Part II ~ "Why I love Mexico" ~ Diversity: Language, Food, Tradition
Part II of a 3 part series. For those who are ready for a life-changing experience, I am offering an opportunity to experience the magical beauty of Mexico first-hand this April 2016. See below for details.
Traveling pushes us out of our comfort zone and we may be faced with many fears including not understanding a language or getting lost. When we decide to leave the comfort of our familiar lives and routines we also choose to grow ~ growth can only happen through change. Following growth comes JOY.
From Mexico City to remote Mayan villages, colorful, deep rooted tradition can be felt and seen everywhere throughout the country. When I began traveling, I was surprised to learn that not everyone speaks Spanish; 1.4 million speak Nahuatl, over three quarters of a million speak Yucatan Maya, and about half a million Mixtec.
For the most part, if you are visiting larger cities and areas frequented by tourists, most people will speak Spanish (and Engllish depending on where you are).
If you don't speak Spanish, learning a few words or phrases will add a new dimension to your travels and your efforts will be appreciated.
This diversity of course spills over into all aspects of the culture, including food (which of course I have to write about).
When most think of Mexico, the main staples of rice, beans, corn, and chilies first come to mind.
However, each region has it’s own signature ingredients and style of cuisine. If you are in a small fishing village along the coast, you will find lighter fare such as ceviche and fish tacos with a variety of salsas made with fresh peppers and fruits. Inland the foods tend to be heavier as the climates can be cooler.
Oaxaca for example, is known for it’s cheese, mole sauces, and chocolate delicacies (including an amazing mole); oh and not so heavy but famous - grasshoppers. That being said - if you prefer a vegetarian or vegan diet it is possible to eat delicious and satisfying foods - sin animals and insects just about anywhere in Mexico. You just need to know how to ask.
Experiencing new cuisine is always an exciting adventure. You leave with a new arsenal of ingredients and inspiration to incorporate and create new recipes into your daily meal plan. And with most Mexican cuisine, it will surely spice up your life!
Dining al fresco is standard in many areas of Mexico. From higher end restaurants and cafes to tiny hand-crafted taco carts, many have outdoor seating and kitchens as well. Who doesn’t want to eat all their meals outdoors on a warm, breezy, sunny day?
You can find fresh tortillas and delicious drinks made with fresh fruit, herbs, veggies, and rice (horchata) in almost every region. This is definitely something I love; what could be better than finding fresh juices everywhere AND al fresco dining?
One of the great benefits of traveling in Mexico is the accessibility to fresh fruit & vegetable drinks. There is always a fresh juice available somewhere - even if in the middle of nowhere! This is great for staying hydrated and energized while traveling.
A favorite is a blend of fresh pineapple, mango, and chaya (a local wild crafted herb similar to spinach). Chaya is also used in a number of recipes in the Yucatan. It not only tastes great but is loaded with vitamins and minerals that surpass spinach. My second choice would be watermelon juice. Always be sure to ask "sin azucar" (no sugar).
The markets (mercados) are generally a mix of food, drinks (prepared, fresh, dried) and artisan wares such as textiles, pottery, jewelry, etc. Of course each region has it’s own specialty and some of the larger markets have items shipped from all regions of the country. Shopping at the mercados gives you an opportunity to not only experience a fresh local meal, but also meet the artisans; men and women who are keeping alive the traditions of their region and culture. Besides the unique experience, you are supporting the local economy and you can take something home with you to remind you of your adventure.
MEXICO - A SENSORY ADVENTURE
And this year, I am excited to be offering an opportunity to join me on a sensory adventure to Mexico in April 2016 where we will explore an area of the Mayan Riviera and Yucatan Peninsula. This trip will be similar to the one I took with my son. Although the itinerary will be slightly different, we will be in the Yucatan Peninsula and Mayan Riviera region of Mexico.
So are you ready to explore, learn, grow, and immerse yourself in an adventure of a lifetime?
Your adventure will be the perfect blend of relaxation and exploration - a combination retreat and tour. Traveling and attending a retreat both facilitate growth and evolution. All activities are designed to give you an opportunity to expand and develop mind, body and spirit on your own personal level.
Hope you can join us on this magical and exciting journey to one of the most beautiful, colorful, and traditionally rich countries on the planet ~ Mexico!
For more details and photos feel free to contact me.
This is Part II (Diversity ~ Language, Food, Tradition) of a three part series ~ "Why I Love Mexico". Up Next:
Part I ~ Magic, Beauty, Fear of Flying
Part III ~ Art, Nature, History, Spirit, Beauty
A note about Safety Concerns:
I know some people are concerned with safety when considering travel in Mexico.
Mexico is a HUGE country, and just like anywhere else including the U.S., there are certain areas that are more dangerous than others (currently in Mexico these are mostly the border towns and the western part of the country - the opposite side of where we will be). Please be assured that we will not be near any of these locations. We are only traveling to very SAFE areas geared mainly for tourists. As with anywhere you travel, you just need to use common sense and take standard precautions, i.e. be aware of your surroundings, don't flash valuables around, and don't leave your wallet on the beach (seriously, people do that).
I have been making numerous trips to Mexico since 1992; including extensive traveling throughout Mexico and Central America for almost 1 year solo as a single woman and I never felt threatened. Last year in 2014, I traveled with my teenage son, a female friend and her teen son. We traveled to 3 different places by local bus and never felt afraid or uncomfortable. This is the same area that we will be going with our group. This area is very family oriented and SAFE. I would not risk bring my son or anyone (including myself) to a high risk area, I’m not that brave ; ) .