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Pamela MacNaughtan

When did negative events in first world countries become more important than negative events in second or third world countries? Why is it that when something horrific happens in the United States it’s plastered all over the news and social media? People around the world share their outcries at what has happened, giving their support and love to victims. Yet if these same events took place in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Mexico, or the Middle East, the reactions don’t even come close to being the same. Many times it’s not outcries of love and support, it’s advice and caution about visiting the country.

There has been a bombing. People have been killed/murdered. You shouldn’t be travelling there!

Can you imagine if that was the reaction to this week’s events in Boston? Of course you can’t. Those events took place in the United States. When would anyone issue a travel advisory for the United States?

So why is it that places like Mexico, whose murder rate is lower than the combined murder rates of New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago, get a bad rap? Why is it that when someone announces they are travelling throughout Mexico, at least one or two people will tell them to “Be careful, Mexico is really dangerous!”?

Pre-Conceived Notions

We are pepper sprayed with negative information about Mexico (and many other places) in the media. We don’t hear about heart warming stories because those stories don’t generate interest. The public dosen’t want heart warming stories. No. The negative stories are the ones where everyone becomes glued to the television or their computer screen. The negative stories generate more reactions. The public needs boundaries, they need the media to tell them where they should and should not go. Who they should trust. Who they should love and who they should hate.

In many ways traditional media is like a dictator, and we follow along like we’re in a trance. We start sentences with “The news said”, or “Did you hear?!”. Our conversations are filled with shock, awe, surprise, disgust, hatred, sadness, and plethora of other emotions. If traditional media where a group of friends, we’d be told to drop them and move on. Find true friends. But traditional media is not our friend. It fills us with pre-conceived notions, and unfortunately many of us take traditional media at it’s word and we do not make an effort to challenge it, or to discover another angle of the same story.

Mexico Has a Past, So What!!

Like every country in the world, Mexico has a past, and some of that past is rather dark. Yes, drug cartels wielded incredible power for many years. Yes, many people were killed. Yes, there are a lot of kidnappings. But guess what? That level of crime has not occurred in Mexico for over ten years now. Yet we’re still being told that Mexico is dangerous and if we’re going to ignore the travel advisories, than we should at least stay in resorts where it is a tad safer.

Bollocks!

Less than 5% of the population is responsible for the crime in Mexico, and for some ridiculous reason they seem to control the flow of tourists in and out of the country. Stupid, right?

Thankfully not everyone has fallen into the negative media trap, and they’re discovering that Mexico is so much more.

The Reality of Travel in Mexico

In a twisted way I’m grateful for the brainless numb-nuts who report the dangers of Mexico. They’ve made Mexico (a country rich in culture, food, and history) sound like a poor travel choice, and inadvertently made it even more appealing to me. Twisted, but true. I know that there is more to a country than the small percentage of a-holes who make it sound like an unwise travel choice. I know that by using common sense, and making solid travel choices, I can discover more about a country’s culture, food, history, and people.

I spent my first month in Mexico living with friends in Bucerias.  The beach was a kilometer away, and although we lived in the Mexican side of town, we were still very close to the tourist side. It was fabulous in its own way, but it wasn’t until I left Bucerias and travelled into the interior of Mexico that I truly started to experience the country.

My family was concerned, especially when I said I’d be travelling by bus, but their concerns were for not. Thankfully Mexico is nothing like what the media reports. Duh!

Mexico is utterly enchanting.

  • The street food is delicious, and hunting down taco stands has become a hobby of mine.
  • The street market culture makes me giddy, and I’m starting to think that I need to have a calendar just to mark down the dates and locations of all the outdoor markets that I want to visit, and that I want to share with you.
  • The Mexican people are delightful, accepting, helpful, fun, and so much more than I can possibly describe in a single post.
  • The history of Mexico is fascinating, and every time I visit ancient ruins I dream of buying a VW Beatle and driving around the country, visiting each and every site.
  • Travelling by bus is about 75% better in Mexico than it is in Canada or the United States. The buses are extremely comfortable, affordable, and I wouldn’t dream of travelling through Mexico any other way (except in my very own VW Beatle).

There are problems throughout the world, and yes they are sad and horrific at times, but that doesn’t mean that we close our eyes, hearts, or minds to the countries that find themselves under a media microscope. It doesn’t mean we turn our back and say “They’re all bad. I’m not going there!”. It’s so important to remember that there are good/amazing people everywhere. Chaos and violence are mischievous jerks, but don’t allow them to ruin your life, or change the way you see the world.

As I quickly flip through my social media feed, skimming updates by friends about the events in Boston, I cannot help but think of how utterly lucky and blessed I am to be in Mexico. It’s time to stop being mindless media whores and to make choices for yourself. It’s time to look for another angle to the negative stories we’re being forced to hear.

Comments:

  • April 19, 2013

    “Believe only half of what you see and none of what you hear.”

    I’m loving your updates on Mexico, and your insights on the myths people tend to believe.

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  • April 20, 2013

    Kudos to you for railing against ignorance. Bravo.

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  • April 29, 2013

    Amen! Wrote about this (about Cancun) last week! Thanks for helping to spread the word.

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