There are times when people is full of everyday’s stress, overloaded with work and with plenty of problems both in office and home. Some other times they just like to go out, traveling and meeting new people and new places. Whatever reason is yours, escaping from everyday’s routine from time to time is a good choice to relax and think about what you want in your life, or simply to get some well deserved days off.
This happened to me when I was still working for a company, 8 hours a day plus 1 hour for food, also, from 2 to 3 more hours from home to office and viceversa. That makes 11-12 hours a day and even more because there was still work that needed to be finished. That left me with little time to enjoy for myself, at the end of the day, all I wanted was resting a bit.
One day I decided I realized I had a little too much stress and I was getting sick very frequently, so, a good trip would be nice to heal the soul. I called my friend Ney who lives in Oaxaca City and we planned some free days, then my friend Isaac, and two Ney’s friends, Tita and Diana, joined. What happened next was one of the best weekends I’ve ever had in my life in a place called Ixtlan, near Oaxaca City in the south of Mexico. It’s actually a very small town at 2030 meters above sea level —though the forest is at least 1000 meters higher— and it’s completely surrounded by montains; as you can imagine, the only fact of being there is an espectacle by itself, a forest in the mountains and prehispanic routes that connected between cities.
The four of us arrive to Oaxaca City a saturday quite early in the morning from different routes and our friend Ney was waiting for us, ready to depart to Ixtlan. Oaxaca City is a very beautiful colonial place, very colorful with ancient traditions inherited from a mixture of Spanish and Indigenous culture. Talking about Oaxaca City could easily fill this blog post and more, but that would be for reserved for another ocassion. Today is for Ixtlan’s magic, and so, we prepared to depart.
Escaping from everyday’s routine from time to time is a good choice to relax and think about what you want in your life, or simply to get some well deserved days off.
After about 2 hours of travel, we started to feel the cold breeze of the montains, the forest welcome us warmly in the cold: fresh and clean, very clean air. Since arriving to Ixtlan we were able to feel the scents of nature, that characteristic forest scent that immediately shipped us to a totally different world, a different perspective of life. Though, not much time had passed for us to realize how far we were of any kind of technology; for a person used to carrying his smartphone everywhere and trying to update his Facebook account every minute with something like: “Meiji has just checked in Ixtlan”, I must say the lack of WiFi and 3G signal was something difficult to adapt at the beginning. So, it was kind of funny how the first thing everybody did was holding the phones just to check if there was some kind of signal around. Of course there wasn’t any, it was just us against nature, adapt to survive or die. Ok, perhaps not that serious, but leaving the big, poluted and noisy city for a clean aired forest at 3km above sea level is something we don’t do everyday, we were really excited for our adventure to start; at this point, there was a lot to visit.
We soon left the town of Ixtlan and headed to our cabins in the middle of the forest; tired from the friday night travel, all I wanted was resting a bit, but that was something I couldn’t afford in a place like this. My city mind was telling me to rest, but fortunately my friend Ney was there to pushing me up, we had a schedule: go out and get lost in a forest!
After having some breakfast, we went to it, it was called Bosque Enano (dwaf forest) due to the small size of the trees at the top of the mountain —3 to 4 meters— compared to those at the base that could easily reach 30-40 meters height. Walking to the top was an espectacle by itself, the forest scent was at maximum and we had that momentum where we felt we could do anything, there was nothing but trees around and we could only see mountains further; it took me only seconds to realize that we were in one of them. It was a similar sensation like watching to the night sky staring the stars, thinking how they could also have a planetary system and then realize you’re in one of them, that you’re a small part of the everything.
There was nothing but trees around and we could only see mountains further, it took me only seconds to realize we were in one of them.
Reaching the top was a great experience, the panoramic was amazing and we were covered by a light and mystic mist that let us remember how incredible and huge nature was. We could stay there all day, watching the blue sky and the clouds beind carried by the winds, and the never ending green color that were upholstering the mountains. Sadly, it was getting late and the breeze was starting to freeze; as we learned a few hours later, the cold in the mountains is something else!
It was already dark when we went back to our cabins but we didn’t want to go rest yet —funny, because when we just arrived it was all we wanted to do except Ney— so, we lit a camfire and watched the amazing espectacle that was that night view of thousands and thousands of stars. No artificial lights around, the night being iluminated only by our camfire and the stars. Even with all that magic, we almost screwed it up! Fortunately, my friend Isaac saved it since he remembered to bring the marshmallows. After all, what’s a campfire without marshmallows?
The next day we all had renewed energies, we had a little trip to the town where we visited some interesting places like the church, and then went to enjoy some of the practices that are a must in a place like this, specially two of them: the rappelling and the zip line. Even when these were for amateur level, they were enough to enjoy. Finally, we had the chance to ride bicycles to a place called Los Pozuelos —the wells—, which was downhill beside a creek and was used by travelers to replenish water. The descent in our bikes was easy, the ascent, however, was another story.
We prepared then to leave that marvelous forest and go back to our daily works, we left Ixtlan and arrived once again to Oaxaca City where Tita invited us some Mexican tacos. I think the best food in the world is the one sold in the streets, and these tacos were really great! After that, Ney had to left us, she said goodbye and took a taxi that left her home, the rest of us were waiting in the bus station ready to depart to our homes. Tita and her cousin Diana, Isaac an me, all of us came from different places and at the end we also left for different destinations, but since that day something had changed. At least for me, those days in the nature where momentous in my life and a totally new journey was just about to start.