Everyone I know thought it was insane to hitchhike in Mexico. But the majority of these people have never actually hitchhiked anywhere, let alone Mexico. Watching sensationalized news reports does not make people experts at threat analysis…
Hitching out of a major city can be difficult, so I decided to jump into a collectivo to get out of the city of Merida and visit the Hacienda Yaxcopoil a few miles away. It’s an old Spanish estate & plantation.
After my visit to the crumbling hacienda, I started walking down the highway. It was getting late, and even though I probably could have picked up a ride to the next town to get a hotel, I decided to find a place to camp out for the night. A night of camping would be cheaper, and I could pick up a ride the next day.
This particular highway is very busy, and just to be safe I didn’t want anyone to see me leaving the road to go into the woods. Once I found an area of land that wasn’t blocked off by barbed wire, I started looking for some good trees far enough away from the road and without too much underbrush.
I use a great lightweight camping hammock that has bug netting attached which is very comfortable, and allows me to set up over rocks and uneven land.
When I saw a good spot, I just started walking back and forth along the road until there were no cars coming from either direction, then I started hiking into the woods. This was so I wouldn’t be seen by a local who knew I was trespassing on someone else’s land. A common sense stealth camping technique. :)
I discovered a nice grove of solid trees that would hide me from the road. I had just put my stuff down and started to set up my hammock when suddenly a huge animal burst from the underbrush 3 feet away from me! It startled me so much that I automatically yanked pepper spray from my pocket ready to blind whatever it was…
I had stumbled upon a wild turkey nest! A gigantic turkey had been camouflaged in front of me, and only when I almost stepped on her did she fly off in front of my face.
I calmed down and checked out where she had been hiding, only to discover 2 large speckled eggs in the nest. I wouldn’t be setting up the hammock between these particular trees anymore… There was another set of trees about 50 yards away where I finished setting up camp as the sun set.
I tried to sleep without earplugs in, but the night noises of the woods were pretty loud. To try and get some much needed sleep without worrying about the strange sounds I was hearing, the earplugs went in.
The next day I got a ride to the little town of Muna with a local farmer. It took about 30 minutes to get picked up. We tried to talk a bit, but it was the usual “where are you from, how long are you here, do you like Mexico” kind of thing. If I had learned some more Spanish before I got here, we could have had a better conversation. He was very friendly though and the trip was pretty uneventful.
While I was out on the road, everyone driving past seemed a bit surprised to see me hitchhiking, I think they assume most foreign tourists are rich and should be traveling by first class bus. The foreigners in the first class busses that passed me seemed equally surprised. They don’t know what they’re missing! :)