Sketchy Tacos Author Guest Post
How Travel Opened My World – Meg D. Gonzalez
Who knew that one night of salsa dancing could change the course of a life?
When I accepted Alan Gonzalez’s offer of a dance, I began on a journey that pulled me out of my sheltered life and into a big and beautiful world.
When he took me to Mexico for the first time, he first introduced me to the tourist side of Mexico. He took me to Playa del Carmen, which is a slightly classier version of Cancun.
Tip #1: Search for hotels with multiple branches in the area. We got a great deal on two rooms across the street from the beach ($100 a night). It was partnered with a hotel on the beach, which we could access for free—all beaches are privately owned in Mexico. We could use the beach hotel’s lounge chairs and beachside service, and we got a room at a fraction of the price!
After enjoying the beach for a few days, we traveled to the nearby Cenotes, which are freshwater lagoons. It was beautiful! There was a small cliff from which we could jump into the lagoons and so many fish!
Tip #2: Feed the fish with care. We bought fish food from the stand at the entrance. The fish all swam away from us until the first pinch hit the water. Then they swarmed! It was pretty cool, though a little alarming. A few of the more adventurous ones nibbled on my toes! It tickled so much that I laughed and swallowed some water. Within 30 minutes, I was feeling ill.
Tip #3: DON’T SWALLOW THE WATER. Okay, you’ve probably heard this one, but it’s no joke. I was seriously sick for a week plus, which was really unfortunate because that night he proposed! (Check out our full, fairly hilarious proposal story here.)
We also visited the ruins at Tolum, which I only vaguely remember because of the whole feeling sick thing. But it was very cool, and definitely something I recommend if you haven’t seen ruins before. (Little tip: You should totally bring your swimsuit, because Tolum’s got a great little beach.)
Alan then took me to the house in which he grew up for a big, Mexican-style engagement/birthday party. They’d engaged a cook for the evening to make amazing traditional tacos and quesadillas. His friends pitched in to get him a mariachi band for a few hours. Everyone sang along to the songs, and we danced.
One of the first things that struck me was the warmth of all of his friends and family. The immediate attitude was, “We love him, therefore we love you.” They welcomed me with open arms… After they got over the shock of him coming home engaged to a girl they’d never met 😉
It was a whole new side of the country I’d only seen depicted in cartoons or on the news. Once Alan and I married, I moved with him to Mexico for a year. The rich culture and varied landscape captured my imagination, and I just knew I had to share.
Everything was vibrant from the food to the music to the paint on the walls. The party and later the markets and towns were so full of life.
Emotions and voices run loud and unchecked. Friendships are strong and made for life. Life is lived to the fullest.
Sketchy Tacos-The Book
My time in Mexico inspired my first book, Sketchy Tacos. In this YA travel novel, a teenage artist travels to Mexico to escape her overbearing mother and find what she wants to do with her life. She encounters mishaps and misadventures, friends and some very cute boys on this fun summer romp.
Sketchy Tacos in an outsider’s view of the often-overlooked middle-class Mexico. And it’s a story very near to my heart. If you’d like to learn more about Mexico and Sketchy Tacos, check out my Adventurers’ Resource Library—which offers insider guides to Mexican food, “Travel Mexico Like a Native,” and more.
Meg D. Gonzalez is a tea-sipping, adventure-seeking, pug-loving kind of girl. She’s crazy for God and wants to share His love with awesome young women around the globe.
Grab a copy of Meg D. Gonzalez’s YA travel novel, Sketchy Tacos. Explore a new culture through teenage artist Mila Gulick’s eyes while she struggles to find herself and her faith in vibrant, fun-filled Mexico.
Meg would love to connect! You can email her at meg (at) megdgonzalez.com or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. To get the first two chapters of Sketchy Tacos and instant access to the adventurers’ and writers’ resource libraries, click here now!
You can read my review of Sketchy Tacos here.