Mar 2012

Blog, North America

DISCUSSION 13 Comments

Monthly Summary – February 2012

Month number two is in the books!  First, a look at the numbers.  Second, some evangelism.  Next: goodbye North America, hello Central America!

Countries driven: Mexico

Miles driven: 1,772  (Trip Total = 4,735; odometer reads 281,235)

Total bribes paid: 0  (Trip Total = 0)

Total Spent: $1,934 ($66.69/day)

Retrospective Thoughts On Mexico:

I’m going to be straight with you.  In America, our news outlets are all about sensationalism.  If there isn’t anything outrageously bad to report on, they’ll revisit the terrible, heinous crimes from last month.  This sensationalist attitude means that all you ever hear about Mexico is a continuous stream of negativity;  terrible stories about kidnapping, dismemberment, and murders that occur due to the movement of drugs northward to satisfy America’s own lust for illicit drugs.  Furthermore, everyone has heard about a friend of a friend with a corrupt cop story.  Let’s face it, Mexico gets a bad rap north of the border.

Before we left on our trip, people used to ask us how much money we were budgeting per day for bribes.  PER DAY!  After two months and 4,735 miles on the road in Mexico, we were never so much as pulled over by the police.  We stopped at countless police and military checkpoints, but were met with nothing but smiles and friendly small talk.  The police, by and large, aren’t crooked.  Foreigners who get pulled over and then offer bribes to “make it go away” are the real issue, as they create the false impression that foreigners are stupid, and will part with their money at the drop of a hat.  Treat them with respect and they’ll do the same for you.

As for the extreme danger due to the war on drugs, it never even crossed our minds outside of wondering “what is the media talking about?”  It never came up.  Not in a conversation, not out of the corner of our eye, never.  We felt silly safe every second of every day.  Well, except for that strange day in Chamula, but that was different.  In short, America is missing out on experiencing a truly wonderful country to its immediate south due to little more than media fear mongering.  If I sound dumbfounded, it’s because I am.  Should Europeans avoid travel to America because of gang violence in Los Angeles?  Well, unless they’re a member of a Los Angeles based gang, I’d say they have nothing to worry about.  If the Mexican media reported on every single murder in the USA, they’d be scared to death too.

In Mexico, almost every day was an absolute treasure.  The people we met were unfathomably kind, the weather was incredible, the food was life changing, and we feel that we’ve become better people for our experiences there.  In the people we found a warmth and sincerity that we’ve never felt on such a universal scale.  No longer do we dare pass someone on the street without greeting them with a smile and a “buenos dias”.  Whenever someone passes us on their way out the door of a restaurant, they invariably smile at us and say “provecho”.  Enjoy.  Not just every once in a while, I’m talking about every time.  Entire families will say this to us in turn as they pass.  Even tough-looking teenagers.  Mexico has taught us manners.

If you’ve considered going to Mexico, but have been dissuaded because of the supposed danger, stop worrying.  Just go.  You’re more likely to die from a freak vending machine accident than you are to die from drug-related violence in Mexico.  After two months, we’ve decided that the country really deserves six months in order to discover all that it has to offer.  And as you’ve seen from this monthly summary and the last, it’s cheaper to travel in Mexico than it is to stay home.  Now go and write a harshly worded letter to your local media station and tell them to be more positive.  But don’t forget to say “buenos dias” first.


  1. lies! all lies!

    Comment by gnome on March 8, 2012 at 7:11 pm

  2. Garett

    I appreciate your comments on this matter. Mexico has been great to me too. The last time we went to Gonzaga bay, we felt safer than going to a Cardinals vs Raiders game.

    The big difference between Mexico and US is that people respect other people in Mexico. Well that, and the fish tacos are legendary!

    I am really enjoying your trip!

    Comment by Garett on March 8, 2012 at 10:35 pm

  3. Barb Wieber

    I have never been to Mexico but I do know that when people continue to respect others it will always some way come back to you. What I see by their traveling in Mexico it is such enjoyment of being somewhere of the unknown and you know that is what traveling is all about. Respecting and learning where your are. When different cultures from other countries come together I believe that is a sign of togetherness and peace!!! More power to the Nacho travelers!!! Keep on traveling you two!!!

    Comment by Barb Wieber on March 8, 2012 at 11:32 pm

  4. RP

    I read you blog every time you publish and have enjoyed it. I did have to chime in on your take of the news media. (I am not in the business). I believe that what the media reports on was nowhere close to the places you guys have traveled to, so to be fair, the violence is there and real just not the places you were. Enjoy Belize, it’s on by bucket list.

    Comment by RP on March 9, 2012 at 6:30 am

  5. RP: That’s my point exactly. People seem to think that if you go to Mexico, you’ll either be killed or kidnapped. In reality there are very few places in Mexico where you would actually have to watch yourself, and I could probably count those neighborhoods on one hand (if that hand only had 2 fingers). And even if you did go to those 2 neighborhoods, you still wouldn’t be killed because you’re not part of a Mexican drug cartel or the police that’s fighting them. We traveled the entire length of the country safely, and that flies in the face of what the news tells us.

    Comment by Brad on March 9, 2012 at 9:35 am

  6. BUt its soooo dangerous!

    Comment by James on March 9, 2012 at 11:54 am

  7. Linda

    Love reading about your adventures. Awesome.

    Comment by Linda on March 9, 2012 at 12:48 pm

  8. mario

    que buen relato…………..suerte ,,,,,estamos atento a tu viaje!!!! saludos

    Comment by mario on March 9, 2012 at 3:15 pm

  9. Sherrie Aoki

    Brad, nicely put. Sadly, even this media bias has tainted my 11 year old daughter’s young mind and she wasn’t at all interested in accompanying me on my roadtrip several summers ago to New Mexico for fear she’d be killed or maimed!! I am glad to hear the Mexico of my past fond memories hasn’t really changed that much, and I’m talking ages ago as in the late 70s. Viva Mexico, Salud!

    Comment by Sherrie Aoki on March 10, 2012 at 5:37 pm

  10. So glad you posted this. It is exhausting to always try to explain to people in the US about how we’re NOT terrified to go to Mexico. Now that we are on less of a time crunch considering we’ve totally blown our timeline out of the water, I think we may try to spend more time there than we’d initially planned… (maybe two months rather than just one) JUST so we can see more of its beauty and culture.

    Comment by wendy pearson on March 11, 2012 at 10:32 am

  11. Shawna Rodriguez

    THANK YOU!!!! I am so sick and tired of the gasps and shocked faces from people when we tell them we are moving to Mexico. They look at me like I’m some crazy person! Mexico is good enough for vacations and honey moons but not living. huh….. So anyways, yes! We are finally doing it. The date is set. I have all the forms and information I need for the boys double nationality and we just received our passports last week. We are so excited. You and Sheena will have to stop by on your next around-the-world trip :)

    Comment by Shawna Rodriguez on March 20, 2012 at 9:41 am

  12. Garrett

    In all fairness, a quick Google search of “Areas of Drug Violence in Mexico” shows that you bypassed those areas completely by coming down Baja and ferrying to Matazlan. It seems you also missed the southern violent areas (North of Acapulco and around Veracruz) by choice of route.

    I think your time in Mexico has been enjoyable not because the country is particularly safe but because of your great attitudes and laid back lifestyle. If you were drunk teenagers hotroddin’ around and running off at the mouth you’d find trouble very quickly. But it’s the respect you gave that got you respect in return.

    Comment by Garrett on March 20, 2012 at 10:49 am

  13. Garrett, I agree with you that having a good attitude helps. People who expect bad things to happen often find bad things happening. However, I wouldn’t hesitate to drive into Veracruz or any other “trouble area” in Mexico (BTW I think the State Dept has a “certain death” warning out for Sinaloa, where we spent much time). Millions and millions of people live in these “trouble areas” without being killed. It’s mostly the drug cartel members and the members of the police that are fighting them that are being killed. Much in the same way that the Bloods and the Crips gave LA a bad name, although you didn’t have much to fear as a non-gang member. As for hotrodding loud mouthed drunkards, well, they’d be in trouble no matter where they went.

    Comment by Brad on March 20, 2012 at 12:07 pm

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