A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!

Rosana

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I bought my first copy of The People’s Guide to Mexico over 25 years ago, and through the years various editions have been my faithful companions. Carl Franz, Lorena Havens, and Steve Rogers have always been more adventuresome than I by far, but their comprehensive advice has helped me push the envelope… a lot!

This is my all-time favorite book on Mexico. I love its motto: “Wherever you go… there you are!”

I doubt we would have made our four-month trip throughout Mexico and Guatemala in 1979 without being inspired by these three adventurers. I wonder how many other people’s trips, and even moves to Mexico, have been inspired by this book. It does such a terrific job of explaining how you can live and travel economically in a very different culture.

And it’s just plain fun to read.

Before a recent trip, I got the current edition out of the library, thinking I would just skim through it. All I had to do was look it over to know that I needed a copy with me. There is so much practical advice in its nearly-600 pages, often dispensed in hilarious stories. Driving, camping, staying healthy, shopping… a wonderful compendium! Its list of books and websites is over 40 pages.

To give you a bit of the flavor, here are some bits from the chapter on camping:

Camping in Mexico is different in many ways from camping in the U.S. and Canada. In the backcountry, many Mexicans live all of their lives on a scale that we would consider “camping.” Chopping firewood, hauling water, hunting, fishing, gathering herbs, wild fruits, and vegetables, and sleeping on mats or hard cots are all part of the normal daily routine.

These backcountry Mexicans find it difficult to understand why rich people — and we are definitely rich by their standards — deliberately regress from luxury to “roughing it.” Camping is therefore a rather unusual activity, something to be curious about. This curiosity makes “getting away from it all” almost impossible…

Maintaining normal activities (eating, reading writing…) can be difficult with a group of people looking on, but it can be done. Present a rather unexciting appearance and don’t do anything hilarious or unexpected. Your visitors will eventually drift away or at least relax the intensity of their stares…. If you decide, however, to do a tune-up on the engine, you’ll undoubtedly have them on the edge of their seats — if not right in the engine compartment with you — for the entire fascinating procedure, no matter how long it may take.

Carl Franz goes on to comment that he has often asked his onlookers to teach him something about how they do things, and that has led to making real friends.

I could have opened the book to practically any page and found something quoteworthy. I chose this selection because I can vouch for its advice. It’s helped us, even when just parked in towns and relaxing in our vehicle.

I do disagree with one thing: I think roaming around Mexico is now probably somewhat more dangerous than the book makes it sound.

Of course, The People’s Guide to Mexico is at Amazon. Get the newest edition… a lot of work goes into the changes from one edition to the next. Clicking on the image takes you to Amazon…

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