I gave Deal Girl the Sun but she gave me so much more. This past weekend we were invited on a tour with Urban Adventures to visit Teotihuacan on their “Beyond Mexico City” tour. Instead of a standard review, I want to tell you a story.
Sometimes what you remember about a trip is not what you did but what you didn’t do. That’s the case with my trip to Mexico City 18 months ago. On that trip I also visited Teotihuacan, on a larger group tour. That tour group of over 20 climbed the Pyramid of the Moon, and I thought I was going to be the ancients’ latest human sacrifice when I finally lumbered onto the top. Adding to my general lack of physical fitness was an ankle break that I’m still aware of and a mortal fear of uneven steps. The group was given 30 minutes “free time” after and it took me that long to get down- mostly on my butt. It wasn’t pretty. Climb the Pyramid of the Sun, twice as high? No #@$@# way! So although the day was beautiful, I had a real sense of my limitations up on that small hill.
Fast forward to Sunday. The day was cloudy, but in my mind will always be 100 times more beautiful. Our Urban Adventures group was only six, with two guides and a driver. We took a public bus to from our downtown meeting point (HUGE plus: no annoying hours of hotel pickups!) to the main terminal where we met a van to the Pyramids. The entire time Deal Girl talked about nothing but climbing the Pyramid of the Sun. I just kept my mouth shut, trying to figure out how I was going to manage her expectations once we got there.
Our Intrepid (see what I did there, Urban Adventures is owned by Intrepid) little group arrived at Teotihuacan and after touring the grounds attacked the Pyramid of the Moon first. OK. I knew I COULD do this one, even if I also knew I barely survived it last time. But a strange thing happened. I was still the last of the group of six to make it up, and still needed to take a break 1/2 way, but I made it without feeling like I was going to die. Progress!
(I should digress here and mention that I’ve lost a few pounds in the 18 months between trips. Not enough to be unrecognizable, clearly, but enough that the pants from the photo last time have since been given to goodwill. And enough, I guess, that the strain of getting my butt up that hill wasn’t quite as much.)
So from the top of the Pyramid of the Moon I made a decision- I’m not going to let Deal Girl see me afraid to try. At 8 Deal Girl is absolutely fearless- has been her entire life- and I’m not going to be the one to let her down. (Tearing up as I’m typing…)
So we climbed the Pyramid of the Sun. All of it. A little victory in the grand scheme of life, but I’ll take it.
Props to our tour guides Rodrigo and Pilar who took turns holding my bag, which I’m sure helped. Double props to Rodrigo for taking some amazing candid photos after the posed ones I asked for were done. What also helped was having such a small group so there was no pressure of me holding back a bus full of people while I made my way sloooowly up and even more sloooowly back down.
Only after we were on top did I mention to Deal Girl that I had never climbed the Sun Pyramid. Only after we were done did I tell her that I was afraid, but so glad I did it anyway. She understood that the rewards of trying something new- even if scary- are worth the risk.
I’d like to think that’s why she dove into the unfamiliar looking horchata drink and tortilla soup with our home-made dinner later with gusto- but that just may be her personality. I will say that most eight year olds I’ve seen don’t vary much outside the pizza/nugget box and I’d like to think our Urban Adventures have something to do with her sense of wonder at the world around her.
Thanks again to Urban Adventures for inviting us on the Hidden Mexico City tour. Though we didn’t pay for our tickets, I did a lot of research before going and think the UA tour is both fairly priced and was definitely higher quality than the tour I did pay for last year. Thanks also to Southwest Airlines for the opportunity to visit Mexico City.
What little victory have you achieved lately through travel? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
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