Seems like a Dream
I’ve been back home in London a few weeks now after my month in Mexico. Sitting at my desk, with the view of of a dull gray sky, I definitely feel the hard blow of reality and it now feels as if none of it happened and it was all a dream, figments of my imagination. Being sad to be back doesn’t even begin to describe it. I spent the last couple weeks answering questions from family, friends and colleagues on what the experience was like and what it meant, but like anyone else who has done something like this will say, it is not easy to articulate this time properly to do the experience any justice. When asked what was the best moment in the whole month, it really is impossible to pick just one or even a few, from the people I met to the places I was lucky enough to see on the weekends and all the moments within it, all of it amounted to an incredible new experience for me.
One of the proudest moments for me, however, had to be the 30km bike ride through the jungle from Pez Maya to Tulum to raise money for the dog therapy for special need students at a school GVI supports. This was a team challenge held by the Marine Conservation Project in Pez Maya that our “Community Team” took part in. I had not ridden a bike since I was about 8 or 9 years old and was pretty sure I had forgotten how. On top of that, I don’t do sport of any kind and so didn’t even think I had the stamina to last the 30km even if did just about manage it to ride the bike. This was definitely out of comfort zone and I was scared.
However, we had been taken to spend the day at the school and witness the dog therapy take place before the actual bike ride so we could see just what our family and friends back home were donating their money for and what we were going to riding through the jungle for. You could see the difference that the therapy was making, the smiling enthusiasm to take part in the session and the fun they were having made me more determined to help and be small part of making that happen.
On the day of the ride, we were all geared up for the blistering heat of the jungle, mentally preparing for the mosquitos and other surprises we may encounter. The biggest surprise we got was the absolute torrential downpour before we had even started the ride. I was absolutely petrified and very close to just giving up before even starting! Swept into the excitement of it, I made this into a personal challenge to get to the finish line. I somehow managed to not only get on the bike, but stay on too! The path was muddy and filled with bumps and ditches that were near invisible in the rain until you riding through them so for at least the first hour of the ride I could not look back or even stop in fear of falling down; the road ahead took all my concentration. This also meant that I couldn’t stop on the bridge over the beautiful lagoon when someone shouted there could see a crocodile. I hadn’t even figured out the breaks by that point (peddle backwards to break) so had no choice but to let the momentum of the downward slope carry me forward, I was gutted I didn’t get to see the crocodile. Eventually, I did grow more confident (once I had figured the breaks) and saw that our team were not the last and we had actually managed to overtake a number of other teams and I realized I was actually really enjoying myself.
Inevitably, there were a few war wounds, but that just made all the donations received all the more deserved. I was astounded at the support I was getting from family and friends back home who were absolutely amazing by donating collectively nearly £450! It was overwhelming to say the least. I am grateful for all of that support, as had it not been for them, I may have given up right at the start.
I spoke to other people that worked at the projects before me who said they felt that they were given a lot more from it then they could ever have hoped to give, about how they learnt so much more about themselves and other people and it has made them a much better person because of it. Everything they said seemed cliché, over romanticized, but after having only spent a month there I can see now how real all these sentiments are. Through this experience, you have the privilege to meet so many incredible people that truly do make a difference every day, it humbles you greatly, leaving you with the feeling of wanting to better yourself and become a fraction of a better person than you were yesterday. It has changed me and my perspective on many levels, for which I am very thankful for – only one of which is the confidence to be pushed outside my comfort zone, as to my surprise, I like it there.
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