Overlanders depend on their gear. After all, most of us are homeless in the traditional sense. The road is our home, and the gear we travel with can make or break the trip. As very active campers even in our old life, we were quite certain what cooking gear was going to make the list for the PanAm. Although we quibbled over and considered a few items, one item never in doubt was our Lodge Dutch Oven.
Most travelers have a bucket list. I have been lucky enough to have checked quite a few off my personal list, but one place I have not yet reached is Jakarta. The 13,000 islands of Indonesia are astonishing, and having spent a month in serene Bali, my dreams now turn to city life. Enter Jakarta, the massive capital on Java, the mixes cultural influences from around the world.
I know I shouldn’t compare. I know I should live in the moment, focus on what is in front of me, not develop a “been there, done that” mentality. And yet, the more I travel, the more these inevitable comparisons raise their ugly head.
It’s that time again~ one more year on this trip around the sun. In past years, I have had the privilege of celebrating my birthday in some rather astonishing locations, both near and far; Paris, Mexico, Australia, and most often, the stunning beaches of Oregon. I have celebrated on a backpacker budget, and in high-style. I have celebrated with only Jim and the pups in attendance, with my dearest friends and family, and with virtual strangers.
I have never liked history. My dad was a history teacher. My brother is a history teacher. I got through the classes, but never embraced the subject. That all changed the moment I started traveling. Unencumbered by a parents authoritarian lectures and dry professors, I found myself relishing stepping back in time to see a world thousands of years in the past.
We have a sticker on our camper that reads “I camped at Overlander Oasis“. This is a lie. However, while the camping part is not technically true, we did spend enough time with Calvin and Leanne to feel as though we were part of their overlander family.
I can’t even say how long I have desired the opportunity to explore Oaxaca City. Back in my days working for Mexico Unlimited, we somehow never made the trip, truthfully probably simply because we tend to head to Mexico’s beautiful beaches. That fact didn’t keep me from dreaming of this place, not so far away in miles, and yet seemingly out of easy reach.
Teotihuacan. The name alone brings a smile to the face of all who have been there, for this enormous set of ruins, just outside Mexico City, truly brings to light the power of an empire, begun thousands of years ago. Thought to be Aztec, the city’s origins are actually a bit of a mystery, but it was the Aztecs who came upon this abandoned site and realized its power.
We ended up meeting Arturo by chance. While we had previously come through the pueblo magico town of Cuitzeo, we had been in motion, eager to get to SMA. Heading south, it seemed like a perfect pitstop during a long drive. Little did we know we were about to meet one of the world’s great dreamers.