This morning, and for the last time in the foreseeable future, I walked along the white sand beach in front of my apartment. And as I walked along that beach, I took unusually small footsteps, making sure that I would never forget how that cool coral sand felt on my bare feet.

Every few minutes I would enter the warm water, just up to my knees, and just stand there glancing around in every direction. To my right was an endless stretch of one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen and to my left was an even longer stretch of the same. Behind me sat a massive plot of low, dry jungle and in front of me, the indescribable shades of blue that make the Caribbean Sea so alluring.

The morning was clear, with not a cloud to be found. And as a result, the buildings on the island of Cozumel, which lay five miles off the coast, seemed as if they were only a hundred yards in front of me. In every direction I looked, all I could find was perfection.

As I walked, as I stood in the water, as I glanced around at the slice of Earth where I have recently spent so much time, I could not help but find myself overcome with emotion. I didn’t know what to do, what to think or how to react. All I did know was that I was experiencing everything for the last time (at least for now) and that was a difficult reality to face.

Sure, I was sad. I was sad that I would no longer be living close to this beach, but even more so, I was sad that I would no longer be living in Mexico.

At times, I found myself wishing that this walk along the beach would never have to end. But every now and then, and more and more often as the walk went on, I began to feel an intense happiness that I didn’t expect to feel. And it arrived every time I began thinking about all of the new, currently unknown adventures that now await me in other regions of the world. I don’t know what those adventures will consist of, but that’s not important. The root of my sudden bursts of happiness lay in the simple fact that there will certainly be more adventures to come.

When the time arrived this morning for me to take one final glance at the Caribbean Sea, I simply took a deep breath and turned around. And then, during the short walk back to my apartment, all I kept thinking was, “how fortunate am I to have finished another dream-like chapter of my life.”

WHY I SPENT TODAY RUNNING AROUND TOWN

Tomorrow morning I will be leaving Mexico. But trust me, this was definitely not the original plan. What happened is that on Monday morning, I learned that I would need to be in Florida by next Tuesday in order to take care of a certain medical situation. Unfortunately, I don’t know how long it will take to resolve this situation and so I decided that this would be a reasonable time to end my stay in Mexico.

Naturally, I began searching for flights. I wanted to fly out on this coming Sunday, so that I could have a full week to prepare for my departure from Mexico. However, those flights were quite expensive. And then, just as I was about to re-think my plan, I noticed something unreal, a $10 fare from Cancun to Fort Lauderdale on Jet Blue Airlines. Ok, with taxes it turned out to be $50, but even so, I certainly couldn’t pass up that deal. The only catch was that I had to leave on Wednesday, but without much thought, I went ahead and booked the ticket anyway.

It took a few minutes for me to suddenly realize that I had just left myself with only two short days to pack up my life, to say goodbye to everything and everyone that has meant a great deal to me here in Mexico and to, just like that, move on, both physically and mentally, to the next stage of my adventure.

And that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to do. Not only did I walk along the beach this morning, but I also ran around town trying to grab one final meal at my favorite eateries, play one final game of basketball with my basketball buddies, sit in my favorite parks one more time and just have one last conversation with those who have so warmly welcomed me into their country, town and neighborhood. I basically wanted to do everything I’ve been doing every single week, but with the awareness that on this occasion, it was for the last time.

FUTURE PLANS

At 11:50am manana, as my flight takes off, one chapter of my life shall end. Only an hour and a half later, as that same flight lands in the US, a new chapter shall immediately begin. And even though the outline of this upcoming chapter is still quite vague and consisting of only tentative plans, I have a strong hunch that in the end, it’s going to be one of the most rewarding chapters of the adventure thus far.

As soon as my medical situation is all sorted out, I’ll be heading up to New York City and Boston to visit some family and friends who I haven’t seen in well over a year. Then, after I complete the rounds up there, I hope to take off once again, to a new set of unexplored countries.

I do know that I’d love to head East, with such regions as the Middle East, East Africa and Central Asia being whispered as possible destinations on my open-to-every-idea itinerary. All three are regions of the world that I have wanted to explore for some time and the near future seems like an ideal time to explore them.

But I’ll be writing plenty about that over the next couple of weeks. Right now, I have one more night in Mexico to enjoy…

Gracias por todo Mexico!