Friday, January 20, 2012

Two Weeks off the Grid.

I'll catch everyone in two weeks. Won't have internet access until the 5th.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Finding my Paradise

It took me less than a day to get sick of Cancun.    I am not in Mexico to party at huge clubs,  watch girls gone wild live, spend all my money on cover charges, shots, and then come stumbling home piss drunk, to sleep in hungover the next day.    As soon as the sun was up, I  stepped over a guy passed out on the floor, walked to the estacion de autobuses, and  headed south  along the coast.   I was in search for a place with less of a memory and more harmonious.

 I found that in a town South of Playa Del Carmen.  No buildings were higher than two stories.  Mega resorts turned into bungalows and cabanas.  The swaying palm trees,  complimented the beautiful rolling waves.  The beach sand was the most soft white powder I have ever felt with my toes.    I  wished I had just taken a bus from the airport straight to this place.

 It was a complete flip from where I was two days earlier.  A frozen lifeless ocean was now a active glittering turquoise blue sea.  Spruce trees loaded with snow, were now palm trees loaded with coconuts.  People covered from head to toe in snow gear, were now exposing as much skin as they could.   And in the distance along the coast,  to make the place even more stunning,  a Mayan ruin, sat atop a cliff, reminding you of a powerful empire that once stood at this very place. 

Once I got my fill of the warm ocean, I made my way from the sea and sat down at a seaside snack shack,  with log walls, palms for a roof, and a nice older woman greeting me with a smile. I ordered from a small hand made menu.  "Hola, puedo pedir la comida de mar y los tacos de carne de tres."   

 When my food arrived, I sat for a second and to soak up my new environment.  Two woman were  topless to the right of me,  practicing fire dancing together.  Another topless woman practiced her salsa dancing alone, in front of me,  and a fourth topless  woman was happily building  a sand castle, and groups of topless woman kept walking past.    I couldn't help but laugh to myself.  Sure beats the cold Alaskan winter!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Yucatan Arrival!

I always love arriving at the destination city.    It doesn't matter that you may be tired from flying across the world.  Being woke up numerous times by passengers, announcements, turbulence, or crying babies.   I would still love flying if I had to stand on my head for 18 straight hours or be put in the luggage hold.  Because arriving at a new city is like starting to paint, with a blank canvas. 

My canvas didn't start out entirely blank, though.  It started out a Caribbean blue. The color of the  the turquoise waters stretching as far as the eye could see.  As we descended towards the airport in Cancun, endless blue, turned into a light green, then into sandy white beaches, large hotels, and finally a long runway.  My eyes acting as the paintbrush.

 I always tell people, I don't get excited about traveling till my plane is about to land. When the wheels touch down, that's when my  body, mind, and soul start  firing up.    

From Cancun airport, I jumped on the ADO Bus Line,  for 48 pesos, and it took me into town.   It's always a bit of a culture shock stepping from a bus terminal and being thrust into a foreign land.   Nothing is familiar everything is different.  There is a different pace of life,  different smells,  different sounds.      

Arriving at the Hostel Quetzal took a bit of detective work, meandering down streets  and  across parks.  But checking in, was like checking into base camp  for a two month expedition.   I sat on my thin heavily worn mattress and took a deep breath.

Someday I would like to go back and travel in luxury.  Enjoy every one of the 5 stars.  Splurge on a room with a great view, room service, and a big comfy bed.  But for now the simple hostel life, the basic single mattress, one hopefully washed bed sheet,  and stuffed in with 8 other bunks,and complete strangers is just fine with me.    

 Traveling alone,  I prefer to stay at a hostel.   I don't sleep much, so a big hotel room just seems like a waste of room and money. Just give me a room in a corner where I can recharge and I'm happy as a clam. 

Within an hour of arrival, I was on the roof deck, in the sun  drinking coronas,  talking world politics with people from all over the world, right where my adventurous soul wanted to be.   It never takes more than  introducing yourself in hostels  before you have made new friends.   All telling stories of some distant places,  where they are from,  and  where they just have been. 

Hostels aren't just for the cheap and  the poor.   I've met plenty of travelers who were well off, who just like staying at the place because of the vibe,  the atmosphere, and the company.   I ended my first night having dinner with 25 new friends,  at a long table. 

Everyone sharing stories,  laughs, and enjoying  cold drinks.    The British making fun of the French, the Germans bragging about inventions and how much they can drink, the Dutch talking about drugs and amazing places to travel to,   the Aussies making us all laugh with Steve Erwing jokes, the French Canadians pretending they don't know English,  and the Americans always coming together to defend their fellow countrymen,  that we aren't as ignorant, sheltered, and self centered as we all seem.    And that  usually means swallowing our pride, and  having to apologize for electing George Bush for two terms.

But at the end of the night,  politics never gets into the way,  and we never forget to remember why we are all here.  To soak up the culture of a new place, to create memories and experiences we will never forget,  and have a blast along the way.     

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Next Chapter!

 After a tough Alaskan winter, four storms before January 10th, (with winds over 100 mph) record snow fall, (over 500 inches)  temperatures so low they froze the oil in my car,  and spending the holidays for the first time in my life with out my father, who passed away, my next chapter in my life's journey is approaching with more meaning and anticipation than ever.
     In one week I will head off to explore another section of this amazing planet, that I have only been to in my dreams.  Another place that has captivated my imagination, captured my curiosity , and has taken my life hostage until the ransom of experiencing them with my own eyes, is paid.

I'm looking forward to sandy beaches, amazing culture, volcanoes as far as the eye can see.  My pale  skin is looking forward to the vitamin D, every human who lives in the north desperately craves during dark long winters.  But most important, I'm looking forward to living life on the move again, to feel that rush one gets when things are new and exciting.  

   I will once again be documenting my trail with a camera and a travel blog, motivated by an ambition, an adventurous soul,  and yes my shitty spelling.  I prefer that my photographs do all the talking and be an inspiration.  My name is not Matt Foley, I'm not a motivational speaker, and I don't live in a van down by the river.  ( Visit this link if you have no idea who Matt Foley is.

 But if my blog can be the amplifier to stories in this world that are slowly being devoured by the tape worm influenced consumption of nature,  and gets people out to experience them from another view point than a cruise ship or travel show, than I think it's worth it.

I have put aside a normal life, the house, the white picket fence, the normal 9-5 job,  that people expect from someone my age.   Turning 30 this year only makes me more motivated than ever to keep traveling.  
With each journey, I collect memories and experiences, like falling snow flakes, on my porch,  as deep as the snow in the small Alaskan fishing town of Cordova.

I had to watch for the last four years as my father slowly died.  Old age, a suffocated soul form working most of his life,  a failing body from years of impact being a football player,  and finally a few strokes, extinguished the flame.

 I was there by his side when his heart stopped beating.  I had just returned from being on a fishing boat for 5 weeks.   I even tried in vein to bring him back, no son should ever have to do this.  Every passing second seeming to take an hour, as the paramedics were on their way.  Every breath of mine reminding me of a lack of breath by him, and the sand in the hourglass slowly drained.

  For years my father lectured me into training harder, push yourself to the limits, get yourself into the best physical shape possible, and live life to the fullest.   While his physical existence in this world is gone, his voice will forever be heard.

We all have a sense of adventure in all of us.  Feel free to follow me as I try my best to bring a voice to places around the world.   To fuel the explorer in yourself and hopefully each blog posted,  motivates you to discover the voice in your own soul that is trying to communicate with you.

Some of the places I will visit I can't tell you where I am.   So I have decided to write this journey without names and locations.   Leaving only my adjectives, metaphors, description of them to paint a picture of where I am.  I believe this fuels people more than showing you a google map and a big flag, and a list of how to get there and where to go.  The excitement of adventure, isn't to be told where to go and what to see, it's reading a description of a place somewhere in this world and then trying to find it on your own.      I hope you enjoy.