Great, technologically advanced cities to tiny, primitive alpine villages; it’s this dichotomy that I relish most about travel. The opportunity to experience the foreign and the ‘totally out of your comfort zone’. But I must confess, I’m a beach baby at heart. Growing up by the water, in beautiful Mt Martha on the Mornington Peninsula, there’s something about the crisp ocean breeze and the promise of freshly cracked coconuts and never-ending swim sessions that makes me feel right at home the moment I step my toes into the cocoon of hot sand.
So after a couple of weeks of exploring the vibrant and culturally rich streets of Mexico City and Oaxaca I was more than a little excited to get back to basics and soak up some rays in this highly recommended beach town of Puerto Escondido on the Pacific Ocean. And to be perfectly honest, I was a tad underwhelmed.
Don’t get me wrong, I did like it, but it wasn’t the cute little beach port town that I had envisioned, where I’d sip cocktails on the beach amongst a bevy of hot international surfers til the sun went down. Puerto Escondido is a huge town! Once a big port and trade hub, the town consists of not one but 4 beaches, ranging from the grand (and kinda dirty) main beach, as well as a couple of little cute coves.
And it’s also THE place to go for Mexicans over the main holiday periods; it just happens I was there over Easter (locally known as Semana Santa, and the 2nd biggest holiday of the year, after Christmas). So it was rammmmmed! So not only were the beaches and restaurants filled to the brim with Mexican families celebrating their saviour, but the hostels were almost exclusively family groups. Which is of course fine – their country, they can stay where they want – but as a still slightly green solo traveller, who hadn’t made a great deal of friends yet, it was disheartening.
All my aforementioned visions of beach parties and brand new bronzed besties flew out the window. And I, for the first time in all my travels, felt homesick.
Being homesick is a brand new concept for me, and it happened to me a number of times throughout my trip, where I had an overwhelming sense of loneliness or that something was missing from an experience. And it’s debilitating.
Like its nasty little friends anxiety and depression, it has the ability to become the epicentre of your thought process and make you miserable. The motivation to go out and explore dwindles.
It also seems shameful to admit your homesick – why would you be craving home comforts when you’re on this wild fucking adventure? But that’s exactly the point, when things aren’t going as planned the thought of home and friends and normalcy are incredibly enticing.
But, as I learned, it’s so normal. And it does thankfully get better, as you move through experiences, towns and finally meet those people you really click with. Putting myself out there and taking the time to thoughtfully take in my new surroundings through journaling or photography also helped me reconnect with the incredible places and situations I’d been so lucky to have the opportunity to experience.
Well, this post got a little out of hand, a proper Puerto Escondido (and ZIPOLITE, my beach refuge) post coming up!