2019 – A Story About Tulum

Hi guys, long time no talk – well sort of, I’ve been active over on Instagram. Sharing videos and photos from our recent trip to Tulum, Mexico!

Before I get into the fun vacation post (which will come, very soon), there’s been something sitting on my heart since the moment that we left Mexico.

On our ride to Chichen Itza, the most famous Mayan ruin still standing – our Google Maps took us on a two hour ride that traversed through the back roads of rural Mexico. We saw beautiful jungles filled with miles and miles of trees. Our tires traveled through dirt roads and ventured through winding paved roads. We cruised through rural towns where stray dogs roamed freely, laying in the shade of the local shops.

At one point along our journey, about half way through, we pulled to a road that split into a T. At the corner of the T was a little boy, no older than 7 or 8 years old going up to the cars who were about to turn. He was making motions to his mouth with his fingers that signaled eating – he was begging for food.

The expression on his face was one of desperation – for food, for water, for hope. He looked defeated, who knows how long he had been out there. I locked eyes with him and my heart instantly broke, we had nothing to offer him. We didn’t even have any Pesos to give him let alone a snack.

That entire experience lasted no longer than thirty seconds, from the time that our car pulled to the corner of the T to when we turned away. Billy and I went silent for the next couple of minutes, both having the same experience and feelings of heartbreak for the young boy.

Since that moment, I’ve had sort of a weird feeling inside of me. How can I live this life when there’s people in this world, young children, who go days without food or water. Why is there so much privilege in some parts of the world where other parts struggle just to survive.

I will never forget the look in that young boys eyes – desperation.

But the story gets a little bit better.

On that same road, about thirty minutes later we watched as a little girl biked her grandmother in a cart filled with firewood back home. She had to have traveled all day to go collect the wood – I imagine this entire journey took nearly twelve or more hours.

All throughout our car ride we passed through small towns, miles and miles apart where the entire population of the town (probably only fifty people) were sitting outside of their houses and family ran stores.

Young children played as their parents cooked or worked the shops – all connected, intertwined, smiling and happy. Not staring down at their phones. Not gathered around a television. But interacting, joyful and content.

Billy describes this as “eudaimonia” – a term borrowed from the Greek that means the good life. It describes the feeling you get when the major areas of your life are beautifully intertwined (health, wealth, love and happiness).

These two stories, while completely different describe the story of Mexico from what we experienced.

I write this to share our experience in hopes that it will open your eyes. Perhaps bring a greater feeling of gratitude for what you do have and empathy towards global equality.

I’m rolling into the new year feeling grounded and aware of the privilege that I’ve been given. The luxury of being able to turn on a sink faucet and get clean water to drink, eat and clean with. The privilege of having easy access to food and water. Electricity that turns on with the flip of a switch, unlike the city of Punta Allen where the government has promised them electricity for years but still they’ve had no luck getting it.

I’m also understanding that the majority of the world isn’t so fortunate. There are so many charitable organizations who help to bring clean drinking water to those in need – I have donated to charity water before and feel even more compelled to get involved with their mission after our latest trip.

So, next time that I want to complain about something not going my way or not working out how I envisioned it – I’ll remember the expression on that little boy’s face when he was begging for food. There are so many bigger issues going on in the world than the tiny ones going inside of our heads.

All my love,

Emily

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