When I was 17 years old I spent my savings on a plane ticket to Mexico.
In Mexico City I retraced the life of Frida Kahlo and gorged on street tacos. I sat at Leon Trotsky's desk, people-watched in the Zocalo, walked around the Aztec Templo Mayor, stood before Our Lady of Guadalupe, and visited Teotihuancan. I rode a bus to Taxco where I bought heavy silver rings embedded with colourful stones. I stopped in Acapulco to swim in the ocean. By Oaxaca, I was addicted to travel.
On Christmas Eve I awoke on a stationary bus somewhere in the rainforest of Chiapas. A fallen tree was blocking the road, and the driver explained that it wouldn't be moved until morning. A sign outside warned that we had entered Zapatista Territory; I stepped out and bargained for a blue blanket on the side of the road. Snuggling my backpack, I tried to sleep.
The bus arrived early, and before setting off for the Mayan ruins outside of Palenque, I was tasked with securing a room. It was Christmas and the town felt empty. I walked from hostel to hostel; everywhere was booked, but I was enamoured by the idea of a girl named Maria wrapped in blue, searching for a bed.
The photo is me (when I went by my middle name Maria) at Monte Alban in Oaxaca.