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The Land of Beautiful Recklessness

 

This past week, since we landed in Italy, has felt like a decompression period, allowing our bodies to recalibrate to the 7 hour time difference and giving our perspectives the space to adjust to cultural differences. Initially, I felt a tad melancholy leaving Mexico behind. Nation of chefs, artists, musicians and lovers. Land of eggs sold individually, free tortillas with every meal and snack vendors on every bus ride. A place where strangers greet strangers with “holas”, people refer to you as amigo whether they know you or not and the typical greeting is a hug (with a peck on the cheek if a woman is involved). Some adjectives that readily come to mind when thinking about the people of Mexico are carefree, tolerant and unobtrusive. Perhaps some foreigners may interpret those same traits as lazy, indifferent and unhelpful, but I would postulate that those folks haven’t taken the time or allowed themselves to slide below the surface a bit and get to know the true Mexican character.

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Posted in Blog

Workaway in Valle De Bravo

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After nearly 3 months of staying in Airbnbs and guesthouses, we shifted gears into the realm of Workaway. Workaway is a global network that connects hosts with workers through its website. Each host has their own set of guidelines and expectations for how their arrangements are set up, but the generally accepted parameters for a Workaway stint are that the worker puts in 5 hours of labor per day, 5 days a week in exchange for accommodations and food during their stay with the host, with no money exchanged. Workaway is similar to its predecessor, WWOOF, but where WWOOF is primarily focused on placing workers on organic farms and other sustainable agriculture projects, Workaway is much broader in it’s scope. A Workaway host may request a wide variety of tasks to be performed, from farming to construction to language teaching to child care to helping out in a hostel, and any number of other odd jobs.

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This was our first Workaway experience of many to come. We have 3 lined up in Slovenia this summer, and we’re working on setting up a few more in Croatia and Montenegro. Besides being an ideal vehicle for sharing our skills and also picking up new skill sets, it’s an excellent way to extend our travels, as virtually all of our basic expenses are covered. And after 3 months of not working at all, it feels good to get our hands dirty again, not to mention the satisfaction of getting something productive done. A 25 hour work week with 2 days off gives us plenty of time to explore the area, which is why we choose Workaways in regions that are beautiful, interesting and ripe with exploration opportunities. And certainly Valle De Bravo fits that description perfectly.

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Street food in Mexico

As we wind down our last week in Mexico, I’d like to reflect on some of the incredible street food we experienced over the past 2 1/2 months. This is by no means a comprehensive guide to all street food in Mexico, as it would take years to explore all that this country has to offer. Rather, this is a greatest hits of some of the tasty treasures we discovered on our journey. Many travelers feel that it is risky to eat street food here, but I think it’s as safe or even safer than restaurant food as long as it’s hot and the cooking area is generally clean. On the street you have the advantage of seeing exactly what’s going on, whereas you have no idea what kind of sketchy shit might be happening in a closed restaurant kitchen. And a lot of the time I found that food on the street just tastes better than comparable dishes in a restaurant. Street food is also extremely affordable. For a frame of reference, one dollar was worth between 19 and 20 pesos during our time here.

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