Happy Tuesday friends! Allergies have gotten the best of me this week. It’s soo weird dealing with allergies. I never did before! I went my whole life without them until I got c. diff. Not one allergy!– well, unless you count milk– but basically everyone has a milk allergy to some extent so I don’t really count it. But I never had seasonal allergies, or fruit allergies, or anything, ever! But now? Nope, now I have them– so many of them. But honestly, Alex and Marlowe have been sneezy and runny too— so I’m wondering if it’s all the wind and rain we’ve had lately kicking up all the mango flowers or something else. Who knows. Okay, I’m rambling. Enough with the allergy talk– all I want to say is that I feel for anyone else who has them. Especially bad food allergies! Booo!So I spent a bit of today day dreaming about where to travel next. And honestly? Heading back to Mexico is always high on my list. I want to do a major road trip through it one day. But I don’t know, we might do a much bigger and longer– and well, more foreign trip soon. We’ll see. But yeah, Mexico does feel so comfortable to me. I could easily call it home and never look back to the states. The food, the people, the hot and sticky weather, all of it– even the terrible mosquitos 😉 Though the mosquitos weren’t so bad at all this last trip! Summer is always the worst in mosquito land– here and there.
But I told you guys– I went into this trip with a very different energy and goal and mind. I thought it would be the most relaxing trip– laid back, kick your feet up, and relax kind of trip. The trip was nothing like that. The trip was so good for me. The energy was high– and unexpectedly exciting.
I stepped so far out of my normal comfort zone on this trip. I conquered so many fears– almost all of them maybe. I mean, I didn’t learn how to ride a bike (yet) but I’ll get to that.
On my last trip to Mexico I made a friend, Alex. Well, his friend apparently owns this giant property filled the most beautiful cenotes you’ve ever seen (you can check out his site: Kantun Chi here.) And there’s even a gigantic cave they recently discovered on the property! Can you imagine? I mean, I wouldn’t want to worry about sinkholes on my property– but it would be such a dream to live in a jungle space just a few meters from ocean, surrounded by cenotes! Alex told us, “you’ll love it. you need to go” and gosh he was right.
I thought I would spend the day laying in a hammock by a cenote, taking a few photos… but no…
We showed up and realized they were going to give us a whole tour of the property. Most of the property is open to the public– though we did get to visit newer, recently discovered cenotes that aren’t available for the public to explore. And then we discussed the cave. And by the images I had googled before, I thought “oh this will be fun, we can take a kayak through a cave!” BUT NO. That is not the case. There is no kayak tour through a cave. NOT AT ALL. There is a tour where you must dive into the cenote water to explore the cave IN WATER. Gosh, I am NOT a ‘explore in water” type of person. AT ALL. Give me a boat of some sort and I’m happy. But me swimming in water? In CAVE WATER? IN THE DARK?! Forget it. Thats not on my agenda– and never has been. But I found myself here– in what felt like a fluke chance– to meet a friend of a friend and explore this magical place– and I don’t know how, but I did it. I said yes. I sucked it up and dived into the cave water. I swam through a cave with cat fish and bats and god knows what else. And even waded through parts in pitch blackness.
If I’m being completely open with you guys– I can hardly go in a pool at night. It freaks me out too much. Ever since I was a kid I would picture myself in a dark pool and an alligator showing up. (File that under “Florida fears”). And cold water? A pool must be heated to 86 or higher. I’m not a princess, I swear, I’m just cold blooded haha. And the dark? Well, I slept with a nightlight– or some sort of light shining in my room up until last year of my life. Yeah, I know. Judge me.
But here? In Mexico? With Celia? — With this new and positive energy of good times and good people and this feeling of new-ness and moving forward? I did it. I got in the DARK, COLD, WATER inside this cave and I conquered too many fears at once. We even videoed a bit of it as proof that me, Drea, did in fact get into this unimaginable space.
I mean, there are people who live for this crap. Cave divers who find a thrill in long ropes and dark tight spaces to explore. But I am not, in any way one of those thrill seekers. But I cannot, at all, tell you how happy I am to say that I did make it in and through this day.
Just a year ago I was struggling to function. I would have ups where I could accomplish minimal tasks. And then CRASH hard again. I worried I would never feel great again. And gosh, it feels so good to not only feel good again, but do things like this. I’m not just getting by– but I’m truly living. And I’m grateful for it. Really really grateful for it. I was thinking about this Sunday, after the speaking event— that it was almost exactly two years ago where I started to feel sick. Just under two years ago I went to the hospital. And I struggled hard. So hard. And I had no timeline for when I would get better. And I was frustrated every slow day I had where I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere in terms of my health. Such a slow, unsatisfying process. But now, within the last 3-6 months or so it’s been a fast and swift incline. I can absolutely see and feel the progress.
And after visiting Kantun Chi? Well, I do feel like I’m alive and living again. Morbid maybe, But I’m still constantly fearful of illness and death. But I guess the reality of that is that fear helps, because it makes me that much more mindful and active in living each day to the fullest. And sometimes that means– jumping into the cold waters of a bat filled cave to overcome fears and find that joy. You know? 😉
I mean, I don’t plan on jumping out of a plane again anytime soon– I don’t necessarily want to put myself in high anxiety situations, but I do want to push myself. It goes back to my post on overcoming anxiety, but I’m doing it. Really doing it.
He was impressed with me, haha. Every tree and fruit he pointed to, I knew. Apparently he doesn’t come across many visitors that can name all — or even one of the fruit trees on the property. But me? I got them all and then some 😉
I’m so grateful I can say I don’t have many regrets this day. I had my fears and I challenged them. I didn’t just visit this beautiful place and sit on the sidelines in worry. I guess my only regret would be not getting there earlier. The whole day flew by– we didn’t realize there would be so much to explore or we would have gotten there earlier to do more. I guess I also wish I had (attempted) to take more photos IN the cave. But I’m happy I at least have a few. And a bit of video too.
I dont at all have a fear of heights. As long as I know I’m not hanging directly off a cliff, heights are not a problem for me. But then we got to this cliff area. And Saul said, “this is where you jump” and I was like, “no you’re insane.” And there was Celia again– being my little mentor on my shoulder. And there was my gut poking poking poking me, telling me, “this is your chance. you may not get another chance.” I guess the thing is, I don’t mind the heights, but I don’t particularly care for the feeling of falling. And so I stood there. For one minute, two minutes, five minutes, more. I held my breath and loudly counted “ONE, TWO…” and then stopped, “NO, I CANT DO IT.” I felt the most intense rush of anxiety every single time I got to two. And I almost walked away. But I knew I had to do it. I knew I was safe– that everything would be okay. But I hated that rush feeling.
And eventually… after enough times of holding my breath and counting… I did it. And every millisecond of the fall felt like a lifetime of fear rushing through my veins. And I painfully hit the water and felt an instant rush of relief running through me. Never did I think water would bring me relief, but it did. And down I went and up I bobbed, with the biggest look of shock on my face.
Afterwards we made our way to a small restaurant on the property and were treated to one of our favorite meals of the trip. A starter of guacamole and salsa and the most deliciously simple and simply delicious grilled vegetable dish. Oh and the cucumber drink? Best. Celia got her’s spiked with tequila 😉
And it felt good. A day of dirty caves, cold blue mineral water, sunshine, jungle, and more, followed by a healthy and most amazing lunch outdoors. Outdoor meals are my favorite. No, healthy and delicious outdoors meals are my favorite. No, healthy and delicious outdoors meals after conquering all your fears are my favorite 😉
A day of magic, really. Pure magic.
Thank you Alex for telling me of this place. Thank your Fernando for letting us explore your magical land and water. We’ll be back, Kantun Chi.
photos by my boo, Celia d. Luna.
PS. I totally know how to swim! the life vest were mandatory, haha. We also had to wear helmets. And I was like, “well this is ridiculous. what could we need a helmet for” and then we went in the cave and I must have banged my head on the wall at least 20 times and I understood why we would need to wear helmets and life vests in case anything happened. haha.