“Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .” ―
Travels to colonial Querétaro, Mexico
Exactly one month ago today, I arrived in Querétaro, Mexico for a life-changing experience that would alter my mindset and set me on a new course. I didn’t know that when I arrived. All I knew was that I wanted to be open to everyone, every experience, every sound, and every feeling.
See my previous post to learn about my journey from home in Pennsylvania, to Mexico.
Santiago de Querétaro, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is known as “unusual in having retained the geometric street plan of the Spanish conquerors’ side by side with the twisting alleys of the Otomi quarters.”
According to Wikipedia, The Otomi, the Tarasco, the Chichimeca and the Spanish lived together peacefully in the town with similar standards of living, a rare occurrence at a time when the Indigenous and Hispanic were usually separated by a large income gap and at odds with one another in other parts of the nation.
This peace and similarity of social integration are largely attributed to the fact that the local Indigenous ethnicities and Spanish reached peace early after contact and both functioned concurrently with the Indigenous retaining they are own economic and social systems while the Criollos operated in a separate but integrated society within the city.
The city is notable for the many ornate civil and religious Baroque monuments from its golden age in the 17th and 18th centuries. In 2008, National Geographic Traveler listed Querétaro as one of the top 15 historic destinations of the world.
I had arranged to stay with a friend from the Location Indie community who I’d connected within Denver last fall. Melisa was an inspiration to me, someone who followed through on her dreams, creates amazing artwork and was willing to share a living space with me. We were also sharing the Airbnb with 3 other women from the group, so it was a full house.
As the wonderful Uber driver pulled up to our home for a week, all I could feel is excitement for finally getting to see my friends and hoping that they were just as excited to see me. Just as I was wondering how to knock on the door, it opened, and Melisa popped her head out and then stood out and welcomed me with a fantastic smile and hug.
When we arrived at our kick-off dinner at Maria y Su Bici. I was greeted by more smiles and hugs, meeting up with our LI group. I was overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude for this group of people who accepted me without judgment. These people were just happy to see me, and I could be me. That’s how I feel when I’m with these inspiring and talented people who laugh and help me to laugh.
The past five months, since I’d seen any of my LI friends, I felt like I was slowly derailing and reverting into my old self. I started distracting myself because I was feeling depressed, and honestly, I was distracting myself from my life. I hadn’t figured out my path to becoming location independent and I felt like a failure because I was just stressed and frustrated.
I felt like this trip would help me become clear to my path, and I’d learn some magic tip or have a “spark” of an idea, that would help me push myself towards these goals. But above all, I am going to have fun! And this dinner was amazing! My first official meal in Mexico was fantastic, starting with traditional drinks of Chia hibiscus water).
One dish after another arrived on our now well-known “Game Of Thrones” table where the 30+ LI members and crew gathered. As we talked, laughed, and ate, we created a memory that will be in my mind for years to come.
Click here for link to menu, To be completely honest, I don’t know what all I ate, because they kept bringing different things to try, and I didn’t ask as I might not have tried it if I knew what it was, but I did enjoy sampling everything. (And if you wanted to know, yes I had a grasshopper, and no, I didn’t like it, but it was fried, so I didn’t really taste anything.)
The journey from online to IRL
I sat there listening to stories of travels, and thinking that I’m part of something amazing, this group of talented people who all want to support each other.
That support extended out of the virtual world of our group chats to real life for a friend that I finally got to meet after talking with her for the past two months online.
Back in November, I had been on a mastermind call with a friend from Denver, Heath Armstrong, and his group of “Gremlin Smashers” who were all trying to navigate through challenges of life and offered their encouragement to me while I was going through a particularly stressful time at work.
During the “roundtable” conversations, I talked about what tools I’ve been using to help me get clarity and work through setbacks and roadblocks in my way to building my location independent business.
Cassie Goodluck- Johnson was on that call. (I never got to ask her if “Goodluck” is her real name, which I was always curious, but it was really good luck to me that we were able to connect in Mexico.) She has a production company and also vlogs on Native Nomads with Nate, both were interested in the book I had been reading “The Artist Way” and I’d mentioned it on the call. It sparked Cassie to ask about a book club. We talked over the last two months through messages and on a group I had created for our club focused on the AW. Finally meeting in person and seeing her, and connecting was such a great feeling. They documented our week and I’m excited to see how the video of our travels turns out!
One drink, and Early to Bed
At the end of the evening, we toasted with a pre-Hispanic Mezcal and Melisa, Sandy, and I headed back to our apartment to relax and chat while creating art and coloring.
Yes, coloring. I had brought my coloring book and pencils, which I shared with Sandy and Melisa, had her own sketchbook she worked with, to create her animal drawings. We sat at this table in the middle of the apartment and talked about the evening, and our lives.
What a wonderful way to end this long day, that had started off with me waking up early, leaving my home in PA where it was 14 degrees, to drive two hours, get on a plane, fly to Mexico, get to my apartment, go out to dinner, and connect with friends who I haven’t seen in five months. I went to bed, in my private room, feeling thankful for this day, for friends who accept me for me, and for the adventures that this trip would bring, but not realizing how all this would make me feel.