When we told friends and family that we intended to drive south through Baja, Mexico; responses were unanimous. Like the whistle of a tea kettle, they warned us of the dangers. So much hype in our media distorts our understanding of the world more than informs us. Not necessarily misinformation because there have been dangerous situations and definitely corruption in Mexico. BUT it’s more like minimal information blown into way too dramatic conclusions. Our media supports the all too human tendency to cling to the negative. It makes a better story.
Travel can also have a higher purpose as well as good food and a relaxing get away from our stress filled lives. To me, one of the values of travel is to dispel those gross assumptions we make about the peoples of other cultures. It’s not something one learns through the news media or sitting on the deck of a cruise ship.
I feel that David and I, in some ways, are of service when we travel by being good ambassadors. Dispelling the myth of the rich, spoiled Americans; and bringing fresh, unjaded eyes to the new cultures we encounter. Travel creates bridges. More exchanges of cultures, I believe, can help eliminate wars.
Still steeped in tradition, Mexico has embraced modernity with vigor. It is no longer our poverty stricken, undeveloped neighbor to the south. Mexico has moved through its adolescence into better infrastructure, more environmental awareness, more kids in new clothes on good bikes, young people with cool jobs, less garbage strewn along the roads. In fact, I see more garbage along our own freeways than I did in Mexico. The tables are turning.