The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

Small Town • Big World


November 13, 2019

As a young child, I developed a love for travel from road trips with my family. The destination was always predictable. We would either visit family in San Diego or my family in Baja California, Mexico. Being as I grew up in Central California in the predominantly agricultural town of Bakersfield, the final destinations were not distant, but were vastly different from home!

San Diego was my favorite in that there were many beaches to walk and play in, as well as delicious restaurants, outlet malls, and it always seemed to have the most ideal weather at any time of the year. Regardless of how many times we visited, there was always a special connotation attached to this city; perhaps it was its sheer beautiful skyline with the sparkling waters in the background, or maybe it was the loads of cousins I had as playmates there. I know that whenever my parents announced an upcoming trip to San Diego, my brothers and I would be thrilled. I have so many fond memories of playing in the waves at the beach with my family, as well as eating copious amounts of savory street tacos at my favorite spot (Tacos El Gordo- a must-visit if you are ever in the area).

Mexico, however, provided an altogether different type of experience. Even at an extremely young age, perhaps four or so, I noticed that my family that lived there had a different way of life from my own. In the mid-’80s, my aunt’s house still lacked indoor plumbing. Thus, water would be brought in from a well to be used for cooking, washing, etc. As a child, I thought this to be amusing. As I got older, I found it to be a nuisance and would thank God for the running water in my own home. I could not help but notice, all the things they lacked, until an older cousin pointed out how much love and joy each of these families had, regardless of there deficiencies. I have so many memories of my extended family enjoying a delicious meal of incredibly large proportions with accompanying loud music, which always ended in an impromptu dance party featuring both young and old.

It was a simple life, but a happy one. People worked diligently, loved hard, and celebrated life often. My family in Mexico would happily give you the clothes off their back, despite needing it the most, for the sake of being hospitable. I came to realize that most of the towns that I went to were similar. The markets, shops, and restaurants were comprised of buildings that were small and decrypted. Still, the people shined big smiles and welcomed you into their establishment with great pride and would bend over backward to provide excellent customer service. This was the Mexico I was introduced to and remember fondly.

It was with those special memories of my childhood travels that I dreamed of one day exploring other nations around the world. San Diego and Tijuana are in such close proximity, yet worlds apart!

I have been blessed with the opportunity to visit a variety of different countries since and have enjoyed partaking in other cultures. One of my favorite parts has been tasting diverse cuisine. Since I moved to Big Sandy, I have discovered a wonderfully warm and welcoming community reminiscent of small towns in Italy, Mexico, and Portugal.

There are so many other places I hope to discover! Friends and family know that my bucket list is incredibly long!

In future columns, I hope to provide a glimpse into this vast wonderful world that we live in. Join me for the ride!


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