I wish I could say that I found my groove as though I had never left it behind. I wish I could say that I breezed back into backpacker-hood with ease and completely sane.
But I did not.
When we were first shown to our ‘budget’ accommodation I sat on the bed and looked at Prue with big pleading eyes. This was to no good use, we had pre-booked and PRE-bloody-PAID for three whole nights in an absolute dump, a dump that was still going to cost us over 40 dollars per night. Almost close to stamping my feet I glared dismally around my room, taking in the boys vision of ‘art,’ a rippling sunset of reds and orange from the ceiling to the floor. Only the fourth wall had anything resembling talent, a bright red girl, painted on a white background. She seemed content surrounded by a plethora of flowers and lighting a joint within her delicate hands. I however, was far from content and did what any rational person would do in my situation, start hyperventilating.
Sitting down, the mattress creaked as several tired springs rejected my arrival. By now I was beside myself and cursing this horrible hostel and the tourist trap that is Playa Del Carmen. I knew we shouldn’t have come but we were meeting friends and that was going to be worth it. Nevertheless I sat dejected as Prue looked on, deep down we knew that we shouldn’t have expected more from a place translated to ‘Wizard Hostel.’
Suddenly breaking the silence between us was an explosion of noise… and err spanking. Yes, you heard me, spanking. Loud and clear an eruption of moans penetrated (pun intended) the room. Prue looked down at her phone before casting her eyes once again my way.
“Happy Valentines Day” she murmured through a sorry smile.
We continued to look at one another, a long silent stare that asked “do we laugh or do we cry?” Through no decision of my own I felt my stomach fold over and we simultaneously roared with absolute joy. I laughed so hard that my sides split and the tears that had started to well from sadness exited now as the result of utter joy.
It’s amazing what difference a fantastic world travel buddy can make.
After the tears dried and we redeemed our composure I was able to see our situation in a better place. Still I had to wonder, could I really return to this life, could my backpacker days be over?
I now understand that rather than black or white the answer to this question is grey. Yes I can easily survive a travellers lifestyle but not in the same way that perhaps I once did. My 30 year old self requires more than this underbelly lifestyle, I have my limits. A springy mattress I can handle but sheets that don’t cover this mattress, I cannot. A mildly grotty shower I can handle, but the chance of being touched by any bath curtain, I cannot… Oh the list can go on and on.
So what about our prepaid nights… well needless to say, I survived. I survived them by ignoring the free breakfast, by asking for brand new sheets and by knowing that my budget, from now on, will stretch and can stretch a little father than this s*** hole.