Neither of their names are Green, they don’t have green skin or hair. They’re simply new: new to this travel lifestyle. But, my goodness, is it ever the life for them!!!
One evening, I arrived back to the hostel on Cozumel one and this new couple sitting in the common area. They glanced my way and, as I approached, the girl – tall, thin, with long wavy hair and a smile to light up any room – jump started the conversation with, “Hi, I’m [Rosy]!” I smiled back with wonder about this cheerful creature. I love when people just get straight to it: “I’m energetic and I want to meet new people!” is what she was really saying. Awesome!
I introduced myself, as did her boyfriend – we’ll call him Chill, a down-to-Earth kinda guy with a sense for adventure, but an always calm demeanor and a cool way about him. After some more conversation, I would learn that these two had only just arrived in the area, having flown directly from their San Diego home. They had decided it was time to leave their bartending jobs to fulfill their long-time dreams of travel. These two have only been together for about a year, but their common passion for adventure, exploration, and experiencing the unknown makes them a perfect travel team. They complement each other so well!
While this is still new for them, Rosy and Chill have already begun to plan this as a semi-permanent (or permanent?) lifestyle. They expect to return home in the fall/summer to visit family, friends, and their dog, and also to make a small fortune working the week of Comic-Con (their bar is just down the street) and continuing into the summer. It sounds like they’ve begun a possible lifestyle of work-during-busy-season-and-travel-during-low-season, which would certainly benefit them and the bar. While you really can’t predict anything so soon into the journey, I don’t imagine they’ll get bored of this for a while, if ever.
Did I mention that they’ve never travelled before? Ever!!! They hadn’t even left the USA (I mean, unless you count quick trips to TJ). A couple like this – full of enthusiasm, energy, and curiosity. So friendly, talkative, and certainly likeable. A couple like this – having never travelled?! Amazing!!! They had so many questions, not asked with shameful ignorance, but proud curiosity. “So, what’s the dorm etiquette when people are sleeping?” They’re thoughtful and polite, wanting to learn how this whole travel thing works.
For being so green, I’m impressed that they came with a pretty good story about almost being thrown in Mexican jail for 6 hours (who knows how likely it actually was to happen, though). They are a couple who, I learned later, like to follow the rules. If drinking alcohol in public is illegal, they won’t do it – even if they see other people doing it. One of their first days in Cancun, they made their way to the beach with some beer in hand. After asking numerous people about the laws, and seeing others drinking alcohol in public, they decided to crack a couple beers on the way. Just as they were about to step onto the beach (where drinking is actually legal), a couple police officers stopped them and informed them that they were breaking the law by drinking in public. There is a hefty fine and a required 6 hours in jail for this violation of the law. Chill tries, in perfect Spanglish, to tell the officers that they didn’t know, and that they did ask many people who said it was okay. He offered them all the money he had in his wallet. The officers refused the money and insisted that the fine must be paid at the station, after which they would serve their 6 hours. “Just our luck – we’ve run into the only two non-corrupt police in Mexico! Damn!” Chill continued to insist that they are good people, not wanting any trouble. “No quiero problemas,” he said repeatedly. But the officers continued to insist they go to the station. Just when Chill was about to ask Rosy for more money, she suddenly burst out into tears. What?! Where’d that come from? Obviously feeling quite uncomfortable, the officers soon took the money and let them be. As Chill went to comfort his upset girlfriend, she wiped away her tears, and commented, without emotion, about how close that was. Not only is she super friendly, fun to be around, and all that jazz, but she knows how to turn on the waterworks to get herself out of trouble. I guess Rosy is also super bad-ass!
When they’re not getting into trouble, Rosy and Chill enjoy some relaxation time and don’t worry about expenses or cooking. They watch an episode of a TV show (currently Lost) each night before bed, and they eat most of their meals in restaurants. Perhaps this is just their style (everyone’s different, right?), but they appear to have taken parts of their “normal” life with them on the road. I’m curious to see if this will change as they continue deeper into their journey (and as the money runs low). I’m happy to have been a part of what I think is the beginning of their lives as people who cook.
Their first morning there, Rosy, Chill, and I got to chatting about food and nutrition, and they said they don’t really cook (like, at all). So, naturally, I suggested (or perhaps insisted) we cook a meal together. As it goes in the hostel life, we ended up with 6 people altogether. The three of us – along with another Canadian – went to the grocery store and returned with all the ingredients for a delicious home-made pasta sauce and some pasta (not fresh – we’re not quite there yet). We cooked up a storm – all of us having never really done this before (not premade sauce!) made it quite low-pressure and easy-going, but it turned out absolutely amazing!!! The other two – a couple Australian girls – paid their part, helped taste-test the pasta, and cleaned the dishes. A team effort all around. I would find out later that Rosy and Chill cooked another pasta meal at their next hostel. The transition into “real” backpacking begins!
Later that evening, the Canadian guy and I taught these two Californians how to play euchre. And… they LOVED it!!! They are already super-duper friendly, they love euchre, and in no time I’ll have them saying “eh” after every sentence. Yep, Canadians in the making!
We said our goodbyes as they departed to continue their adventure, agreeing that we’d probably cross paths somewhere in Guatemala or elsewhere in Central America. So imagine my surprise when I walked into the Green Monkey hostel in Bacalar, Mexico and heard someone call my name from across the way. When I looked around and saw these two, with big smiles on their faces, arms were flung in the air, screams of joy ensued, and I’m not gonna lie, Chill and I actually did a run-across-the-grass-and-lift-her-off-the-ground moment of excitement (really, anyone unwilling to be silly like this is not worthy of my friendship). He swung me around as though we were long-lost friends, reunited after years of silence. They joined my current entourage and we enjoyed a day at a nearby cenote (although they were tired and left a little before the rest of us. We reassembled that night – about 5 of us – and prepared another healthy, homemade meal – a medley of all sorts of fruits, veggies, and some black beans. Another delicious, healthy meal! Another great team effort!
I can’t wait to follow Rosy and Chill’s travels on Facebook, and to hear about all their crazy adventures when we cross paths again. I also wonder how their attitudes will change, how their growing knowledge and experiences will shape their opinions, and if any of their energy or curiosity will die down. I know they’ll continue to be bright, shining stars wherever they go, even as they become less green in this world. But travel changes us, almost always for the better. And I can’t wait to meet these two again a year or two from now and see the changes that have taken place. Here’s to life’s great adventures, and not letting anything stop you from finding those adventures! Rosy and Chill, I raise my glass of red wine to you two beautiful humans!
Photo credit: Azrul Aziz (the couple in the photo is not Rosy and Chill – somehow I didn’t get any photos of them!)