Picture taken in 2016, in Tulum, Mexico.
Dulce salt-skin from coral shoals -
morning seeds the sun.
Sometimes travel can be like shedding skin, casting out repeated sounds that echo negative in your life like a broken record. This was how it felt for me visiting Mexico in 2016.
I had spent the last 2 years struggling with the onset of my chronic illness - back then 'wrongly' diagnosed as IBS - while trying to hold down a fulltime job running an environmental project. The stress of that job with a compromised dietary and immune system left me wiped out, floundering, and depressed with the realization that these symptoms weren't going anywhere. After that job ended I spent most of 2016 trying to find a way to heal, following a strict diet, daily yoga and meditation.
Before going to Mexico in May 2016 I had given up. All of my symptoms increased in intensity daily, and the fatigue in particular seemed like a life sentence imposed upon me by my body, something I was powerless to effect. If I am honest, history has proven this to be the case so far as nothing has improved physically, but mentally I am stronger and the process of this mental change started in Mexico.
“Travel isn't always pretty. It isn't always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that's okay. The journey changes you - it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body.”
― Anthony Bourdain
Pictures taken in 2016, at the Mayan archaeological site at Tulum, Mexico.
This trip was transformative as it made me realize I could work through the pain. The fatigue was epic for the first week of that trip, with 40 degree Celsius heat, and jetlag to boot, I slept 12-14 hours each night/day. The AirBnB owner I stayed with in Cozumel thought I was odd as I spent the first 2 days sleeping the heat of the afternoons away with the fan blasting 🤣
Luckily the first part of my trip was spent in Cozumel scuba diving for three days which dispelled a good part of the depression that had built in me over the past two years battling with doctors, and my ailing body, trying to understand what was happening with my health.
Something calls to my soul from the ocean, I never feel as alive as I do when diving beneath the waves. Drifting over shimmering coral shoals past Turtle, Shark and glistening Glassfish; the combination of the adrenalin of the predive checks followed by the dreamy drift in the arms of the tide feeds my soul!
Picture taken in 2016, Scuba diving off the coast of Cozumel, Mexico.
Exploring the Yucatan peninsula while ill made me realize that I can still embrace the uncertainty of travel, it just takes more planning and a different pace. I can still live the transformative alchemy of backpacking, all be it in a new and more controlled way.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
– Mark Twain
I would rather take these types of risks in life than play it safe. Even with the limitations imposed upon me by my illness, I lived experiences in Mexico that I could only dream about at home. Fulfilled lifelong ambitions that I would never have done taking the safe option of a trip here in the UK, or by saving the money for a rainy day.
Although I felt exhausted at the end of that trip I felt more happy than I had in a long time, and with chronic illness getting yourself right mentally is half the battle.
Fulfilling a life long dream swimming with a 29 foot whale shark off the coast of Isla Mujeres.
I have decided to challenge myself for a month to post a daily Haiku on Hive. Each week will have a different theme based on a picture prompt.
This week's broad theme is The Wonder of Travel.
To read more about the aesthetics of true haiku, and the difference between haiku and senryu, please check out my post: Haiku Vs Senryu - The Aesthetics of Form
All images in this post are my own property. If you have enjoyed this Haiku, please check out my homepage @raj808 for similar content. Thank you.