Coming home to Merida, Yucatan after a two and a half year absence has been bittersweet. When my life in the States self-destructed in 2011 I decided that I was going to travel the world, become a professional photographer and a published writer. I was sixty-four years old. My first destination of choice was the capitol of Yucatan in southern Mexico. I lived here for over two years before beginning my trek farther south. I eventually visited Cuba and backpacked through the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, Central and South America (all the way to Tierra del Fuego in Patagonia).
Nothing says home quite like the tree-lined streets of Avenida Paseo de Montejo with its stately mansions, horse-drawn carriages and sidewalk cafes. Thomas Wolfe wrote a book with the title: You Can’t Go Home Again. But you can, although things change. Change is inevitable. Coming back to Merida, before heading to the States for a short visit, has been the right decision. I’ve reconnected with old friends and visited favorite haunts. The Mexican peso is my friend with a current exchange rate of almost 20 Mexican pesos to one U.S. dollar.
Fond memories too. It was in Merida that I became the staff photographer for The Yucatan Times newspaper, the official photographer for the Kaxil Kiuic Biocultural Reserve and Puuc Jaguar Conservation. It was in Merida that I sold my fine art prints at Soho Galleries and Cafe la Boheme. It was in Merida that I experimented with navigating and living in a new and different culture longterm. And it was in Merida than I cracked two ribs when I ran my motor scooter into a concrete telephone pole.
Its been almost five years since I left the States to pursue my dream. I am now a professional wildlife, nature and travel photographer and sell my fine art prints worldwide at Indochine Photography. I am a published writer and continue to write this travel and photography blog Expat Journal and the occasional freelance article. I travel full-time now (365 days a year) and live with a new philosophy: Live Simple, Live Cheap, Live Free. I will be here for three months, then returning to the States in March before heading to Asia. I will be seventy years old this May. Life is GOOD.
Stephen F. Dennstedt
Photographer, Writer, Traveller