The official Day of the Dead festivities here in Sayulita were a fairly raucous affair, with well-known bands, giant dancers (no, really) a party that ran until the small hours.
As darkness fell the day before, though, a more subdued celebration took place in the main plaza. Memorials to those who had died throughout the year had been erected throughout the day, and friends and relatives of the deceased lit candles in their memory.
They were simple yet poignant reminders that none of us will be here forever.Continue Reading →
Last week I celebrated two years on the road. It wasn’t a big celebration – I’d had that with friends a few nights earlier – but as Lauren and I ate smoked fish and polished off a bottle of wine, we unsurprisingly got to talking about the most memorable aspects of our travels.
“What are your three favourite cities?” one of us would ask, and then we’d both have to come up with an answer. “How about your favourite meals? Guesthouses? Sunsets?”
I was as surprised by the differences between our choices as the similarities, and we ended up playing that game for hours. I’m sure that had nothing to do with the wine, of course.
Since I figured that perhaps Lauren might not be the only person interested in those answers, I decided to write down as many as I could remember here as well.Continue Reading →
There aren’t many cemeteries around the world that I’d willingly spend much time in, but the one here in Sayulita is an exception. It’s a bright, colourful mass of gravestones and mausoleums, strewn up and down a rocky hill that overlooks the beach and town below.
Rather than a place for sadness, it seems like somewhere to celebrate the life of those who have departed. Surfboards dot the landscape, along with other mementos of the deceased. There’s even a little beach at the end of the path (Playa de Los Muertos, literally ‘Beach of the Dead’), and all in all it doesn’t look or feel like any other cemetery I’ve visited.
I was there the afternoon before the Day of the Dead celebrations here in Mexico, and families were out tidying up the graves of their loved ones in preparation, chatting away as they weeded and polished.
If I was going to be buried anywhere when I do, I can think of far worse places than this.Continue Reading →
Twenty four months.
It’s a long time to be on the road.
I’ll hit that milestone tomorrow, a long way removed in distance and experience from when I flew out of Melbourne to start this journey. Even though I was ready to leave, I had no idea what the future would hold. Where would I go? Who would I meet? How would I make enough money to survive? I really wasn’t sure.
Of course, it all turned out for the best. It invariably does.Continue Reading →
Beaches and animals, beaches and animals… they seem to be a common theme in my Friday photos lately. To be fair, they’re a common theme in my life at the moment as well.
Here in Sayulita iguanas are a common sight, scrambling up (and then falling out of) trees, terrorising the local chicken population or just slinking away into the undergrowth whenever someone approaches a little too close. Having never been anywhere else where they’re such a fixture, I’m totally transfixed every time I see one.
There’s a particular tree on one of the side streets that’s locally famous for its resident iguana population – it – and they – are apparently both protected. At least, I think that’s what the sign says.
I happened to walk past it today, and glanced upwards to see this particularly impressive specimen sitting motionless on a branch. Perhaps it was just getting a good vantage point for the Day of the Dead celebrations that were due to start later in the day…Continue Reading →
Like much of the rest of New Mexico, I knew little about White Sands National Monument before I visited it. I had no idea, for instance, that it’s actually part of a US government missile testing range. I wasn’t aware that it’s a relic from the last ice age when a vast lake covered the entire region, or that back in 2007 local residents actually campaigned to have White Sands removed from a list of tentative World Heritage sites.
I was also completely unaware that it would end up being the most fun – and most beautiful – place I visited on this entire Southwest road trip.Continue Reading →
I know, I know, it’s another Sayulita beach photo… but this one’s a bit different.
Every day this week a local turtle conservation organisation has been releasing endangered baby turtles into the ocean at sunset. It’s all very low key, with a few tourists and locals watching as a small section of beach is cleared and the little creatures set off in a frantic flapping dash towards the breaking waves.
Under natural conditions only one in a thousand babies even make it to the water, so the volunteers do everything they can to improve the odds. Collecting the hatchlings and waiting until sunset means that the ever-present sea birds won’t get a free snack, while a beach free of obstructions and roaming dogs has to help as well.
Despite the low odds, it’s hard not to root for the cute little things as they stumble down the beach. I may even have cheered when this one finally got covered in surf, sucked into the waves as the last rays of light disappeared over the horizon.
I hope she made it.
I really can’t believe it took me this long. I first started this site nearly four years ago while bored to death at my desk, pretending to do a job that I hated. It was November 2009, and at the time I knew nothing about Wordpress, had never used Twitter and had only recently realised that travel blogging was even a thing. I was in a hurry to start writing so I did a quick search for free themes, installed one that seemed ok and started typing.
As it turned out, the theme that I went for was a terrible choice. It wasn’t really designed for Wordpress, and it showed. Pretty much everything needed coding by hand – for the first couple of years, even the home page was static. What does that mean? Well, every time I published a new post, I had to manually modify the page to make sure it showed up. Everything I wanted to show in the sidebar or footer, likewise, required some hand-written PHP code.
On the upside, it meant that I learned a lot about web coding very quickly. On the downside, well, everything else. As time went by and my spaghetti code grew, the site became almost impossible to maintain. It didn’t look great on mobile devices (well, it didn’t look great on anything, but it was even worse on mobile). There was no real branding, colours and fonts were a mess and the whole thing looked and felt like it was held together by chewing gum and chicken wire.
It was time for a change.Continue Reading →