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Awesome Adventures …Near San Miguel

by Kathleen Bennett

With the start of another new year, many of us spend time, consciously or otherwise, assessing the pros and cons of the past year. Often our planning includes strategies for how to make the upcoming months more filled with adventures. As years pass, perhaps our definition of what constitutes an awesome adventure has changed, or should. Has your thinking about where to find future adventures broadened in this new year?

My adventures used to involve only such feats as climbing Mt. Kilimanjero and Mt. Kenya, trekking in Uganda's Rwenzori Mountains, visiting mountain gorillas in Rwanda's bamboo forests, or dancing with refugees in hidden camps near the Burmese (Myanmar) border.

The meaning of “adventure" usually implies challenging ourselves to try something new, to go somewhere we've never before been, or to interact with persons whose cultures may seem far different than our own. We make “Bucket Lists” of places we have not yet traveled or experiences we have not yet had, and delight in crossing these off, one by one. Recently I crossed off my dream of riding horseback through Outer Mongolia's mountains to the Siberian border where Tsatat people, the keepers of wild reindeer herds, live in tepees. I ended 2018 by returning to Peru to visit lesser known Incan ruins and Amazon areas that were not even accessible when I last visited Peru 49 years ago. For a single woman who grew up in a small Oklahoma Creek Indian town, I am still awed to know such adventures exist and can be realized.

Joseph Campbell, author of The Hero with a Thousand Faces and one of my long-time mentors, said: “When one steps into the forest and knows where the path leads, there can be no adventures.” The implication is that we must be willing to try new paths, not knowing where they might lead or what the outcome might be. Sometimes our focus rests too much on distant adventures, and we fail to become keenly involved in the experiences at hand. We don't need always to travel to faraway places to find awesome adventures, do we? In 2019, what adventures would truly enrich our lives that can be found near to our San Miguel homes?

While exploring nearby barrios where more diverse populations and cultural traditions exist, our focus expands about what adventures San Miguel de Allende offers. The municipality consists of far more than designer boutiques, first-class bistros, art galleries, and inviting coffee bars. If you would like to start exploring neighborhoods away from San Miguel's Center, please consider joining “History Walks Beyond Walks Beyond San Miguel's Centro” on January 24 (Chorro neighborhood) , January 31 (San Juan de Dios neighborhood) , and February 7. (Camino Real and Valle de Maiz neighborhood). Tickets for either “San Miguel's Secrets Revealed!” virtual tours or the “History Walks Beyond San Miguel's Centro” are available at the Library's east entrance desk. All proceeds benefit San Miguel de Allende's Library.

San Miguel de Allende is blessed to have so many caring and generous people, Mexicans and foreigners, who have found genuinely awesome adventures close to home. Recently a speaker at the local Unitarian service told a story about selling Boy Scout cookies as a boy. An older man offered to buy two boxes of cookies, though he did not want these. Rather he advised the young man to give the boxes away to someone he felt really needed them with the caveat: “Tell that recipient he or she can eat one box of cookies, but the other box must be passed on to someone else.”

During 2019 let's consider giving our symbolic boxes of cookies to others while encouraging them to also share. In doing so, we may find ourselves discovering a multitude of awesome adventures closer to home.

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Kathleen Bennett is a year-round resident of San Miguel de Allende. Previously she worked as a writing professor at the University of Colorado, owner of a real estate business, and commercial pilot. She volunteers as a History Walking Guide for San Miguel's Biblioteca and presents virtual tours entitled “San Miguel's Secrets Revealed”. Tickets for History Walks or Virtual Tours are available at the Library's east entrance desk. 100% of all proceeds benefit the many free classes offered to San Miguel's children and other events sponsored by San Miguel's Library.

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