I arrived at my hostel in Veracruz at 2 am. Plenty of uncertainty but it is warmer here and I have a little inertia.
Last minute tasks in Mexico City
Yesterday, Mexico City, I tried to accomplish a few more tasks. The cool pen I bought a few days ago already broke, so I went back to the shop and they refused to replace it. It was only MXN$29, but for my entire life, things that I perceived as “unfair” have affected me, so that was a little upsetting.
For eating, I have wanted chopsticks: for some foods they are much easier than a spoon or fork and for sticky foods, like prunes, they are better than getting my fingers sticky. Wooden chopsticks will trap bacteria, so they are not reusable. Of course, I was unable to find reusable chopsticks in Mexico City, but while I was building my emergency sewing kit, I noticed that knitting needles look similar to chopsticks. Yesterday, I walked by a knitting store and on a whim, I stopped and looked. Trying to explain in Spanish what I wanted was fun and funny, but it worked. For MXN$16, I have a great pair of light, strong, plastic chopsticks.
Cured meats are uncommon here, but a local friend told me about cecina: salted meat. I wandered around the massive market near downtown for an hour before I finally found cecina. I was happy that I found some meat to carry with me–I do not want to eat nuts all the time. I tried a taste of the meat. I hated it! To me, it was like eating wet, gooey salt. So, for now, I do not have any cured meat to carry with me.
I found an incredibly nice, well-constructed rain poncho with a hood for only MXN$95, but I did not buy it because it weighed at least three kilograms. I bought one-quarter kg dried cherries and one kg dried bananas: MXN$40.
I was unable to find any of the other items on my list, including cooking equipment or something for cleaning water. I want a water filter or a UV water purifier.
Pack weight, strength, barefoot hiking
I left close to five kilograms of stuff with the people at the hostel. After walking with all of my stuff, I am very happy that I did not try to take that stuff with me. My knees are tired. My shoulders are numb whenever I take my pack off my back. I will certainly get a lot stronger from this, and I would like to dump a few more things. The hard part is that while my suit cost US$300 new, it is difficult to sell or trade it. My camera, however, still has some value, so I do not want abandon it. On other hand, since I am on the move, it is not so easy to sell it on eBay.
Based on the barefoot running testimonials, I believe that if I switch to “barefoot hiking” (walking with my feet wrapped in a compression bandage to avoid cuts on my feet), I believe that it will help with the stress on my knees. Of course, I have not figured out how I wrap my feet because using a compression bandage is my cheap idea (like knitting needles for chopsticks), not something I read anywhere.
Plausible time table and budget
I think my time table is realistic. I have about three weeks left on my Mexican visa. With hiking and hitchhiking, I should be able to get to Guatemala without a problem. On the advice of a couple of friends, I made a last minute switch to come to the east side of Mexico. A major advantage for me is that it is much warmer at night here. I am sure that will make it easier for me to sleep: without proper rest, I think I would have major problems. I do not own a sleeping bag, so cold weather would be tough for me. I have a tent, a tarp, a make-shift sleeping pad, and a silk sleep sheet, so that should be fine when the temperature is above 15C.
My budget is tight, but just as I have been frugal for the last five years, I have been even more frugal the last two weeks. I have about US$360.49 left. With the weekly help I get from a few friends, I will use that money to purchase the last of the materials I need, especially proper clothing, equipment for hunting and fishing, food until I learn to hunt and fish, food to supplement my diet after I learn to hunt and fish, and medicine. You can help significantly with only a couple of dollars per week.
The past is prologue
I am moving into a tent and doing this plan because of economic necessity, but there are other potential benefits. I mentioned above that I will likely become physically stronger. Another advantage is that I believe that by only having irregular access to the internet, I will have less stress. I think that I will have the opportunity to process my emotions in a healthy way rather than reacting to whatever is thrown at me each day.
Coming to Veracruz proved that I only partially right about that last part, though. The owner of this hostel is a lawyer. She also passed up high-paying jobs so that she could make the world a better place. She discovered that the system was too entrenched for her to change, and she opened this hostel instead. The very first person I met as I begin my new life reminds me of many of the important decisions I made that led me to my current life situation. I am glad I experienced that now because I will be prepared for it later: it is still amazing to me how little control we have over our own lives.
In a more perfect world, I would have the support I need to live a modest, more normal, life and use professional talk therapy to process the events and my emotions of the last five-plus years. Of course, I went to law school because I wanted to be one of the people helping to create a more perfect world, so I realize that life is nothing close to perfect.