Mexico was the first stop on our world tour, and in many ways it was our most challenging. If you follow us on Instagram, we do our best to show the ups and downs of traveling long-term...we expected the ups, but not the downs.
We visited four cities in three weeks (Mexico City, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, and Sayulita), ate too many tacos, and drank way too much beer.
In Mexico City we stayed with a former colleague of Tani's who introduced us to sides of Mexico City that tourists rarely get to see. But San Miguel de Allende (recently rated the World's #1 City by Travel + Leisure), was absolutely gorgeous with cobblestone streets, freshly painted pastel houses, and a stunning nature hike that I got super emotional on...but as #budgettravelers we felt our choices were limited to walk around and take pictures or eat out at expensive restaurants and spend buckets of money on art and jewelry.
Sidetracked is super popular travel blog that recently did a post about San Miguel...and even he could only find like three things to review here. His big tip? Just wander around. And we have to agree with him.
Whoever tells you to go to Guanajuato is not your friend and should be removed from your life as soon as possible. Like this travel blogger who said it was 'Mexico's Most Beautiful City.' Sure it was pretty, but go for lunch one day and move on. There is literally nothing to do here and anyone who tells you differently is dangerous.
But Sayulita was definitely the highlight of our Mexico experience; we had the options to hike, surf, snorkel, or even rent a bike for next to nothing (compared to American prices.)
In the video below, you see us having the time of our lives because we are! But I just want to remind everyone that traveling isn't about just seeing pretty sights or instagramming popular locations. I believe that traveling should be a learning experience...you should either learn something about yourself or someone else. Curious about what you can learn about yourself by traveling? Liz from YoungAdventuress.com has visited over 50 countries since she was 16 years old and summarized ten things she learned about herself from traveling around the world.
One thing you won't see in the video is how Mexico taught me to be more patient. Somewhere between our plans getting de-railed by the Oaxaca Earthquake, a 14-hour bus ride, and being dropped off on the side of a Mexican highway, I realized I had to let go of my expectations that everything was going to go according to plan...and trust we'll get there eventually.
Something else no one tells you about traveling with your partner: you fight! And that's natural. Amber from www.withhusbandintow.com agrees; in fact, she wrote an entire blog post titled '9 Tips to Travel as a Couple Without Killing Each Other' which really hit home. My favorite tip was #6: Communicate; Amber wisely suggests to 'use humor instead of condescension when you find you are not communicating...and rather than standing on a street corner in the rain yelling at each other because one of us wants a kebab and the other wants a nap, say “let’s stop here; we are not communicating; let’s just get it out in the open, what’s on your mind.”
We learned this lesson in Mexico the hard way, but we had to re-establish new ways to communicate with each other. For example, Nick realized that he had to separate being frustrated at situations and being frustrated at Tani. Tani realized nothing because he's perfect.
I think that's why I got emotional in San Miguel. We had been traveling for a week, and it was the first moment I had to myself since leaving New York City. We had just overcome another fight, and Tani took the morning to study for an upcoming test, leaving me to take the afternoon to explore a nature preserve outside of San Miguel de Allende. It was the first time I was able to take a backseat and finally observe what was happening around me. And all of a sudden, I was struck by this sense of gratefulness while looking at a nest of cacti.
I'm a privileged, white, male living in America at a certain age where I can pause my career to take a victory lap around the world with the love of my life...like HOW DID I WIN THE LOTTERY?
So many separate things had to fall precisely into place in order for me to be present at that exact moment. And it was just too much...
When I was filming and editing this video, I wanted to focus on that feeling. Even seemingly small moments (Tani smiling on a beach, seagulls flying overhead, or walking through the streets of Mexico City) are some of my favorite moments because they appear normal.
But looking back, they feel like anything but.