Mexico or Bust (via Texas)…


Autumn has arrived here in the north. Did you know that Prague is farther north than Winnipeg, Canada? Well, it is, by just a tad. Prague’s latitude is 50.0833° N and Winnipeg’s is 49.8994° N. Which explains why our temps are now in the high 40s at night and will peak in the mid-70s today.

So the sun is shining and the weather is lovely and all’s right with the world.

Except for the packing.

I love going places but moving is work. And Katka and I are moving at the end of the month, headed toward Mexico again, via Texas.

This will be the third time for us to live in Mexico. It will be my fourth time because I also lived there for several years before I met Katka. That was back in the late 1990s, before I moved to Prague. I lived in San Miguel de Allende, a town in the mountains about 175 miles northwest of Mexico City. It’s a fascinating place, an old colonial town with a very long history. It’s also an artistic community with quite a few resident expats from Europe, Canada and the USA.

San Miguel is an easy place to live, as I learned in the 1990s. So that’s where Katka and I set up our household during our previous stays in Mexico. To return there will be a sort of homecoming.

Anyway, back to packing. Which I do tend to avoid. Even talking about it feels a bit like a chore. Packing up your belongings to relocate is when you discover what a pack rat you are. It’s also when you discover all sorts of stuff you’d set aside to attend to later. Things to read, notions to follow up on. You discover things you’d saved for the time when you’d need them, an occasion that never arose. And also stuff you’d lost, or thought you had lost. Aha! There’s that discount coupon I couldn’t find a while back… like a year ago. And of course it’s expired.

But I’m rambling. You see? That’s what moving does. It’s disorienting. One becomes more easily distracted. Staying focused gets harder. Because packing for a big move creates a kind of chaos.

Naturally, one looks for ways to escape the craziness. Writing this blog entry is an example. I haven’t written for my blog since May. So why do I choose to do so when I’m supposed to be packing? It’s an escape!

But only temporary. Because by September 30 everything that doesn’t fit into two trunks for the airplane must be ensconced in our rented storage space. Katka also gets just two trunks for her things-to-carry. So that leaves lots of stuff to store. And, of course, to pack.

A piece of good news in all this is that I’m no longer paying monthly rent on two storage spaces. We also have stuff stored in Texas, you see. That’s stuff we will carry with us to Mexico. And until recently I also had a storage space in Paris, France, full of books. Hundreds of books. Thousands. But I hauled all those to Prague, and when we leave Prague we’ll have just the single storage space, the one here, because we’ll empty the storage space in Texas. For a gypsy like me, having just one storage space at a time instead of two (or even three) represents a kind of progress.

Listen to me. I am rambling again. And I haven’t even mentioned Texas yet.

When we fly out of Prague on October 1, we’ll land in Texas. And we’ll be there for most of October. There’s family to see, and friends to catch up with. Also, Katka is commissioned to build an outdoor sculpture in Austin, so we’ll be there for a while, maybe a couple of weeks. I also might have to fly out to Los Angeles during October to do some screenwriting work. But barring that and other unforeseen events, we intend to hit the Mexican border at Nuevo Laredo by November 1.

As on our previous journeys, we’ll drive down. We hope to make the drive in Rambeaux, my 1986 Dodge Ram pickup truck. He’s been taking me south of the border—and all around Mexico—since my first stay there, and I’m hoping he’ll be up to another expedition. (See my previous blog entry below, dated May 2, for more about Rambeaux.)

After we cross the Rio Grande, it’s a long trek south across a high plateau of rugged desert and dry mountains and cactus, what some might call a bleak landscape. But it is also beautiful. About 550 miles below the border, we’ll hit San Miguel de Allende, tucked into the highlands at an altitude of 6,200 feet.

Once we arrive, we’ll stay with friends while we look for a house to rent for a year or two. We’ve been lucky in that regard previously, having found suitable places to rent very quickly, and I think our luck will hold. I suspect we’ll be in our new home in Mexico by November 10 at the latest.

Because San Miguel is located so far south—at a latitude of 20.9142° N, comfortably within the Tropic of Cancer—the weather will still feel like autumn when we get there.

And we will immediately do the exact opposite of what we are now doing. That is, we’ll unpack. Which is, as everyone knows, a lot more fun than packing.