D-Day Has Arrived

chicken_bus_galleryfull

Chicken Bus

(Actually I’ll be traveling First Class on ADO … movies, toilets & reclining seats)

Tomorrow morning I depart for points southPalenque and San Cristobal de las Casas. This is a bit of a trial run for my upcoming 1-year journey through Central America.  I am learning to be more spontaneous with my travels.  As an American (something I don’t always readily admit to anymore) I tend to over-plan things.  Translation:  Book EVERYTHING in advance; schedule everything to the nanosecond.  Doing this doesn’t allow you to experience the serendipity of travel; rather than enjoying the moment you’re too damn busy adhering to an artificial schedule—I am retired.  I HAVE NO SCHEDULE.  I will be gone a month.

I arrived in Mexico a year and half ago with one small rucksack, a small duffel and one large suitcase.  Between now and departing Merida for Central America I need to lose the large suitcase.  I will probably have to send some of my photo gear back to the states, and ditch a bunch of clothes and other crap I just don’t use.  It will be travel with ONLY THE ESSENTIALS onboard.  Selling the scoot will be the biggest item to contend with, but Yamaha’s are really prized down here so it might not be too difficult—I already have two or three prospects that have expressed some interest.  For this one month trip I have reduced my load to one duffel containing:  my camera gear (my Canon EOS 5D Mk2 camera body with two lenses—my EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM zoom all-purpose travel lens, my EF 400mm f/5.6L USM super telephoto lens, my flash and Better Beamer flash extender); my computer (Apple MacBook Pro); three changes of clothes and toiletries.

I plan on staying in hostels most of the time (my first experience with this form of lodging). While most of you were traveling Europe and staying in hostels as kids, I was well taken care of by Uncle Sam (USMC).  Joel and I share expenses, so I figure a daily lodging cost of $5 to $7.50 USD per night.  All I need is a bed (or hammock), toilet, shower and WiFi.  The goal is to keep my daily travel cost to $15 to $25 USD per day (all-inclusive:  lodging; food; transportation and entertainment).  The roundtrip bus fare has already been paid and prorate’s to $3 USD per day for the 30-day trip.  That leaves me $12 to $22 USD per day to play around with for the rest of it.  Hostels typically have free WiFi, and also have laundry facilities available for a minimal cost.  You can eat really cheap in Mexico if you stay away from the gringo hangouts—eat (and shop) like the locals and you can get by on the cheap.

I live really cheap in Merida already, so this will only be a slight further tightening the cost-of-living budget.  This is called ‘Traveling on a Shoestring’ and I like it.  A lot.  The minimalist life appeals to me at this stage; it’s simple, affordable and surprisingly stress free.  It allows for spontaneity, serendipity—and daily surprises and experiences.  From this Steve’s motto came into being:  Live Free; Live Cheap; Live HAPPY.  Like I mentioned at the outset, I will be taking my computer along this time to process and edit my photos, post on Expat Journal and make an appearance on Facebook.  0800 hours tomorrow morning and I board the bus for the nine-hour trip to my first stop—Palenque, Estado de Chiapas, MX.  

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8 responses to “D-Day Has Arrived

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