no longer on the road and with a stressful job, I don’t always look at spending time with my kids as pure luxury.
Something else I consider luxury is being able to remember almost every single day of an entire year. If we look back at our trip or read through our blog we have memories of almost every day. Looking back at the last 4 years, what do I remember? Some things come to mind: Theo’s birth, William being expelled from school by an utterly unqualified principal, who luckily didn’t make it through the first year of being principal (it’s safe again to send your kids to school on Queen Anne). I remember the stress of moving several times this year and probably a few more things that happened here and there. My point is that most days of our post yodatrip lives are just about the same and blend together as a big routine.
Why now writing the blog again?
For one, we have time on our hands while the kids are in summer camp and we are on vacation, but the main reason is that we planned this vacation different from other vacations we have had in the past. While we honestly didn’t have time for a lot of preparation for this trip (since we moved into a new house 5 days before we left), we also knew that we COULD do it without planning every detail in advance.
Before we left we didn’t know where we were going to live, how to get around etc. All we knew was that the kids had to start summer camp on July 11th and we had to get them registered in advance. We knew we can do this, because we have learned it and we are good at it.
When we arrived in Mexico City we decided to go to the hotel we stayed at and loved 4 years ago. This time it didn’t work out so well. The beds were big enough for 4 of us, but now we are 5 people and it was extremely uncomfortable. The floor would have felt better, but it wasn’t very clean so we decided to look for a different hotel. We looked at some hotels in the area on the way to get breakfast and found a great one. Granted it was a bit more expensive, but turned out to be perfect for us.
Getting around the town also turned out to be a bit challenging at times. Our preferred mode of getting around was the subway. You have quick access to most of the city, it is cheap ($3 pesos = 25 US cents per person) and it can often be an experience. Sometimes we have been in situations where we have needed to take a taxi and have been quoted exorbitant prices. One taxi driver quoted us $120 pesos, but with a little persistence we found the same ride with another taxi for $35 pesos. Another time we jumped into a cab in haste since a torrential rain storm had just begun. When he quoted us a way high price ($140 pesos) and refused the turn on the meter we told him to pull over and jumped out. Luckily we found a covered spot to wait until a bus came by. We weren’t exactly sure where the bus would take us, but we had a good idea that it would bring us close to a Metro station. Actually we needed it to be very close to a metro station, because we did this during torrential rainfalls and all we had to wear were modified garbage bags. This bus also doubled as a boat since the rain (once it starts) is like stepping into a shower and within minutes that water level on the street was rising above the first step into the bus. Once in the Metro it was easy to get back to the hotel, so we thought. Finding the right train is a piece of cake, but when it starts raining like this EVERYONE heads into the subway and the trains were packed like you could not even imagine. No need to worry about pick-pockets because everyone was jammed in and pressed against each other that there was no way anyone could raise or bend an arm enough to lift a wallet out of a purse or pocket without everyone noticing. Getting in was easy, but getting out was crazy. The train was so packed that we had to plan our exit 2 stops in advance. Every time the door opened we had to struggle our way a bit closer and at our stop push with full force to get out.
While things can be stressful at times, travelling lite and not everything preplanned ahead can also be very rewarding. You get to meet a lot of people, most of them very happy to help out and eventually find the perfect place to stay.
By the way, Theo did not drink the water in Mexico (at least to our knowledge), but he has not been in the title of any of our blog entries yet.