Our time in the Americas 2013-2014
When it started getting colder again in Europe in November, it was definitely time for us to head for a warmer climate. So we hopped on a cruise ship and crossed the Atlantic in search of Summer. Before heading back the same way in April, we enjoyed the sun and explored US (Lousiana, New Orleans and Florida), Mexico (Cancun, Merida, Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen, Guanajuato and Mexico DF) and Guatemala (Antigua and San Pedro) for four months.
Our time in the Americas was all about...
... Meeting up with friends and making new ones on the road, taking it slower and enjoying the Latin way of life, falling in love with both Mexico and Guatemala, returning (although very shortly) to my beloved Puerto Rico...
... Learning to work without constant internet connection, writing a book (Antti), trying so many things in our business, and ending up back to the basics...
... Dressing up as zombies and dancing Thriller on the cruise, stealing a glimpse of the wild nature of Louisiana, jamming to live jazz in New Orleans, visiting the breath-taking Mayan ruins of Uxmal and the more modest but equally stunning ruins of Dzibilchaltun, spending half a day in the impressive Museum of Anthropology in Mexico DF, learning so much more about space travel at the Kennedy Space Center, literally flying through Hogwarts in the Harry Potter ride in Orlando...
... Learning enough Spanish to navigate the daily life, thanks mainly for the amazing Spanish classes of Calle 55 in Merida, which taught us not to be afraid to use the language. Evenings spent watching nature documentaries (Netflix!) dubbed in Spanish also helped ...
... Spending a rainy New Year's Eve in New Orleans, not partying but staying home with the pets we were sitting... Figuring out the very confusing bus system of Merida, at least enough to catch a ride home... Marveling the sea life in Isla Mujeres and watching the turtles of Akumal... Drying up in the colorful and pretty city of Guanajuato (not talking about drinks here though, but the air, the sand papery air)... Frequenting the Burger King (=excellent wifi) next to our apartment in Playa del Carmen, while waiting for the internet guy to show up and fix our connection...
... Getting a bit lost in Guanajuato (taking a short cut) and ending up in a slightly questionable area... Spending a week vacationing, first touristing in Mexico City and taking it easy with friends in Antigua... Almost getting sucked in to the traveller universe of San Pedro on Lake Atitlan, where days turn into weeks and weeks into months... Having a daily ritual of hitting the treadmills at the gym of our cruise ship, in order to prep for our upcoming walk in Spain...
... The lovely new homes we had, our cabin in Breaux Bridge, its back porch facing the bayou, the comfortable and artsy house we were minding in New Orleans, our house in Merida, attached to a hostel with a delicious home-cooked breakfast... The best-ever roof terrace in Guanajuato with a view over the colorful town, the four lovely dogs at the yard of our Antigua house, our cruise cabin with a window to the indoor promenade, great for people-watching...
.... Making my first home-cooked Christmas meal in New Orleans, trying alligator in Louisiana and lobster at the cruise, Antti ordering quesadillas in (almost) every restaurant we went to in Mexico and Guatemala, lychee yogurt ice cream on hot days, Indian and Thai food in San Pedro, fruits and natural yogurt in the mornings, frequent fancy 3-course meals on the cruise ...
Sometimes, it gets lonely on the road, especially if there are no people around who really get you. Luckily, on our Americas trip we met with some amazing fellow nomads. Thank you Ang and Ryan (Jets Like Taxis), Celia and Jonas (Nomadic Danes), Kit and Nick (Seek New Travel) and Alyona and Jean (Alyona Travels), for great company!
We figured out that a transatlantic cruise is our perfect work camp. Plenty of time for work, great food without having to worry where to eat, frequent exercise and entertainment, interesting people to dine with. Even the lack of a decent wi-fi was mostly a good thing for our productivity, no more getting lost in the depths of Facebook!
Louisiana bayou country off-season, what a different experience. We loved it! Peaceful living at our cute cabin in Breaux Bridge, with cajun music blaring on the background. Alligators both in the nature and on our plates, and mugs full of excellent craft beer (we really were surprised by the quality of beer in the US!). No other tourist in sight, just the locals whose speech we could hardly understand. Still, everyone was so warmhearted and helpful. There was the friend of a guest house owner, who gave us Louisiana mugs as souvenirs just because. And the owner himself, who wasn't there when we arrived, but just told us to look around the cabins and choose which one we want.
House-sitting aka. our "suburban life" -simulation in New Orleans, complete with cats, dogs, a house and a car. There's even the morning newspaper thrown to the front yard, just like in tv series! We took the dogs out to the park next door for long walks twice a day, were very productive work wise, regularly amazed in the super markets (the selection!), buying way too much food, and then spending way too much time in front of the tv while giving the dogs a cuddle.
The food in Mexico!! Even after almost 3 months in the country, we weren't bored with it. If I'd have to choose one cuisine for the rest of my life, Mexican might be it. Although there of course isn't really a "Mexican cuisine", all regions have their own flavors and dishes. Melt-in-mouth slow-cooked cochinita pibil pork, spicy and chocolaty mole sauce, tacos with various fillings, fresh guacamole. Mmmmm...
Antigua was our oasis. It is a village-like city, surrounded by volcanoes and filled with history and beauty. There are plenty of tourist (the non-package holiday kind) to ensure good facilities, but it's still not in-your-face touristy and has managed to keep the local color. It feels like a real city, not a set built for tourist. The center is small enough to walk anywhere, and the grid layout makes it easy to navigate. There are cute cafés and good restaurants on every corner. In our short 2 weeks we even managed to find "Our" local haunts: the amazing & cheap pita place Toko Baru and the atmospheric live-music bar of Cáfe No-Se. We visited during Easter time, when the impressive processions fill the streets. Incredible.
Our couple of days in Florida, playing full-on tourists and cramping our days with attractions. Starting with a night drive from Fort Lauderdale to Cocoa beach, 3 hours of empty roads and streets lights, drive-thru chicken and huge cups of coffee from 24h McD. Then visiting the Kennedy Space Center at cape Canaveral, where they had just rescheduled a space craft launch for that day. So cool! And the whole place was so full of interesting things, that we here only half-way through when it was closing time. The next day was equally special, since we visited the Harry Potter World at the Universal's Islands of Adventure. What a job they had done building the Hogsmeade and Hogwarts there. Truly walking around in a fairytale. And the Harry Potter ride... wow!
Meanwhile, you can check more pics from our Flickr account:
Transatlantic cruise >> Louisiana roadtrip >> Louisiana Creole Nature Trail >> New Orleans >> Merida >> Uxmal >> Chicxulub >> Isla Mujeres >> Playa del Carmen (and Tulum) >> Guanajuato >> Mexico DF >> Antigua >> San Pedro >> Florida >> Transatlantic cruise II
And read our weekly recaps (only starting from 2014 though):
Week 1: New Orleans and Cancun
Week 2: Merida
Week 3: Merida
Week 4: Merida and Chicxulub
Week 5: Chicxulub and Merida
Week 6: Merida, Isla Mujeres and Playa del Carmen
Week 7: Playa del Carmen
Week 8: Playa del Carmen
Week 9: Playa del Carmen
Week 10: Playa del Carmen and Guanajuato
Week 11: Guanajuato
Week 12: Guanajuato and Mexico DF
Week 13: Mexico DF and Antigua
Week 14: Antigua and San Pedro
Week 15: San Pedro and Antigua
Week 16: Antigua, Florida and a cruise
Week 17: Transatlantic cruise, from St. Maarten to Azores
Week 18: From the cruise to Costa del Sol
Aaand... there's more. The monthly recaps:
We are Mirje and Antti, a 30+ digital nomad couple, entrepreneurs with restless feet and passion for experiencing the world. more »