One A Day – 198

Coco Beach Viajes

Coco Beach Viajes

  • Centro Histórico, Morelia, Michoacán, México
  • August 16, 2013
  • Copyright, all rights reserved

Before the days of the ever-widening drug wars, there was a time when foreign travel to mid-sized and smaller cities in Mexico was not limited to adventurous, individual travelers. College students went on exchange programs for months at a time. People joined group tours of regional artisan centers and helped, through their spending, those centers to continue. During that time, specialized tour companies made it possible to visit cities like Morelia with the assurance their travelers were not completely “on their own” when they arrived.

I don’t know the story of this particular, defunct, travel agency. It is safe to say it was catering to travelers from the US, but more than that – I don’t know.  I do know that many smaller agencies that booked tours and travel outside the large tourist enclaves in Mexico have disappeared and with them, the needed business they brought to cities like ours. People certainly still travel to Mexico, in increasing numbers, but most of them go to the resorts. In a way, the media attention to the drug war and the violence it has brought to Mexico, has added to the profit of the global resort operators at the expense of the rest of Mexico. It has also created a situation, in which, people in the US know less about the country just South of their border than they know of countries across oceans and continents. I have a friend, living in New Mexico, who regularly documents incidents of individuals and companies who will not ship to him at national rates or do business with him because he is, “in a foreign country.”  The mere use of “Mexico,” confuses them.

I’m not commenting on the political situation inside or between these two nations. To me, this picture speaks to a lost opportunity for a continent of people to know their shared and separate identities and to envision a better future for everyone. During difficult economic times, Mexico has continued to grow its middle class and serve its people. Yes, there are problems, but personally, I experience a vibrant life, tranquility, and stability here. I have many friends who encourage me and make my life fuller.

There is no perfect. You can find problems in any country, in any city on earth. It is part of the human condition. You can find happiness in many places, but for me, it comes from the shared experience and learning from people, as a part of this place where I am. My one thought – if we want a better world – perhaps we should spend more on knowing our neighbors and less on walls, real and imaginary.