Guanajuato…not

I had been anticipating our arrival in Guanajuato for what seemed like forever. The years spent preparing often meant hours, generally in my cubicle (shhh) poring over others trips. Hours reading of others adventures, beyond anxious for the time when I would be the one living out my dreams on the road.

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My Superpowers

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 4

Doesn’t everyone wish they had a superpower? I know, I do. Today, my fondest desire would have been the ability to make the internet magically work during the 4-5 hours it was down!

Alas, it doesn’t work quite like that.

Today, Natalie challenged us to think about our superpowers. Not in the manner of comic book superheroes, but in our real world. Those things that not only are we good at, perhaps even that come naturally, but those which we also enjoy. As she pointed out, there are plenty of rich people out there doing jobs they don’t enjoy, but that bring them a lot of money. That is NOT what the Freedom Plan is all about. True freedom requires you also enjoy the work that brings you the reward.

She suggested we not only consider what we consider our superpowers, but to ask those closest to us what they think. Her thoughts being that we may be obtuse to our best powers. Alas, due to the extended internet break ;( and the late hour of the day… I only asked myself and Jim.

Not surprisingly… we came up with a nearly identical list!

My, really our, goals moving forward to a location independent life, were put into stark relief recently when we had an inspiring, and eye-opening hour-long skype call with Alp Turan. He was a master at asking where we wanted to get and what was important to us, and then clarifying for us what our future looked like. Although we both indicated the same end game, because we expressed them differently we didn’t even realize how meshed our ideals had become.

Without further ado….

Superpower # 1: Travel Knowledge. I worked in the travel industry for over 25 years. I have worked for travel agencies, tour operators, and wholesale tour companies, spanning the globe. I have traveled extensively; at last count 43 countries on five continents. I have overlanded the United State, New Zealand, Australia, and East-South Africa. While I won’t claim to know everything… I know quite a bit. In addition, travel is my life. This current, epic, road trip down the PanAmerican highway is currently in it’s ninth month and we’ve only made it as far as Oaxaca, Mexico. I am relishing slow travel, and truly getting to know the places I am spending my time.

Superpower # 2: Food. It’s pretty obvious if you follow us, that I am a total foodie. At breakfast, I am already considering dinner. By lunch, thinking of the next day. I thrive on huge variety (easier to come by in Oregon than here in Mexico) and at any given time will throw International Week into the mix and make daily menus from countries as diverse as Lebanese to South African to Thai. I love to cook. Love to Eat. And love to share food with those around me. If you happen to be in the area let me know and I’ll cook you up a mean Dutch-oven dinner!

Superpower # 3: Inspiring others to Travel Often~ Eat Well, the byline of our blog. The downside of a nomadic life is those you leave behind. Our readers have become a big part of our lives, our tribe. I thrive on getting a random email from a new reader, saying that my description of a town or even has inspired them to visit for themselves. I eagerly search our social media for the comments regarding a particular food picture or destination I’ve pictured, and wanting more information. I believe any time you feel passionate about a subject, and are willing to wholeheartedly share that passion, amazing connections happen.

And with that, it’s time to whip up some dinner (Mexican Spaghetti!) and cuddle in with my family for movie night. Eager to head off to tour the ruins of Monte Alban tomorrow morning to feed this passion I feel to the very depths of my soul.

Passing Time in Patzcuaro

I listened to the rain pattering on the roof, and took another sip of wine. We had planned to stay a couple of days. But, Patzcuaro proved to be pure magic. Yes, the town is literally one of Mexico’s pueblo magicos, but more importantly, the vibe is right. That couple of days turned into four and then six and then eight. The plan to see the town, buy some coffee, maybe take a boat ride to the island in the lake, morphed into simply enjoying the simple pleasures.

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Eating Puerto Vallarta on a Budget

Eating well has never been a problem for us in Mexico. The indescribable combination of flavors has drawn us to her shores for decades. That said, one reason we chose to drive the PanAmerican highway is so we would have access to our own kitchen, which has done well by us over the last six months, party to save money and partly because I simply love to cook. However, eating inexpensively in Mexico does not mean never eating out. In fact, eating well in PV runs the gamut of prices.

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Get out and Get Grilling

We love to BBQ. The tantalizing smells aside, who doesn’t love the perfectly cooked steak, shrimp kebobs, or delicious grilled vegetables? For variety, throw on a pizza, flip some burgers, or grill a whole fish. Whatever you are craving, now is the season to get out and get grilling!

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Leaving La Ventana

La Ventana ~ a conflicting mix of emotions will forever come into play when we hear that name. For La Ventana is perhaps both the best and worst of our time in Baja. It is fair to say that the town itself was not our favorite, yet our two weeks there were two of our best in the company of wonderful family and friends. And while the day to day took on a comfortable pattern, La Ventana is also where we said our final goodnight to Porter. La Ventana will always be bittersweet.

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A Lazy Respite at the Lake

During what has been a rather hectic summer for us, our camping plans diminished to almost nothing. Unlike our normal two-three trips per month, we were approaching mid summer with only our anniversary trip to Timothy Lake to talk about. But in spite of selling our house and family concerns, we were booked for a long weekend at the lake for the 4th of July, and we were NOT missing it!

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Sniffing for Coffee

I lowered my camera, sniffing the air around me like a dog. Jim and I looked at each other with the same silent question reverberating between us. Where was the smell of roasting coffee coming from? We wandered around corners and down cobblestone alleys, never quite finding what we were searching for, that elusive scent seeming to ebb and flow with each turn. Reluctantly, we returned to our hacienda for dinner, unsure that we hadn’t dreamed the entire olfactory experience. Tired, we called it an early night, sure that our quest for the coffee of Alamos was for naught.

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La Cava Restaurant ~ A Little Piece of Paradise in Guerrero

One highlight of our Trafalgar trip to Mexico last month was our “Be My Guest” lunch at La Cava Restaurant in Guerrero. Guerrero sits high in the apple and fruit orchard region of Chihuahua, and is famous for it’s fruit and cattle ranching.

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Cooking Necessities

I tried to slip deeper into the corner as the six or seven men crowding the room chopped and stirred with deliberate haste. The youngest of them crouched on their haunches, low to the floor, in that way some cultures seem born to do and I have yet to master. Chopping boards rested directly on the not so clean floor as they chopped and sliced fragrant garlic, onions and tomatoes. Upon seeing the amount of chilies being added to the mix, I knew we were ensured a fiery curry tonight! Two men worked feverishly over large, dented metal pots, cooking down the mutton and vegetables, as the fragrant smell of spices circled above them. In spite of the cool desert air, perspiration glazed their skin.

I stood in awe, incredibly honored to have been asked to watch the dinner preparation, for in India, women did NOT cook outside the home. Intimidated by being jammed into a 10X10 room with these hardworking cooks, I reflected on the miracles of time and place that had brought me here.

Three knives, two cutting boards, and a two-burner hot plate. That was all required to serve up a fantastic dinner that fed the entire camp of over twenty. It forever changed my view of the “necessary”.

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