Elisha Baker recently traveled outside her home country for her first extended stay last summer 2017. At the time, Ben and I were living in Cozumel, Mexico and she came to join us for a week. Prior to this trip to Mexico, Elisha had visited Mexico on a day trip over the border. “I wanted to go to more tropical Mexico. That was always something I wanted to do. Not just across a border town, but like a vacation destination. Lots of friends have gone, [My mom and dad] used to go to Cabo all the time, then went to Belize, and Ben went on his mission to Belize. When they went diving all the time, I wanted to go bad. I’ve always wanted to certify. If I had the opportunity to do it, I would.”
We asked if there was a single moment that made her want to travel, she said “Probably just watching other people travel. I always like to experience new things and have adventures.” Later, Elisha recounted what stood out most to her about her time in Mexico with us. “Probably that everything I was afraid of wasn’t a big deal. Anything that was really intimidating in my mind, really wasn’t when I got there. Not speaking the language [intimidated me], but there were enough people in most of the places that you go that spoke English. Probably even still, Ben alleviated the intimidation of being ripped off, taken advantage of with car rentals, and all that kind of stuff. Having him listen to what they were saying in Spanish helped a lot for me. The fact that he could understand them, and they didn’t really know he could was really helpful. And then he could communicate with them when we needed him to, that helped.”
“You always hear about the bad things and the crime and all that stuff, and it really wasn’t that big of a deal to me. I was really surprised in Cozumel that families were out at night when we went down to the town square at like 10 at night. It makes sense, but I was surprised. I didn’t anticipate that. I thought it would be more rough. I still wouldn’t want to be a single woman out there by myself because I think that there’s enough places that you wouldn’t want to go alone, but I was really surprised that there were so many families and kids.”
“I still don’t know that I would go alone, I don’t know that It’s smart to go alone. Traveling as far as the airports and stuff, I planned it so that I wouldn’t have a layover in Mexico City by myself. My layovers were in the United States, but I don’t believe I would still do it by myself. I don’t think Europe would scare me as much as Mexico or somewhere more [3rd-world], but you do, you hear about all the bad things, you don’t necessarily hear about the normal part of it. The people were so nice and so accommodating and everything. They want your money, so they’re going to treat you right, but all the heckling and stuff really bothered me. Asking to fill my Camelbak with tequila, you know, that’s a little intimidating.”
Finally, we asked Elisha about her favorite part of the whole trip. “I liked the ruins and I liked the non-planned part of it, like the non-tourist part of it.” Referring to a stone carver’s shop/home we found while exploring the island, Elisha said “For the time we spent together, I loved the little shop we found in the middle of the island. Just how nice he was, I loved that part of it, but if I was alone, or just 2 females, I would have stuck to just the touristy things. I just liked how nice he was and how small, clean and personal it seemed. I loved that he made a living at what he loved to do. Even, I’m going to say, as poor and simple life was, he still offered everything he had. I mean, he offered accommodations, he called ahead and made us arrangement for a place to eat and I just liked that he was really accommodating.” We smiled as we remembered the sweet man’s offer to come stay at his home if we ever returned.