This is the hardest vacation I’ve ever been on, a glorious ride of food, friends, and trips. I’ve been to the tops of ancient ruins, into the depths of a silver mine, I’ve eaten at a dozen familiar places, and a few new wonderful ones. I’ve laughed harder than I have in years, and fought in a way I deeply missed. It’s wonderful, exhausting, and filled with meaning that I never realized was there.
I have spent my life on the fringe, mostly because I preferred it there. The people are fascinating and there is something of pride to being an outside, to being special in a way people inside the more common popular social circles couldn’t understand.
I still enjoy the fringe, I mean, as much as most people want to travel, few take the path that I have chosen. But there is something of a connection that I didn’t realize was there. On the fringe in my own society, I can disappear from a place, and it might be noticed or not. When I am the foreigner, it is noticed, in a way I love and dread.
There are so many people to see, and so many people that I haven’t gotten a chance to see. People who meant a lot to me, but I wasn’t able to find when I was free. I could have stayed in Mexico another week and it might have been enough to see them all, but then again maybe not. I wouldn’t trade what I had these last two weeks for the world, and for the first time I can remember, it’s not enough.
I went down to Zacatecas with the Diplomat, and we wandered the city for two days, from the abandoned cyclopean city at La Quemada, to the Puebla Majica Jerez, and all throughout the Spanish colonial buildings, churches, and museums. They have a tradition there, he told me, of the wine donkey. It is exactly what it sounds like, a donkey carrying jugs of wine following you as you walk through the city.
A donkey of wine seemed to be the equivalent of two five gallon jugs, but I’m guessing you could get a couple more on there for a price. There was a man there serving drinks out of the jugs to people who stopped by. I think my favorite part was that you could hire the donkey and wander through the city making friends with anyone who wanted a drink. Apparently, it would turn into a parade of drunks, music, and celebration following you and your donkey through the street.
In a way that is my goal, to spread that kind of joy and cheer down the street as I pass by. To connect and make friends as easy as if I always had a donkey of wine following me down the street. The other part of me hates that idea. I need time to process, to relax, and to be alone with my thoughts. It doesn’t matter if other people are there, I just need to turn inward after a while, to center myself and just be.
Finding that time when I know I have to leave so soon is hard. Every moment I stop and wait is time away from the people I care about. I know I’ll have time to process when I get to Atlanta, but I need balance in my life, and preparing for the future is not an easy thing to do. I know I won’t have time to do everything I want to, much less energy, but that is the perfect parallel to life. There is always more to do, something else to complete, but when our time is over, we bow and leave the stage. I move on as gracefully as I can, knowing there is as much before me as there is behind.