By Andrés Muñoz
When asked to write five travel stories, the first thought that came to mind was: “I wish I had more words!!” Let’s jump into it with a few micro tales:
Summer, 2006. The World Cup was being held in Germany, and I had just arrived in Buenos Aires. The passion and excitement in that city is electrifying when the national team is playing. I was anxious to watch an Argentinian match in the country of football superstars like Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi. They had just beaten Mexico a few days prior and faced Germany in the quarterfinals.
Germany would eventually beat Argentina in a penalty shootout after a tense 1-1 draw, so I went out to the streets to see what the mood was like. For about an hour, it was absolutely deserted. Not a single human in sight. I felt like Cillian Murphy in 28 Days Later!
Street Food Heaven
You might have a vague idea of how good the food is in Mexico before visiting. However, it’s one thing to watch a cooking show and another entirety to see the real deal and enjoy an epic meal in the streets of Mexico City. My favourite is El Vilsito. During the day, it is a car workshop, but at night, it’s the home of the best taco al pastor in the city. This combination might sound strange, but once you try it, there’s no going back!
Make sure to organise a taco tour with a friend who’s been in the city for a while, and soon you’ll know the best food stalls in no time. If your belly starts to hurt, Mexican drugstores generally have an on-call physician that can quickly prescribe you something to take care of things.
Connecting With The World Through Dance
Music festivals have always been my passion.
After saving up my money, I flew to Europe for one summer. I had always aimed to attend a European festival. I lived the dream when I went to Tomorrowland, the biggest gathering of electronic music fans in the world. 400,000 festivalgoers over 2 weekends, 16 stages and several hundred DJs. Camping at the festival makes it one of the most incredible cultural melting pots out there!
Not only was it fascinating, but the culmination of months of planning, saving, and putting in the work to make it happen made it even more epic. I made great friends with whom I still keep in touch and hope to return after the last two years of very limited travel!
Hell on Earth
At first, you don’t believe it. You’re sure you left it somewhere: behind the sofa, in the car, at one of the last places you went to. You frantically look over and over until it sinks in: you don’t have your passport.
The steps to recover it are simple: First, stay calm and stay positive. Face it, it’s gone; you must come to terms with that. You might have to adjust your itinerary here and there, more so if you’re travelling across many countries. But don’t let that ruin your trip! These things happen.
Secondly and most importantly, contact your embassy/consulate as soon as possible. The diplomatic services have established processes to help you rapidly get a document that lets you travel. I lost mine in the United States. While it was a very frustrating experience, my country’s consulate ensured that I got an emergency document saving me from too much stress.
The Last Hurrah
This one took place in March 2020 in Mexico City. The WHO had identified COVID as a pandemic, and the virus had taken flight worldwide. Mexico had not established a lockdown and planned to go ahead with a major festival called Vive Latino on March 14th and 15th.
My friends and I had bought tickets before the news of the virus spread. As the number of cases rose during the weeks before the event, we carefully considered our options. At the time, we naively thought that this “pandemic” thing would be over in “a couple of months”. So our thinking boiled down to “If it’s going to be the last festival in a very long time, let us enjoy it as much as possible.”
We got the standard N95 masks, showered in disinfectant and had a wonderful time with several fantastic artists. It turned out to be a great decision, as the full lockdown began on March 16th!
Travelling allows you to collect endless stories like these. They can be short tales or longer epics, and either way, you’ll relive them when you set them down on paper or look back at any photos you have taken along the way. What are your travel stories? Share them in the comments section below!