THE TALES OF MY MEXICAN JOURNEY : FIRST SOLO BACKPACK EXPERIENCE
Hey SerialWalkers ! 🐷 🏳️🌈
Here are some of the Tales of my Mexican Journey ! Recap here if needed ! A journey that changed my life forever ! A year ago, I left for the journey of a lifetime and boy, and I ended up married in Paris after starting the year day drinking on a roof top in Jaipur ! This is not the point of today article !
Essentiels to know
Los Estados Unidos Mexicanos use the Pesos, 1 euro is around 23 pesos, a pack of smoke is around 60 pesos, so you can see.
No need for a visa : 6 free months of staying for tourism for EU citizens !
My first solo trip backpacking was something, you will see, and it was also a moment to better yourself, so little did I know.
Why did I leave by myself one day ?
First, let me tell you that leaving France for México at this point in my life was the best decision I have ever made ! Here’s the context and a enough of my life story for you to understand me, this choice, and the rest.
I grew up in a messy, funny, demanding home : in a little town in the countryside of south western France, my parents were working in clubs, and bars, enjoying life at its fullest if you know what I mean. I never had a childhood, really. I have three siblings : Charlie my big sister, a little brother Mateo, and another sister Tess. The ones I know of. We don’t share all the same parents, like I said complicated. My mother was with a man for 13 years. He raised me, beat me up, wounded me for a long time with physical abuse and emotional ordinary homophobic remarks. My dear mother, having her own issues, whom I love so much, let’s say, we have a complicated relationship but it comes down to having the hard talks, and it is so rewarding ! I struggled with his for the longest time before realizing having those feelings, expressing them was not a weakness but a proof of growth and strength. My best friend Julie helped me through so much, pushing me to be better, and here, I say to her thank you Kinou. She is probably the reason I am still alive and well. 25 years later, and still my soulmate. I am still rebuilding my relationship with my family, not really a part of it, here when needed, but never completely honest with them about my struggles ..; work in progress ! Now, married to the man I love, I feel strong enough to share this story with you.
I set goals from my life early on : public life, politics, public service. I wanted a calm life, with rules and protocols, a clean house, a husband, kids, and dogs, of course, a pig. I survived when they abandoned me at 15, worked my way through college, starting a PhD in Higher Education and Research. I created the life I long for. Still having fun, enjoying my life of excess, going to work, a full rounded life with incredible friends, lovers, and yet still a void that success by my standards, I could fill.
So, I did what every normal person would do in this situation : I ran away again. I built my life twice, why not once more abroad. I always wanted to leave with a backpack and just be ! You know my passion for the program …
This is the idea behind my mexicain journey : enough of public service, always wanted to leave like this, therefore I did ! It is one of the best choice I ever made, still have implications in my life today. I learnt some much from that experience about myself, the world and how to experience it differently ! And México because I always wanted to see Chichen Izta, my love of tequila and latinos too ..
Now, three years later almost, I wish to reflect one this, here, publicly, because I know a lot of us, in the community struggle with abuse, and fill the need for approval with meaningless sex, day drinking days, drugs, and some tears.
The best of the experience is the lasting one : the feeling of freedom, the sense of discovery you go thought with your self. This is unique to each of us, but commun ground to a shared experience of traveling.
A journey in Mexico
First, I got a book and made a list of things I wanted to do and see : my inner german was on, bitch ! I packed too much stuff, worried too much about immigration ( a free 6 months visa for tourism but still ), bought drugs, condoms ! I took my pig Bartock, and off we went !
Remerber my Check List for Backpacking in The Jouneylism tool Box ! I wish I had one back then !
I left Toulouse six days after buying tickets for Mexico City. A night out in Barcelona with a friend Alejandro, I almost missed my flight for the US because of an « excessive drinking » contest with two polish dudes in a gay bar uptown !
After a night in the airport of Miami, Florida, I arrived in the morning in la Cuidad de México en los Estados Unidos Mexicanos ! And you can get to the center from the airport by métro which is around 5 pesos.
Bienvenido a México !
La Ciudad de México
Nothing says welcome to México more than a fresh beer and tacos ! After I reached my hostel en la zona rosa, the gay neighborhood of the city, took a shower well needed, and got starting on Grindr, I decided to go visit el Museo Nacional de Antropologia ! A little Métrobus, so easy and cool I was there, so what is still one of my favorite museums !
For the transport, buy a card at the métro station, and recharge it, simply 🙂
CDMX, oh boy, the second time after London where I just walked around for hours in this amazing, green city ! High in the mountains, the air is polluted yes. But there is so much more to it !
After this tour, I came back and enjoyed drinks on the terrace with now friends. What a moment : listening to them and their stories, learning about Mexican history ! It never gets old, every time in a new hostel, there we go ! Inspiring !
Then on to what there is to see and do in CDMX and around ! I made a list back home, changed it with advices received the night before ! I am going to make this as a list, obviously, with some pictures to follow ! Walking this city en el centro historico for hours was the best experiment : the food, the smell, the buildings, the people .. incredible !
I encourage you to look for gay-friendly hostel in la Zona Rosa ! I stayed at Hostel La Tercia : cheap, clean, well-placed to enjoy la Calle Genova, with everything in walking distance !
So here’s My Top 20 – What to do in Mexico City ! if you wish to this directly !
So it Goes
- Museo nacional de antropología, one of the best museum in the World !
- Museo Soumaya
- Museo Tamayo
- El Palacio des Bellas Artes, the most gorgeous building in town !
- Go to a Lucha Libre match, yeah do,
- El monumento de la Revolución, (pic)
- El Zocalo, la plaza de la constitución,
- El Templo Mayor, amazing site in the heart of the city,
- Torre Latinoamericana
- The beautiful Basilica de Santa Maria de Guadalupe
- Ma favorite place El Angel de la Independencia y el Paseo de la Reforma,
- El Mercado San Jose,
- Roma, the rebellious part,
- Condensa, the artistic part of town,
- La Zona Rosa, the part of town,
- UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México),
- Les mariachi de la Plaza Garibaldi,
- Polanco, the rich part of town,
- Castillo y Bosque de Chapultepec, just so cool, so much green !
- The two mains attractions close to CDMX : Teotihuacan y Xochimilco !
Around, mostly in CDMX, there are two incredible spots : zona arqueológica de Teotihuacán and Xochimilco ! To get there, fairly easy : the bus with ADO for the pyramides (around 114 pesos back and forth, 5 euros, and count 6 hours total), and the métro lines for the Venetia of México (around 50 pesos back and forth, takes 3 hours, 2 euros with the métro, tricky but doable, and so worth it) !
A few other museum you might like :
Don’t forget to check this Top 10 – Queer places in CMDX ! The night life is just amazingly gay, and there is a variety of choices : Karaoké, Leather bar, Kink !
I left CDMX after a bit more then 10 amazing days ! With a new buddy, Aaron, with whom I would get into trouble ! We followed each other for a while across the country, and meet again in CDMX later ! Let me tell you it was quite enjoyable, and the Day Drinking Days numerous 😉
Off to Puebla and Oaxaca
I took the bus for Puebla y San Pedro de Cholula ! I stayed at a friend’s place, went to the comedic theater in town where he was performing ! So much fun to see a Mexican play turned into a comic situation !
There are a few cool things to do in Puebla :
- The oldest library in latinameria is a must, named Palafoxiana,
- the chuches are incredible, la Catedral de Puebla is gorgeous,
- El Museo Amparo,
- Go visit a volcano,
- Eat some Mole at the Mercado de Cholula,
- and the town full of students, which means el barrio Container City is so cool to hang around and meet people !
Puebla is young, cheap and getting around is easy ! Making a stop there is worth it for a couple of days !
Then off to Oaxaca, I went ! Oaxaca de Juarez is the capital of the Oaxacan State, one of the most diverse state in Mexico : beaches, urban towns, mountains de La Sierra .. You can do almost anything you want !
Oaxaca City is a old and dynamic town : she has everything you canposibly imagine. Music is the street, mercados, and amazing spots !
Here is a little compilation of cool things to do :
- Go walk around the Zocalo : most of the hostels offer free tour of the city ! It is a half day of visiting, and testing local products ! Oaxaca is famous for her food !
- Eat at el Mercado Benito Juarez,
- Visit la Basilica de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad,
- Check El Templo de Santo domingo,
- Visit the Museo de las culturas de Oaxaca,
- Walk around el jardín etnobotánico,
- And the Main Event, la Zona Arqueológica de Monte Albán is just amazing ! One of my favorite place in the country ! Take a guide because this site enjoys a enormous culturel background !
And visits and all, I ended up day drinking with a gringo on a roof top, a straight white dude I slept with at the end ! Spend some time in Oaxaca, the city is vibrant, full of souls, and kind to the travelers !
Puerto Escondido was next. I spend almost three weeks there. This place is paradise. I found myself in this blue pacific ocean, surrounded by a small town, mostly known for the surfing spot la Playa de Zicatela. Turns out it is also a party place where I met some may different people from so many different backgrounds ! You can go help save the turtles, I cleaned beaches around ! A perfect little town !
I stayed at La Casa Daikiri : the best hostal in town ! Pool, cheap, amazing vibes ! Lorena was so helpful for everything ! Just an incredible human being, that runs also the BarFly, the coolest place to be in town with an incredible rooftop, cool DJs and affordable cocktails with mezcal ! On the rooftop of the hostel, I had my epiphany : I felt good, happy, I belonged. For the very first time, I wasn’t questioning anything so critically. I found myself making a place leading to this moment. So grateful for that day where everything took a turn for a clearer path, a painful one on so many levels, a necessary one above all. I also stayed at the PipeLine Hostel : cheap, and party vibes with an unique view on the beach !
The beaches are amazing, la Semana Santa got us crazyyyyy ! I did so many slutty things there .. Oh boy, I lost a lot of Life Points, the rest of my dignity, but I was probably the most amazing three weeks of my life ! I cannot describe the meaning of this place, go please, do yourself of favor and go !
Then, I painfully left for Chiapas. A long 12 hours bus ride for the cold estado, which turned to be a place so cool and original !
El Chiapas : San Cristobal de Las Casas & Palenque
Chiapas is unique. It has his own story, langages, and struggles. It also has gorgeous landscapes, and ruines, and San Cristobal is quite a surprising town !
San Cristobal de Las Casas is a joyful little town up in altitude (2200m). It is cold at night and in the morning but boy the air is so refreshing ! There is a few very nice places to visit and you can walk it for a day !
I would suggest to do this :
- Notable Churches to Visit in San Cristobal de las Casas
- La iglesia de Guadalupe y la Iglesia de San Cristobal pon the hill with gorgeous views,
- El museo de Ambar,
- The Centro de Textiles del Mundo Maya,
- And the Orquídeas Moxviquil: Botanical Garden !
Go to the local craft market where you can try anything, connect with people with the most singular stories about their passion for their land ! You can also do some outdoors activities in the Canyon !
I left for Palenque some after ! There is a lot to see around this area of Chiapas !
Three ruinas : Palenque, the Temple of Inscriptions, and Tonina ! Palenque is just breathtaking ! I encourage you to spend Half a day visit and learning about the place ! Then three sites where Mother Nature worked her best magic : Agua Azul, Misol-Ha, y la Cascada El Chiflon ! Amazing sites with warm and colorful places to eat and enjoy the view !
I left for Mérida, La Cuidad Blanca during the night ! I got robbed in the bus, so beware ! No harm, just a lot of money gone !
Mérida y Valladolid, Yucatan
Yucatan translate to « I don’t know what you mean ». Today, this name resonates for all. The Caribbean Sea, the Golf of Mexico, a richness of culture, food, heritage, and cenotes.
Mérida, la Cuidad Blanca, the White City, is a culture center : a colonial heritage mixed with a strong feeling of mayan background. Walking around the Zocalo, you can taste Yucatecan food, admiring the beauty of the centro historico. Know for the culture heritage, she posses. Mérida offers a perfect balance of colonial colorful architecture, and a demonstration of mayan traditions. We can experience the Pok Ta Pok, the Mayan Ball Game (mostly for tourists) dressed in their beautiful mayan attire in front of the most impressive Catedral de Mérida !
The good thing about Mérida is the welcoming people, and the price range. Almost all the main attractions are free, and compared to the Riviera Maya, well, you can live nicely here trust me.
- Explore the Mayan World at the Gran Museo del Mundo Maya
- Walk around the Paseo de Montejo, one monument to another,
- Attend El Carnaval de Mérida (dates moving),
- Chill in La Plaza Grande,
- El Museo Fernando García Ponce-Macay (free) for art lovers,
- and for free again, you can visit el Palacio municipal !
I met up with a friend, and made a new german friend ! The next day was chill visit of the city again and a good day drinking day on a roof top with an amazing view of the city !
Come the day trip through Yucatan with the german dude to visit a few remote places. It is worth because not expensive much, and really practical, includes food, entries and it left me in the next stop on my trip, Valladolid.
For the cenotes, I leave you to search on the internet : there are thousands of articles out there ! Here’s for one French people, that I loved !
Chichen Itza, the dreamt to go there since I was a kid reading about it ! There I was, in the heat, exploring the uniquely majestic UNESCO site ! It was the first of the Seven New Marvel of the World ! Take at least half a day to immerge yourself in this incredible place, it is so worth it !
After that amazing day, I found myself in the human-sized Pueblo Magico de Valladolid. A pretty little town where Grindr offered me to meet an amazing friend ! We spend the entire week together in Tulum after that. I went to visit the green cenote in the city center, attended church a la Iglesia de San Servacio , ate marquesitas, in a warm an romantic atmosphere !
We left for Tulum the next day. Again, a site I was really looking forward to : las ruinas mayas.
Tulum, la rivera maya
In Tulum, rent a bike to move around, stayed in a cool hostel, and grindr on ! Boy, that week was hot ! Food is really amazing but expensive. Ask the locals to help you find the Luncheria : cheapest food in town !
You wake up, have a nice coffee and breakfast and then you go visit the most extraordinary : Las ruinas mayas de Tulum ! They are just beautiful, and there is so much to learn ! I was looking forward to it since the season 9 of Pékin Express !
Here are some of the must do in Tulum :
- Visit Coba y Akumal,
- Dive into the Gran Cenote,
- Stop off at multidisciplinary museum SFER IK
- Explore the Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve
- Go and swim, and snorkel in the Caribbean’s !
I ma not writing some other very touristy and cool places, but there are more than worth mentioning. So, I would also encourage you to visit and stay at the following places :
- Holbox, this one is just gorgeous,
- Playa del Carmen, nah,
- Isla Mujeres, chill out there,
- Cozumel, too chic and bougie.
After 10 amazing day, alone in my dorm meaning my own terrace and shower, having three homes after two days, and day drinking the fuck out of my liver with cubans, I left for Bacalar !
Bacalar, Laguna de siete Colores y Chetumal
After an epic bus ride of three hours, I reached Bacalar with Isobel, my new yoga teacher Portuguese friend. I stayed for three days in a nice hostel in down, for a reasonable price, and met so many cool people there ! A Russian backpacker, a guy for Ouzbekistan, a gay couple for Danemark, and a swiss german to die for !
We all went on a boat trip the next day ! And the lagoon deserves the name of the 7 colours : it is simply breathtaking ! The changes between the depth, the fishes and the sun .. Probably, one of the most memorable experiences in Mexico !
The next was day drinking and sex in the church, chill yoga time, a lof of reading, because it was raining ! For the first time in two months (it was mid-aril) !
Well, at least I had a fun few days, and the coolest bunch to do such an activity ! I left for Chetumal with the image of this stunning man, and the stunning lagoon.
Chetumal, the border City with Belize has the reputation to be a boring city !
Well not quite ! I had a marvelous day visiting the ruins of Oxtankah, spend the afternoon in Calderitas, where the fish was to die for, and walk on boulevard Bahia for a drink at night ! So, Chetumal, you are okay !
He was time for me to go to Cancun to take a plan back to CDMX, and I was ready for it !
Cancun y back to CMDX
Cancun, not much to say : it was expensive and full of gringos. Not my cup of tequila !
I found my way back to Mexico City for an interview, and also, fix some administrative issues due to my stolen credit card and ID. Well, I was happy to get back to the city, see the boy I was seeing before leaving, and check the nightlife some more !
I got to do one thing I didn’t do the first time around, Xochimilco ! La Venise du Mexique is a well deserved nickname ! A sunday in a warm weather having beer and tacos, riding effortlessly une barca in the middle of the maze created here ! Such a great romantic activity ! I would recommend it because it is just calminf from the raging CDMX, and the views, flowers, churches are stunning !
After this last week, where my dignity was in a all-time low, and my liver ready to drop, I had to go back home to Toulouse … Happy to see my friends again, sad to leave this county. I knew I was coming back. Well, I did !
The way home through L.A, well I got drunk for free in Business Class because the captain of the Crew loved my pig, and my butt I believe too, so I ended drunk in L.A.X. It was not cute, at all. 10 hours delay, and back to Barcelona. Once a 4 hour ride, I was back in cold France, having drinks with my friends. I felt home, whole, the spirit lifted, and a will to continue challenging me to this day.
Hope you enjoyed this little Tales of my Mexican Journey ! Take a leap of faith, as I did, and you will understand !
This country is going to be my home someday. I am now back in CDMX, and after only three days, the feeling has not changed : this is it, where I want to live, once done with the rest of the world 😉
For more questions or question suggestions, contact me !