in moments, Views

The back door open

In my airbnb room, there is a back door that leads to a patio. Not quite a veranda or terrace but a private place I can sit with a table and chairs. The airbnb host lives right next door to me so I see her often. Her mom and I have done coffee a few times which has been fun. She’s my age so going out with her is nice and we talk a lot in both Spanish and English. My Spanish is better listening than speaking and her English is the same perhaps. Luckily for communication we have her grandson who speaks perfect English and will translate with little or no asking.

I mention all this because I think we rush through things way too often. Getting here, going there. Wanting this or that. It is all a push and shove to find or lose or track. Instead of just sitting with the back door open we want to “be there”. We need the latest or greatest. I mentioned yesterday my take on things. I feel it is similar with our wholesale rush to find or lose or go. I always had to laugh at the so-called travel and lifestyle bloggers with their affiliated links and social commentary but when it came down to actually writing about their places, it was lists of tours to do or how long to see a place. I was at one point a party to this on twitter and we had this so-called community of travel bloggers and photographers. It was an interesting time then and many bloggers found the hashtag and began to publish their world journeys. Still though with the same thing. It was like,

I went here and did that on this tour and I got my passport stamped and I visited 90 countries and 4 continents. Ain’t I something?

So what happens with this? Well to me, there is no back door that is open. These people rush the same way to other countries for cool tours and weekends in Taipei. I spent a month in Taipei when I went. Why? Because I felt the city deserved someone to slow down and find a pace of things. Like, you know. Looking out a back door at a gradually changing scene. I met these two Australian tourists once in a noodle place in Hanoi set on seeing all Hanoi in three days. They asked me then,

what can we see in three days so we have seen all of Hanoi?

I had no idea what to tell them since I spent months in Hanoi wandering. The seminal question was for all this was whether I had seen it all. There is no all. And I did not do Taipei or Hanoi justice. There is that other block with beautiful old buildings or that coffee shop or small side street. It may hold something or not. I will never know. But neither will all those travel bloggers who rush to find and then lose. Where is their back door I have wondered.

I kinda woke up to this question this morning because all my vagabond writing is about longer stays. About finding some soul and resonance and feeling to those small places. Meeting the people in that neighborhood like here in Merida now. Finding the tailors in the shop each morning busy but never enough to miss waving and telling me good morning. Or the lady selling Banh Mi in Hanoi for breakfast that would talk to me through google translate to ask how I was, if I was happy, was Hanoi okay to me.

So what do all those other people do with no back doors? I know. They book tours or take weekends in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. And they see it all. I feel for them because the other thing missing are the people. The people make up all those places. Wonderful, funny, strange, sad. Somehow with the door closed, all that is missed. That lady selling flowers along the street in Hanoi with motorbikes rushing by but still some business. I stopped to find this because it seemed this view we rush through to miss.

My message?

Open the back door. Stay awhile.

You will become enriched beyond measure but most of all the sun does shine in the morning through the door here in Merida and the cool breeze works its way through. I took six months in Merida this time and my time is drawing to a close. Did I find? No. Never. I did slow down. I opened the door.

  1. How true this is, that most travellers miss the very thing that travelling should be all about, the people. Yes, it’s great to travel, to see places, marvel at the architecture and suck up the vibe for ten minutes before moving on. But the real joy of going anywhere and has always been for me, are the people I’ve met along the way.

    • Thanks Alex! I just think we do rush through life so fast and sometimes with blinders on. I remember when I was living in Puerto Vallarta my friend Alex there told me life was no rush there.

      “Just enjoy the tacos, beer, and wine Michael. Its what we all do”.

      Sometimes though we tend to speed up or we forget that the real thing is the people.

      Take care!

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