#2 — I Want to Quit.

I wanted to quit just hours after crossing the US/Mexico border.

There is no easy way to put it. No sugar coating to beautify the ugly truth.

I am weak and I nearly crumpled and let fear and anxiety carry me away before I had even let the sun set on my first day in Mexico; my first day on this journey to Patagonia.

Regret Will Catch You Up.

Regret, fear of being found to be the fool, will find you in the end. You have to decide how to treat her. Will you welcome her with sunken shoulders and heart or look her in the face and tell her there is no room for her shadow?

As I rode across the border into Mexico, I could feel the wave surging behind me. So, I rode faster.

Each mile, or, kilometer, I should say, I drove further into Mexico preceded the rising of that surging wave of regret rushing up behind me.

By the time I reached my hostel for the night, the wave had built to a towering, crushing capacity and, so, I was crushed.

The Mexican Border.

I had planned ample time in my day for the border crossing at San Ysidro. It is, after all, known as one of the busiest land border crossings in the world.

So, you can imagine my surprise when the highway running south out of San Diego bent sharply to the right, doubled upon itself, led through a few empty tollbooths, and then BAM…I was in Tijuana, Mexico.

I was in Mexico.

I was in Mexico no more than 36-seconds after leaving the United States of America.

All my carefully prepared and accessibly stowed paperwork, permits, and legal documents remained accessibly stowed as I rode my motorcycle without stopping straight through the border and into Cartel Country; into the land of untellable evils awaiting travelers.

Cartel Country.

As soon as I crossed the border the bullets started flying.

The thieves came out in droves no matter the fact it was the middle of the day!

I was penniless, robbed of my motorcycle down to my helmet and fancy riding pants, and sitting on a curb bruised and beaten glad to still be alive within hours of crossing into this dangerous country.

Cartel Country is all I was told awaited me.

Nearly everyone who loves and cares for me wanted nothing more than to make sure I was aware I was riding into one of the worst places in the world.

Once they’d finish speaking of the horrors of the lands just below the sacred line dividing the USA and Mexico, they would put on their most stern of expressions to say “don’t even get me started on all the danger that awaits you in the rest of Central America.”

An Empty Hostel.

I sat on a bunk bed in a room set for four. I wandered the empty halls of a hostel designed for dozens of travelers. I stripped naked and showered in a shared bathroom without bothering to shut the door.

No one was coming.

It was 2:06 PM. I had made all too good time in arriving at my first hostel of the trip.

2:06 PM.

In this moment, in this vacuum created by the absence of a road rushing underneath me on my motorcycle and the silent halls of an empty hostel, the wave hit. And it hit hard.

I pulled back a tarp covering an old victorian era chair on the balcony, crumpled into it, opened my laptop, and fought my hardest not to have a panic attack at the insanity of the fact I had taken irreversible action in finally setting out to complete this trip to Patagonia.

Nothing but a rapidly crumbling will stood between me and a total loss of faith in myself and the beauty behind this journey.

Very little stood between me and a gut-wrenchingly powerful desire to flee Mexico and return to the known, the comfortable, the predictable; to return home.

Time and Exposure.

6-hours after arriving at the empty hostel, I finally found food, a lone man working the kitchen for the owners of the hostel, conversation, lifted spirits, a single expensive beer, and slowly returning faith in myself, the reasons for this trip, and a realization that I needed to take this one day at a time.

And so I have continued to remind myself each day since the first: one day at a time, Jeremiah. One challenge, victory, defeat, experience at a time.

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