Category: Travels

July 11 / Life

Are you sailing back or flying?

The fact that this question can even be made, it means that there are options.
-Flying, this time I’m flying.

I bought an airplane ticket that will take me back to Mexico in thirty something hours by plane, but the journey to come here took me almost a year on a sailboat. The world can be a bizarre place.

Yesterday I dreamt that I finally left the island, that L was taking me to the airport, that my passport was expired, and I didn’t know if Mexico would recognize me.
I’ve changed so much. I don’t even remember how tacos taste.
That’s why I bought a return ticket, because one day I said: “my grandmother’s food” but I no longer knew what I was talking about; seems that I don’t remember anymore, but that I am rather inventing, and this can be scary.

I left behind my home, friends, my brother while he was still a kid , my nephew when he still didn’t know how to speak, my dogs when they were not yet old, my cousin when she was single, my grandfather when he still lived. I mean, children grow, the older get older, the food gets eaten without me, my friends are getting drunk, and my girlfriends are marrying and having weddings with an empty seat that has my name.

These are the big and small sacrifices for the one who goes away and makes small families everywhere. We have houses and dogs, and routines of the day, even if for others this place is far and unknown, to me is close and familiar. Here I have a small family, the wind brought me to New Zealand and  I have woven a life.

I telephoned my grandmother, she was so happy, we laugh
Grandma, I said, I’m calling on Skype,
(Although she does not know what Skype is)
She tells me: Hija, every day I think of you,
and I think: many kilometers behind the sea
half a turn of Earth separates us
but I call you and you still say:
Hija! every day I think of you.

Then I got hungry and bought a flight ticket.

(Photo: Halfway between Mexico and New Zealand 2013, Tom took that GPS screenshot, perhaps in Bora Bora or Mopelia, or one of those invisible islands)

August 4 / Creative Challange

{Day 14 of 30}

They were waiting for at the bus stop in Auckland. I left the village waving from the window with my right hand to a group of elders who came to say good-bye. It was a long trip, a rainy and unexpected warm day. It reminded me of my college days when coming back from Guanajuato to my home town at the end of the week and one of my parents used to picked me up at night from the stop.  Here, in the other side of the world, two big Maori guys wating for me. They took me (again!)  to  Cameron Street, the house where we would find their dad, uncle, aunty,  an extra trampoline in the garden, a new boat in the garage, a potato growing in the window, and two small baby cats jumping around in the mattress where I sleep.

And from that mattress in the living room I hear the waves licking the beach in the distance. This beloved sound is part of me and I could not be more present now… The people and everything there in the village, the sheep, the mountains, all have become blurred in my mind. Like sticking my hand in my pocket looking for something and I just find emptiness. Thinking – Did I forget to put them here? All the memories? I was sure to have saved them in my right pocket – there is nothing. An empty hand.

I think perhaps everything is about the “inner journey” and the “external journey” is another way of that same inner journey. Why people travel to see beautiful countries, exotic places, have experiences? It is simple: To feel ourselves there.  To experience ourselves – there.
Where do I feel that experience? Where do I feel the landscape I see? Perhaps I feel it inside, somewhere in the chest?
Where do I feel the streets of the foreign country for which  I walk? Is it perhaps on my own feet?
Where do I feel the exotic food? Would not it be in my own mouth?
And then we travel to experience these things but in reality is about ourselves, right? What we seek is to experience ourselves. What we seek we carry it already with us.

I crossed the block to go walking along the beach and did not recognize the ocean. Maybe because it is a winter sea. It is a cold sea and I wear a jacket, and tennis shoes, and I can’t feel the sand between my toes, no warmth sun in the skin, and neither the stickiness of sweat under the armpits. Of course! so far I had not seen the sea in winter. It feels weird to see something so familiar and at the same time feels new. 

The next few days passed between movies, walks on the beach and meeting with Thomas’s friends. So many young people! I exclaim which resulted very funny. With Leo we went for rides in the car at night. We drove up the mountain so he could smoke a cigarette. And with the night view of Auckland and wearing huge jackets:

I could call myself homeless if you want to see it like that… I say remembering the TV program we saw by chance was a guy interviewed some homeless in the city.
– Leo laughs.
– Or … I can say that I feel at home everywhere.
Haha, you are funny Tulia. That’s true, you are definitely Not homeless.
– Although, I can’t stop craving for tacos!

Those days between the letters I received and wrote, I tell S:

Exactly where I feel “at home” or “foreign”?
If that feeling of being at home actually comes from inside us… because it is “here” where I feel it, right?  Then …  Is that some country, house, or group, gives us that  sense of belonging or maybe is something that comes from inside of us?

Because the truth is that… often I feel close the family from far away, and sometimes I felt “distant” even being in the same city.

“The Heart does not know any distance or journeys.”


Auckland City from Mt. Eden
Auckland City from Mt. Eden

{Day 13 of 30}

Will I remember this place?  The mountains? Shall I look around  wondering for the pine forests … the sheep, visits to the river? So far, the only place I feel sometimes nostalgia is for the Marquesas Islands, Nuku Hiva… if I strongly close my eyes and remember when we being welcome from the open sea. And it’s enjoyable, this nostalgia, to felt it so far…

“Remember” from Latin re-cordis:   through the heart again.

But Taumarunui is different. A village that has come out of the fog to give a welcome hug me for months and I know it will be lost back in the fog. Maybe that’s why I’ve taken so many pictures, vain subconscious attempt to keep something knowing it is a place that belongs among the clouds. I am grateful for my complete hibernation. It’s the perfect time to leave.

I feel so palpable the transience of places, situations, people and also 6 weeks seems such a life full of details, so full of different. Shedding sheep, drawings fog between the houses, different walks beside the same river, bike or ride the mountains alone or with company. No wonder how this time has passed. I feel part while I see from outside – all temporary… everything running on… When I arrived?, I was doing before this? Where was I? And then the feeling of the instant that encloses all (-or that forgets all). As knowing myself standing right here and be in constant motion … like the stream, the stream-time. And the inner understanding that:

Present is eternal.


And certainly I do not feel free … forgiven … saved … sure … not if I now that feeling of hang in the balance, of knowing that there is only a very slight line for something to go out of place in the universe, of better say: to fit differently. –  It is so thin the small change in perception and yet it changes everything. Maybe it’s this little tension, of knowing that in a thin inner line makes me feel throbbing and present.

Today I spent a whole day listening to talk C and P about their trip. Sometimes with genuine care, other joking, others only present with a blank mind (not needed anyway response) at the end of the night the point where I wonder if I am doing some effort to pay attention or not to put it? As the TV: I have the inability to watch it.  The TV just does not capture my attention, I see into a meditative state but I’m not seeing more than a reference point in the room.

I’m feeling much love for everyone, Greame, the home owners, Lynn, Robin, Mark, and Kiko the cat … knowing me into them… knowing they show me a part of “me.” One type of love rather neutral.

Last day in Taumarunui I tell myself…

Wash bedding
Shaking subtracted silhouettes
Remove odors of love from the pillows
Ignite memories and diaries
Pack with special care not to get ghosts
Make a deal with the witness cat
Watering plants with fluids leftovers
The last evening in the bath – boiling water
Collect kiwis for friends in Auckland
Say goodbye to my loved sheep
And my rubber boots…
And my work gloves that I will never use again…
Because I am done with being farmer: it’s time to city.
I left a warm and inhabited house.
The owners will never know the reasons for the sudden urge
Of wanting to make out in front of the fire
On the carpet that one day turned into camping, and war and love zone.
Taumarunui the place I’ve lived longer in NZ. Village of fog, so hidden from everything else … populated by a thousand old people playing bingo on Wednesdays and loving walking as much as ice cream and tea.
I leave spoiled, good eaten, and full of kisses.
Another place where I temporarily belong.

What Desafío Creativo is?

Is a Dynamic  that started in Caminomundos.  The challenge is to do some creative work for 30 consecutive days, can be posts, poems, pictures, etc. Do you want to participate?

HERE: This is a creative writing experiment where I’m mixing my dairies. Sometimes I write from the present or sometimes I just post my old dairy that I wrote when I live aboard a sailboat for one year.

June 29 / Creative Challange

{Day 10 of 30}

No, is not what you imagine …  Standing in front of a group of 40 old ladies in an old house drinking tea. And in terms of Taumarunui, little town in the mountains of New Zealand … this is a Women’s Club.  Today they gather to listen the talk of a Mexican who came for some sort of coincidences … I wonder if this is only in appearance and there are more mysterious reasons behind this meeting of so many old ladies …  maybe they make secret plannings to invade the village with pastries , planting flowers in the corners, or exchanging all plastic tablecloths of the-only- coffee-shop for colored embroidery … maybe even they could be organizing an annual meeting to exchange secret recipes. Or it could even end by me turned into a white little mouse at the end of lunch like in that witches movie.

With all that… I still came. Half an hour before a lady came home to pick me up; I took a quick shower and look for something almost- decent to dress: a formal shirt, belt, pants and shoes… all black and gray. And I even dared to wonder if I would be “over dressed up”? The old ladies seem to have taken out their jewels and dresses (at least 20 years old). One day a week the Women’s Club gives them an excuse to spruce up … But,

What do a group of elder ladies from New Zealand want to know about me??

As I entered the room a delicious smell of food filled me up. They served a pumpkin cream and pastries … everyone talked about his own recipe with more or less pepper but all agreed that they would not even have to do the dishes.

Mrs. Ruth sitting next to me, the only black hair woman since all the others has whites and fluffy like clouds in this country. The “chicken” of  74 years of group dressed in a long black skirt and boots … four or five earrings in each ear and has a form of juvenile talk, “Hey darling, so you better come and sit right here”. Intense blue-gray eyes…

-Dear, do you have already a husband? She asked.
– No, I tell them. Everybody laughing.
– You better enjoy now that you are free my dear… all of them say.
– I do not know if I’m going to marry…
– So you will see if you meet the right one 😉
– Hmm … (roll eyes) … no, I do not know. I say laughing – and not knowing is perhaps worse than saying no, because if a woman says “no” is “yes” and “yes” is often “no” … but if I say “do not know” … More laughter in table.
– Dear you’ll have to speak laud in your presentation here because half are almost deaf. Are you nervous about public speaking?
-Nothing at all, I say. I think it would be easier to be nervous when you take it personal or you want to give an impression of something. At this point I do not care to give any impression more than what comes in the moment.  And of course I don’t prepare a single word beforehand.

I get up, I get to the front – the stories with scripts and orders left behind, there is a spontaneity in this…  the angles, spaces, and words are now different every time. Different tales of the same one thing. Then I flew until the table in the house of my grandmother picking the smells, spices, and the view from the window and to even her… and bring them all to the living room in this old house where elderly kiwis – a hundred thousand miles from Mexico – can meet my grandmother Rosa.

In Mexico we eat at three in the afternoon! Not like in NZ having dinner as the main course … seems funny to them … hence it follows a river of curious things … until the day of the dead I say in Mexico is a colorful day (and my mind goes for a second the idea of touching a sensitive issue as how much they think about death in this age? almost want to ask them but just forget the issue in the next minute …

club de mujeres

-How are the houses?  Does your family drive a car?
-What language is spoken?
-Is New Mexico part of Mexico?
-How are the weddings?
-How many children people have?
-What about the elderly?
-Then you come from a rich family? (Many laughs after this lol! Not rich financially at least I tell)

-How did you get here? How do you cook on a boat? Did you were afraid to go with a stranger?

I tell them a bit about the “whys” and “hows” of traveling slowly, something about sailing and taking care of homes … but what really arises here is when I say:  the real reason I can travel in this way is for the trust . Trust among strangers. Several of them look at me with eyes of proud mom, I laugh … Finally hugs and good wishes of many of them …  There are these things that I get into it … and I sleep early because tomorrow they want to take me to the exercises group…  

What Desafío Creativo is?

Is a Dynamic  that started in Caminomundos.  The challenge is to do some creative work for 30 consecutive days, can be posts, poems, pictures, etc. Do you want to participate?

HERE: This is a creative writing experiment where I’m mixing my dairies. Sometimes I write from the present or sometimes I just post my old dairy that I wrote when I live aboard a sailboat for one year.

It started as questions from friends and ended up being this post.

Here are some ideas on what is traveling on a budget and websites that you can use for this. These answers came out during the conversation with friends who are about to start traveling.  I have a few years of experience living and traveling in alternative ways, and this is just a way to pass it forward.  If you have any questions about the information below or you’re about to start traveling, you can write me. Whether I respond in a post or reply you directly.

What is traveling with little money?


*Traveling on a budget is not being a tourist in the conventional way. It is a journey that is being created on the road. Not as a strict plan but rather a sketch and the opening of knowing that at any moment you can change.

*Travelling on a budget is to break your own structures. The same trip takes you to situations or flows in a way where you just break paradigms that you had before and you discover yourself in other contexts (like in a lost farm in New Zealand or on a sailboat in the ocean).

*Travelling this way will make you discover that money is relative and often live moving you spend less than when you’re established elsewhere.

*Traveling on a budget is to discover that money is not the only way of transaction. There are ways to share skills, knowledge, time, food, etc… It is an exchange whereby…

*Travel with little money is about connecting with others, even if you are very antisocial you end up sharing, meeting, exchanging with local people and other travelers.

*When travelling on a budget you will learn to give and receive freely … not only learning to accept help from others but it will born a genuine feeling of sharing, helping and giving (without expecting anything in return).

*Travelling with little money makes you creative and you will start devising ways to work on something you enjoy (instead of working for money).

*Travelling on a budget you rethink the concept of “needs“, you’ll see that having the latest I pad, pay the Gym, or having to take at least 5 beers is not necessary.

*Travelling with little money … also change the concept of time. You may want to extend your time on the road to make it slow because you will see that contrary to the popular belief, you spend less traveling slower (longer) than doing it quickly.

*Traveling on a budget is going out of your comfort zone and really gets into the trip.

“A good traveler has no fixed plans nor the intention of arriving” – Lao Tzu

The following websites are tools for traveling with little money; you can combine them with other “conventional” forms of travel. No matter how old you are or if you are traveling for a weekend or long term. Some web sites require a small fee to register.


Share a ride

People driving post their route and the number of available seats in the car in order to invite others to join the “raid” and share the costs. In addition to the company and the conversation during the trip is a pretty comfortable way to travel. In Europe there is  Carpooling and Blablacar. I used on my trip between Czech Republic, Germany and Switzerland,  with a ridiculous amount of money in comparison with train’s prices I crossed the tree countries.  In Australia, the USA and Canada there is Liftsurfer that is also great.  In Mexico there is growing fast the trend of using Uber. This is a reference but it depends on where are you Google: carpooling, or share ride + the country where you are.


For more adventurous another way to get around is hitchhiking. I’ve seen that is used worldwide, but here in New Zealand or countries with less population is easier. In  THIS web site people around the world post by country advice on how to hitchhike, recommendations, precautions, where it is legal, etc. 



UIs one of my favorites, is a community of people who offer and receive a place to stay worldwide. You may (or may not) accommodate travelers from anywhere and at the same time when you travel you can stay with people who “do not know” and yet have something in common. I used CS in many parts of Europe, Mexico, and New Zealand and even on the islands of Tahiti. * It is free but we ask for a one-time donation of $ 25USD to register.

Advantage or Disadvantage: it is good to review the profiles and write to people you feel something in common, read the references to get an idea of ​​how the dynamics … Some hosts want to take you to doing things or see around (but is not expected) others are more relaxed and let you go at your pace, in any case includes part of socializing and it depends how you feel about that.


Airbnb  (Rental to locals)

On this site you connect with people who have space available for rent, you can browse among a great many choices of rooms, apartments, houses tree, etc.. They have photos and references to other travelers have left telling his experience at the site. After contacting the owner you make the payment online using the same page. The advantage is that it can be much cheaper and also comfortable (not being a hotel) and you can search by times of medium-term (several weeks to months). Airbnb profiles are checked to make sure they are real, yet it is always advisable to read the references. * Registering is free.



People around the world are looking for someone to look after their house, water their plants or feed their pets while they are not at home. In exchange you have all the commodities of being in a house. It is a way of traveling slow and low cost, plus it allows you to know the countries as “local person”. The downside is that if you want to move fast or be away from home for a few days is complicated when you feed pets. The websites I know are  Trustedhousesitters and  Mindmyhouse. You can get more information (in Spanish) here.


There are several websites with similar dynamics. The idea is the exchange between travelers (who volunteer their time and work) with local people, organizations, etc… (Providing hosting and in some cases food included). The two most common sites are Workaway and HelpX. There are volunteering opportunities from farms, hostels, as Aupair (nanny), and some other more creative or adventurous. It’s a good way to travel in medium term and is all over the world. The expected hours of work vary depending on the country, and also the agreement you make. The contact is direct and you don’t to do paperwork to sign up in the websites.


WWOOF a group of organic farms worldwide seeking volunteers and exchanging work for a place to stay and food. They range from organizations to small family-owned farms. It’s a different way of traveling and close to nature.


Much of the world is water! And one way to explore it is being crew in private boats. There is a large community of Cruisers: people traveling on their sailboats in order to explore the world and do it slowly and in long term (a lot of them live full-time on their sailboats).
After living a year being crew in small sailboats (and having crossed the Pacific) I could write a guide of different ways to get a boat, what is expected of you being a crew, how to start or where to look … so I’ll leave for another time.

There are several pages, one of which is   FindaCrew. It is a place where captains and crew can get in touch.  Owners and captains offer crew positions to people whether they have experience or sometimes even without it.  Either for free, helping in the boat-work, collaborating with some of the running costs or sometimes just sharing food costs. There are a variety of opportunities around the world..

May 25 / Diary
Desde la granja 25 de mayo –

Registro importantísimo del día:

Cayó el diluvio, llovió todo el día y la noche… los árboles se han quedado pelones y ¡no tengo que regar las plantas!. La Catherine habló dos veces, le dije gracias no quiero salir. Insiste en que vaya a tomar una taza de té. ¡Con esta lluvia ni pensarlo! dice era el aniversario de su boda, y el marido ya no está… pero cada quién le reza a sus muertos… y yo ni siquiera le rezo a los míos, que me perdonen pero yo los tengo bien enterrados. Que si les invoco demasiado luego vienen a jalarme los pies, se me aparecen por la casa y no hay como sacárselos de encima… roen y roen y uno piensa el mueeerto me sigue… sin saber que es uno el que le da lata.

Pero escucho tus penas… a ver ¿quieres una taza de té? con leche, con miel, con esperanzas, con olores de juventud en las historias… el único chisme que podría contarte es que Kiko -el gato- se fugó por la madrugada el condenado, me estuve preguntando en que carajo rincón habrá ido a parar. O que el Sweet me preguntó que cuando paso por su barrio… que no me cotice tanto… yo le digo, a esta chiquita se le agarra en el momento, pero eso él ya lo sabe.

Hoy amaneció claro después de la tormenta que resultó en un desmadre de hojas por todo el patio…  ahí mismo las dejaré… se ven tan chulas como diría mi abuela… ahí regaditas con sus colores rojo, amarillo, violeta. No me explico porque insistimos en barrer algo tan natural como el otoño… si termina barriéndose a sí mismo.

Hoy me fui a sentar al río y las borregas me seguían y me seguían creo que esperaban que les diera algo, o me querían decir algo… como inquietas, con ojitos pispiretos y todo… luego vi que un perro se había saltado la cerca y andaba merodeando… a esos hay que tenerles cuidado porque aquí los entrenan para matar puercos “pig dogs” les llaman  “perro puerco”…. ¡ja! así justo le diríamos en México a algún tipo con intensiones sobrepasadas.

Me dijo el Graham que no me fiara, que cerrara todo y prendiera las luces porque el otro día hubo una pelea de “gansters” según ellos: Lo que en Nueva Zelanda significa un montón tipos maorí tomando y peleándose a puñetazos. Yo me callé la boca… no me quiero hacer la ruda pero si supiera que en México esas cosas son de niños de secundaria, no señor si hubiera una pelea de Gangsters se enterarían… y no se si lo digo con un triste cinismo o con un cómico lamento, pero es lo mismo.

Por las dudas hoy mismo regresé a contarlas. Porque como dice mi abuela a las ovejas se les cuenta del diario… no basta con que estén completas el martes, y el jueves… el sábado también hay que contarlas… uno nunca sabe cuando el coyote se le antoje pasar o en este caso el perro puerco.

Yeah, I need to clean them!
Yeah, I need to clean them!

What Desafío Sweet is?

Is a Creativity Dynamic that started in Caminomundos.  The challenge is to write one Blog post for 16 continuous days with an objective beyond the literature itself.


16 Posts/ personal essays for… just for do it.
16 Actions to promote or kick-start a project of research consulting.
2 Languages
One “let’s see what happen”

May 23 / Diary

*A couple of months in charge of a farm, one cat, cows, and 25 sheep… only important things are happening here…

The tittle is the last thing to write. I think. The cat waiting in front of the window. Wooden smell. Noise of branches in the balcony. I have cold feet, calloused fingers over the strings and wooden smells, smells like wood. Today scattered sheep. Today the yellow tree was empty of leaves. Today hot teas, honey teas, milk teas, and moisten mornings teas.

Today the sheep were scattered… 22.. 23.. 24.. and -almost- 25… one is missing the ear, because -almost- was eaten by the wolf.
Rain. No need to go out – just watch them from the window… but I go out and is warm. I wear rubber boots for not get dirty but sheep shit is not like human shit…  no… we humans consume from everything, sheep no. I wear rubber boots that smell like farm, big big wool socks… so the feet don’t get frozen, and the boots fit better, borrowed things.

Today the sheep were scattered along the river… they come if I call them… maah maah… If I bring a bucket with leftovers… or a bucket with fruits -but not apples-, or a bucket with nothing because they don’t know is empty. The one without ear goes and comes, and jump with confidence. The wolf gave it this freedom.

They come, we haven’t introduce ourselves. maah.. maaah… They don’t want to know my name, age, where I was from?… hoo sin poorly educated sheep maah… maah… with their curious stares… they don’t talk about politics, jobs, neither about God, or how much grass have eaten today, or how dad sheep left mom sheep…

The teapot on fire. Hands warm up on a side, a metallic screech, the cat is hungry, burn toast smell, marmalade. Look without attention, looking everything but in nothing. I am witness of my own days, I spy them from the garden between the branches of Pohutukawa and lemon. Is the guitar witnessing the music that it’s playing? but the guitar is not happy or sad because the melodies that plays. From here a fresh smell, grass just cut, rain in the soil.  

23.. 24.. 25.. Sheep.

Contando el rebaño
Counting the flock. New Zealand

What Desafío Sweet is?

Is a Creativity Dynamic that started in Caminomundos.  The challenge is to write one Blog post for 16 continuous days with an objective beyond the literature itself.


16 Posts/ personal essays for… just for do it.
16 Actions to promote or kick-start a project of research consulting.
2 Languages
One “let’s see what happen”

May 22 / Sweet Challenge

1. Tulia, do whatever you want but please don’t end up dancing in Thailand in some congal (kind of tabledance).

2. Put all your “chivas” (stuff) together, your papers, everything… just in case you have to run away from the country…

3. Don’t hang out in dark places, some dude could come and give it to you unfolded... and worse… maybe you like it!

4. Always have a detail with the people, bring a present for friends and people that help you. I already made some bijou and stuff for you to take… 

5. Doesn’t matter…  nobody can’t take from you the“already danced” 

6. Everything happen for a reason… or has she says “if it’s for you… even if you move from it; but if it’s not… even if you search to it” (uff difficult to translate those sayings) 

7. Take the chiles and spices that I pack for you… so you can cook properly…
Note:  I brought knord Suiza from Mexico to Geneva… then realize it is from Switzerland!

8. Be aware... write down addresses, phones, send me copies of passports and documents of the boats you will be… you know me… I can go and find you in any island! 

– The advice she gave me not knowing she was doing so:

9. Trust in people. (She advice me not  trust to much but then she goes and make friends with everybody even in the line of the bank)

10. Ask for help when need it, there is someone always. (When our Bocho (VW) is broken in the middle of the street… she doesn’t care at all, she goes and ask for help to anybody to push it a side, bring the mechanic, etc.)

11. Worries are not useful! Things will came out in its place on the way. But  “movidita hija”… move your butt… go, ask, research, read, invent… movidita

Tíos, primos y familiares arreglando nuestro Bocho
Mi mamá con tíos, primos y familiares arreglando nuestro Bocho

12.  And laugh  of everything that happen to you… because it happened. 

What Desafío Sweet is?

Is a Creativity Dynamic that started in Caminomundos.  The challenge is to write one Blog post for 16 continuous days with an objective beyond the literature itself.


16 Posts/ personal essays for… just for do it.
16 Actions to promote or kick-start a project of research consulting.
2 Languages
One “let’s see what happen”