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I realized I felt it, truly, for the first time in weeks on the way to San Cristóbal de las Casas, a mountain town on the southern border of Mexico.
Already, it had been quite a day.
After a week each in Mexico City, Oaxaca and Huatulco, I was on the move again, a process that had become stressful as I started my transition from “avid traveler with a steady job” to “full-time nomad struggling to pay her bills.”
I’d taken two flights, discovered I needed to pay for my overweight carry-on (apparently that’s a thing in Mexico), and then nearly missed my connection from Mexico City after mistakenly walking out to Baggage Claim 7 instead of down to Gate 7 (why were they next to each other anyway?!), making my way through security again and then losing said boarding pass.
Now, after all that, I was on an hourlong shuttle to my next destination.
I should have been exhausted, or frustrated. I’d certainly had my share of those moments over the last month.
And yet, there it was:
Happiness. Or peace, maybe. My anxiety had dissolved somewhere on my commute and left my heart lighter.
It felt like an odd moment to have this breakthrough.
There we were, a shuttle full of traveling strangers, buzzing through the pitch black countryside. I didn’t yet know that San Cristóbal de las Casas would prove to be a charming city filled with cobblestone streets, sweeping diversity and breathtaking nature. I didn’t yet know I’d fit in, so seamlessly, with its welcoming, inclusive vibe. I didn’t yet know it would be one of the most memorable places I’d ever been.
No, at this moment, after three weeks of gazing at vistas, castles, cliffs and beaches, all I could see was the occasional street light illuminating the passing pavement.
But as I looked out the window, into the deep dark, I realized I was humming, quietly. I felt content.
I wondered if it had something to do with letting go, finally.
Over the last month, I had battled with the idea of losing control over my day-to-day, my working and sleeping and showering conditions, my access to WiFi.
But suddenly, I was letting life happen to me in a way that felt OK — good even.
I’d made my flights. I’d found my shuttle. I had conquered another day.
On that little shuttle passing through obscured mountains, I had everything I needed: water in my canteen, cookies in my stomach, a sweater on my back and a power cord to charge my phone in my hand. I saw those things so differently now, which was exactly what I wanted.
I knew I wasn’t over the hump, so to speak, with challenges, but maybe I was on track to start absorbing them better, bouncing over the rocks and allowing the boost to propel me forward.
I had the feeling that everything was going to be fine in San Cristóbal, and that maybe, just maybe, I was getting better at this crazy thing.