Subject: Re: destinations that change lives
Without a doubt my answer would be Mexico. Having been born and raised in San Diego I was quite familiar with activities in the border region and Baja e.g., dining, camping, and surfing. I also worked in an industry (restaurant) with a significant population of Mexicans. Shortly after high school, while many of my friends were headed off to Europe to go backpacking, I loaded up my VW bus (kombi) with my surfboard and my dog and headed south. A co-worker, from Merida in the Yucatan, was about to embark on the three-day bus trip across Mexico to his home so I suggested he join me instead for the opportunity to see his own country. We spent a month getting to the Yucatan, I spent two months with his family in Merida and Cancun, and then another nine months slowly making my way back to the U.S.

This was in 1979. And since then I have repeatedly returned to Mexico. I absolutely love this country: the warmth of its people, the beauty of its landscape, and the wonder (and tragedy) of its history. I pursued this interest in my education obtaining a degree in Spanish (with a minor in Latin American Studies). To this day I never feel as free or alive as when I step across the border into Mexico. In fact, I'm headed to San Felipe, on the shores of the Sea of Cortez, this weekend to wring out a few extra days of summer.

John Rule San Diego, CA