From Being a stutterer to being a Solo Traveler
Growing up I was insecure to the point of not being able to speak to other people to avoid stuttering. When I finally convinced my mom to order pizza I couldn´t call the pizza shop myself because I wholeheartedly believed that the person on the other side of the phone would laugh at my stuttering. I was 8 years old and was so worried at what other people would think of me when meeting me that I chosed to be a loner.
My brother is three years younger than me. When I was twelve I used to spend my weekends playing video games while he was outside playing ball or engaging our neighbours. I got so nervous when people rang the door because I didn´t want to speak to other people. I remember one time when he got bullied by some kids my age on my neighbourhood, he came crying to me and I had to gather all of my courage and went out and stood up for him. I am a black belt on tae-kwon-do since I am 16 but at that time I was only a green belt but still, I took care of both of them and that was it, noone ever again bullied my brother. But I was still bullied by older kids.
Yes, I loved that Dracula costume.
Another thing, I grew up in Mexico´s social circle where being white and/or blonde was the norm. My brother came out white but I came out a little darker and that played a significant role on my life. I used to be bullied because of my stuttering but also because of my skin color.
Of course i had other costumes!!
I went to a psychologist and she said I was stuttering because my mind was going twice as fast as my capacity of speaking so my brain would get confused and chose to give me time to react by stuttering. Great job, useless brain.
I was already thirteen and I started to get interested in girls. Yeah, imagine that, this not so handsome kid with a dirt moustache (I didn´t shaved back then) having all this psychological burden on his back trying to speak to girls. Back on my day you used to call the girl´s house and ask to speak with her. As you may have guessed, I tried it once and that was it, I didn´t do it again until I was like eighteen.
Highscool came and I was decided to stop being this person. I just couldn´t take it anymore. Actually girls started to have an interest on me but I just couldn´t even speak to them and when I could, all of the magic was gone and they just got this look on their face like Is this dude for real?
I had friends, I wasn´t a total reject (even though I should have been) and I was playing an important role on my gang everytime girls weren´t around. Here is a pic of my crew back in middle school.
But that had to change. For real, you black stutter (that is how a bully used to call me when I was thirteen). So one summer I decided to come back a differente person. I started to read outloud in front of the mirror, to try and speak with anyone who dared to do it on the streets, I even called a few random numbers on the phone (which my mom found out and grounded the food out of me). But the challenge was already confronted, I had to return to sophomore year a new person. It took a lot of courage but also I had to realize that I had a problem and if I wanted to fix it I had to take the bull by its horns.
It worked. It freaking worked.
I started to gain confidence and to believe in myself and that played a mayor role on my stuttering. I still had it but I even found ways to hide it. When I knew it was coming (as a stutter you just know it) I would coff or yawn and allow me to gain air and stop my thinking for a second. It was working!!
Yes, it worked.
Anyway, highschool was awesome after that. I thought of me as a new person and with everything to gain and nothing to loose. Here i am with my highschool crew. (yes, I even changed schools).
From then on, everything changed, in college I even got a girlfriend and it went though for three years. We were in love and she showed me a lot about relationships. Also it meant a lot for me because she was the first white girl I could convince to be my girlfriend.
But with that confidence, the drinking started. Being 22 years old and having this sort of perfect life… It all started to dissappear…
My drinking became a habit. I started to fail at college, a very expensive college which my parents were struggling to pay for. I was drinking on school nights and going to uni on the next day still drunk, driving the car my parents gave me. Obviously, I lost the semester, my girl, my dignity and the remaining respect my college buddies had for me but most importantly, I lost both of my parents trust.
In the meantime, my parents split up for reasons non-related to my story and I left home after failing uni. I was 22 at that moment, the year was 2011. My mom stopped paying my tuition and I found myself with nothing holding me back to my home city.
I sold everything and left to Playa del Carmen, this party but still bohemian and chill town in the Mayan Riviera, back when it wasn´t full of noisy tourists, I figured that if I was going to be poor it could be anywhere, so why not in this paradise?
I started working at the front desk of a hostel. This hostel offered me somewhere to sleep in, money and access to cure European girls – back then the tourism was 70% euro, 20% south American and 10% US).
I managed to get deals with local night clubs and in exchange of bringing them people every night I had access to open bar bracelets for me and my brother, whom I brought with me on this foolish journey.
Yep, five months of drinking myself to sleep, lots of partying and too much sex, no drugs though because boy scout for life but still, I reached rock bottom at one point.
It was enough. If I don´t leave now I am going to wake up one day being 35, appearing 50 and having achieved nothing in my life.
I went back to Mexico city only to find out that I couldn´t go back home because my aunt from my mother´s side was living there, she accepted my brother on the house but not me. My mom was living with her new boyfriend.
A friend got me a job in his father´s company but I still had nowhere to sleep… My job was being a personal assistant to the owner so I had keys to the office. Right on, I was sleeping at the office, showering at the gym, working during the day and going to school on the evening – money was enough for tuition, not on an elite school like before but still a somewhat good college – so yeah, I was kind of back on track.
But the travelling seed was already planted on my mind. It is like in the movie Inception, once an idea is strongly rooted on your brain you can´t fight it, it overtakes your mind. Meeting all these different people from all over the world left me on a restless state of living, and it was growing every day.
But school first. That was my priority at the moment. I am so glad it was.
One year passed, I was taking double credits in order to make up for the lost time. I had two semesters left to get my marketing degree. I was in such a good streak that I even started to study psychology in another uni at the same time. But II needed to get a real job in a big company, even my boss told me that.
And then my mom got sick. Our relationship was Ok, no hard feelings and lots of love. The mom is the mom, mates. I was sleeping in the hospital almost every day – so pretty much the same, I just exchanged the office couch for the hospital couch hehe -. June 2012 is the worst month in my life so far. Ten days in the hospital, eight days on intensive care, then funeral paperwork and afterwards having to deal with the family and legal battles.
You are never ready for that. One can never be prepared for saying good bye to you mother, no matter if you are 23 or 90 years old, your life changes and you are never the same again.
My mom left me and my bro some money and the house. I could finish college and started to work for the biggest company in Mexico – seriously, the biggest – I started as an intern and after 4 years I was already a manager in the purchasing area. I was seeing my dad every week, had a good relationship with my brother, the women side was fine, I was dating regularly, I had a good job, I bought a brand new car, a motorbike for the weekends… I was doing great.
Life was good again. Almost four years with a steady job, a steady home, steady relationships with family and women, my best friend being my brother.
But if you´ve read so far, you already know that steady is just another word for boring for this nomad mindset of mine. Routine kills me, certainty numbs me, safety blinds me. I landed a $2,000 US/month job – really serious cash for Mexico standards – but I couldn´t keep it for more than four months. My body, mind and soul wanted to travel, a long travel, the longest I could.
I had to leave.
Even life and karma started to send me signals because at one point I was refusing to take the decision of leaving. In the span of nine months I broke my ancle, burned 30% of my body with 2nd degree burns, crashed and flipped my car on a highway almost dying and got pneumonia. This was 2015.
After being on fire
After breaking my ancle
So in 2016 I sold everything – again – and here I am, almost nine months after I left my city, and I am loving every second of this life. So far I´ve been to almost every part of Mexico, 9 states of the US, Cuba, Belize, Guatemala and now I am in Honduras heading to Nicaragua.
And that, my friends, is how I went from being a Stutterer to being a Solo Traveler.
The rest you already know about it, it is here, on my blog, the future? Well, I will let you share it with me on one condition, you have to promise me that wherever we go, only one thought will be on your mind, you will…