It didn't take long for word to spread that I was leaving. There were many questions, but the main queries were these: "What about the drug gangs?; "Will you be safe?"; "Where are you going?", and "Why are you going?"
The first two were the biggies. There has been so much bad press with the drug wars and beheadings going on that everyone was worried. I tried to assure folks that I wasn't headed to a border area were the violence is concentrated. I also explained that I would be at least as safe there as I would be in Ft. Wayne. I found a video on utube by an ex-Dallas policeman who lives in Ajijic--and has for years. I tried to steer people toward it as it answers the obvious questions. You can see it here .
Many imagined that I would be living in a hovel without any amenities miles from civilization. Sometimes we gringos forget that there are plenty of places in the U.S. where people are living without creature comforts. But videos like this one about the town of Chapala show what a beautiful city it is and can put one's mind more at ease. See it here.
In any event, the most dangerous part of the trip for me will be crossing the border at Laredo, Texas. On the other side, Nuevo Laredo has seen vicious murders and beheadings. I will worry there, but I will cross very early in the morning and will have Duke with me. I know what a softy he is but he certainly looks menacing!
O.K. . . . Maybe not so much!
The "Where are you going" I could answer fairly easily--but the "Why are you going" was tougher. It was hard to explain that after years of seeing to the needs of others--and that went back even farther than my time with the church--I just needed a breather; a time to refresh and re-connect spiritually. It could never happen here; I was too involved. There was the church, the free health clinic I helped to found, local and state politics, my old union local, etc. etc.. If I stayed in the area I'd get caught up in everything once again.
But "Why not in the U.S.?" many wanted to know. I explained the cost of living was much better as was the weather; it would be an adventure . . . and . . . I would be forced to see everything, including myself, in a different light.
Not everyone understood, I know, but most everyone seemed to take my word that it was necessary.
I knew I would be answering questions right up until I left. I also knew I would be saying, "Come on down and visit and see for yourself!
Next: Continuing to check things out: Cancun and environs.