Settling back in.
I went to explore new culture, language, history, traditions, people and to volunteer and do my part for the community there. Pretty sure I’m suffering from a severe case of taco withdrawal. My final year in college is upon me, and the journey I’ve taken I feel will shape the career and paths I want to take after college.
The long flight back made me feel sad to reflect back on everything that had happened. The Spanish I learned is useless with my family and friends but I have managed to find some people to speak a few words with. Now I’m trying to find the right place to volunteer and work in Ireland.
The bug of trying new things from other cultures has certainly taken hold of me. A week after I got back I started Brazilian jiu-jitsu. I got the chance to speak to people from Argentina and Chile in Spanish. I want to find the best way to use my energy and skills to help others. So that’s my journey right now, trying to find new passions and causes to commit to. Back home, homelessness is the most pressing issue
Looking back and talking to people I met in Mexico and how their daily life is going lifts my spirit. I’m happy knowing that these people are happy and doing well. My experience their feels very profound, I find myself referencing and comparing Mexican culture to Irish culture to friends and family on occasion. Sending pictures of Ireland and showing pictures of Mexico.
I made lifetime stories and memories with people there. From all the play and work I did around the library, I’d love to see it thrive in the future. Because I lived with a family in a restaurant, I developed a close bond with them. The games they thought me and I thought them, the exchange and learning of different languages and the times I had no idea what I was doing. Leaving Barra I had a child stuck to my leg pretending to be a koala refusing to let me leave. A two year old finally managed to learn and say my name. I shook hands and hugged practically half the village the day before hand. I would love to go back there sometime, hopefully to stay and work in the library once more.
Experiences of exploring wilderness, scuba diving, new markets, foods, animals and arts is something I share with new friends and people I met there, unforgettable to us all. Not only did the people and the experiences I had with them have a strong effect on me, so did Mexico itself. The time I had alone was spent wandering through jungle or up hills and exploring what I could. One of my favourite things to do there was get lost. The mountains and landscape, the views, the wildlife and the feeling and sight of the ocean truly warmed my heart. It is indescribable through photos and videos. The love I developed for the place starts at the beauty it holds, this beauty is appreciated and nurtured my many people there and they replicate that beauty through kindness. Reflecting on pictures I took and talking to people there still sparks that energy and excitement to explore, which is why I hope to start new endeavours, continue learning Spanish and of course plan my way to exploring more beauty the world has to offer.
The world is ever-changing. Although we’re in the most documented time ever and news outlets use this to spin things badly for many, I see positive change. Despite the fact poverty and third-world country might be used to describe places like Mexico, many people there work hard to better their country and the world. People have more access to learn and more room to shape their future in a more globalised world. From animal protection and preservation to trying to find new methods to reduce the usage of plastics, I found people who’re passionate and hard-working to influence change with the resources they have. I found doing good isn’t about just giving to those who have less, it’s a mindset. A mindset to be open to change your lifestyle, to be open to listen to new perspectives, places, people and nature around you and take initiative for change, no matter how small. Even if one person switches from plastic straws to biodegradable ones it’s a positive step that helps everyone. I learned that change doesn’t have to happen to the masses or have to catch on as a trend or be mainstream, it just has to be your individual mindset to helping in any little way you can.
I don’t know how a travel bug gets caught. But when you want to simply spend all your money on exploring the world then it must be in me now. There were some volunteers I met in Mexico who’d arrived meaning to stay for one or two months and stayed travelling for over a year. Many Mexicans describe each state as if it’s a different country, with so many indigenous cultures and history buried behind all 31 of them. Travelling and volunteering with different projects along the way seemed to be the best way to experience and live in places like Mexico and South America. Although there are dangers and risks everywhere, they don’t seem to deter me. They say curiosity killed the cat, but this itch I have to go back and explore more is too strong to be ignored. I’ve already bought 3 books on travelling through South America with no money and am getting wild ideas of getting a motorcycle to travel there like Che Guevara’s motorcycle diaries.
Shaping my future…
I’ve begun to think about how I can shape my life around doing good and exploring. Remote working has exploded into the world as a career option. My degree and experiences doing social media management, web design and website management, some Search Engine Optimization and digital advertising mean I have the skills to work anywhere with just a laptop. Travelling is something I’m only a novice to, but I have always hated being at home. I prefer being outside, with people or with nature. The experience in Mexico has given me extra drive to pursue that kind of career. I’ll have to finish my B.Sc in Marketing, Innovation and Technology, but I hope to look for clients and opportunities in this field more actively. After doing some work with kids and teaching, I hope to pursue that a little more, maybe influence people in my area and do some volunteering. Organisations like fóroige have helped me in the past and I see the best way to change the world is to first educate it.