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Posted Sunday, October 10, 2004
Hi Carl and Lorena,
I discovered your site prowling the web tonight. Will read your book when I get my hands on a copy – I promise!
I’m writing to ask for some direction in planning an extended trip to Mexico with my wife and three children, aged 4, 7 and 11.
There are a few things that set us apart from most other Canadians/Americans. First, we all speak Spanish. I lived in Spain for 15 years, my wife is Spanish, and the kids were born and raised there until last year. Second, I work as a freelance translator/editor/writer and (with some technical difficulties) can continue working on the road. I’m also a qualified teacher, so there’s no problem teaching the kids as we travel. Money is fairly tight, though, so this would have to be a trip on the cheap. And inertia is always the enemy of families with children: it’s tough to leave the comforts and patterns (and even familiar stresses) of home.
What makes this very special is that I’ve already done this trip. When I was 9-10 years old, in 1972-73, my parents and I travelled for 14 months in a Ford camper van with a raised fiberglass top, across Canada and the US, down to California and the west coast of Mexico, into Central America and down to the end of the highway past the Panama Canal, then back up the east coast, back to Nova Scotia. It was by far the most formative year of my childhood. Memories of all kinds stay with me. The trip also left me with an urge to travel that took me later as far away as India. I’d love to give a similar gift to my own children.
I suppose the Mexico I remember is long gone. I have a lot of research to do to find out what’s there for me/us now. This email is a start. I’d greatly appreciate any starting points you could give me for some fall/winter reading and any comments on this idea of loosely retracing my footsteps 30 years later.
All the best, Damon L.
Carl responds: Damon, your proposed trip "down memory lane" in Mexico sounds like a great family adventure. Honestly, I can't think of a better itinerary than the one you describe having taken in the early seventies with your own parents. Yes, Mexico has changed in the past 30 years -- but I think you'll find the essence of the country is still very much the same. Mexico is a beautiful place but its greatest attraction, at least for me, will always be the people themselves.
Do read our book -- it will give you plenty to daydream about, as well as many suggestions for further reading.
That's my short answer to your questions -- the long answers, again, are in the book.
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