Phillip Smith
covering

Mexico: Week eight. All your base are belong to us.

From Oaxaca, Mexico, 2012

Typically, there comes a point for me when the place I’m living becomes “home base.” And by home base, I mean the place where I want to leave my things, and the place where I want to return to after a long trip. I’m on the edge of that now with Oaxaca.

I’ve been here a bit more than eight weeks, I own a bike, a couch, and various other things that are kinda’ hard to pack into a carry-on bag. I have a cute little one-bedroom apartment in a quiet part of the city, just north of the “Centro” and across the street from an organic market. I take my breakfast outside on the front porch (where I’m writing this) while a cool summer breeze sways the big leaves on the palm tree in the courtyard. It’s pretty hard to beat.

I know that it’s one of the driest winters in history for Toronto – a fact that many of my friends there have been only too happy to over-share with me – but, as warm as the Toronto winter gets, I’m quite sure it’s still winter.

All that said, Oaxaca feels like a place where people are always going to, coming from, or getting lost in for a while. My visit here has been dotted with “despididas” – ostensibly, a going away party, but they tend to happen for several days in a row – which makes it feel like someone is always leaving. In fact, my first night in Oaxaca was memorable because we went to a despidida for Roberto, where I met many of the people that I know now.

It makes me wonder if I’ve actually met people anywhere other than a going away party? Anyway, there’s something about the coming and going that seems to shape many of the interactions that people have here: I get the sense that when I meet new people they’re evaluating how long I’ll be sticking around.

“Are you a tourist?”

“Are you an ex-pat just here for the winter?”

“Are you working at a local NGO?”

“How long have you been here; how long will you be here?”

… and so it goes.

It’s only two-and-a-half months until I’ll be flying back to Vancouver to deliver a workshop, and then to Toronto to speak at a conference. It’s hard to imagine being back in Canada just ten weeks from now.

Then there is the pressing question: what’s next?

I’m going to take the next couple of weeks to ponder that question. I feel quite certain that moving back to Toronto is not in the cards right now: I love that city, but I’ve got the rest of my life to live in Toronto. Right now, it just feels like everywhere but Toronto is the most inspiring, exciting – fuck, exhilarating – option.

The biggest challenge? Missing the awesome individuals I know in Toronto. I’m putting a wish out there to the universe that they’ll come and visit me wherever I am, because I’ll always have a couch on offer and – most likely – weather that is warmer than the warmest winter Toronto will ever have. :)

Here’s to not getting lost.

About

Hi, I'm Phillip Smith, a veteran digital publishing consultant, online advocacy specialist, and strategic convener. If you enjoyed reading this, find me on Twitter and I'll keep you updated.

Related

Dear Internet, can we talk? We have an information pollution problem of epic proportions.

Misinformation and disinformation are not challenges specific to any single platform, or the responsibility of any single company: they r...… Continue reading