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Member Spotlight – Shelly

Drifting Purposefully in Mexico


What am I doing in Mexico?

Mexico… Allows me to travel.. And become immersed in the Spanish-speaking world. The food and warm sunny people are the salsa to my quesadilla. I love the lifestyle here… But of course solo travel hasn’t been without its challenges.  Thankfully I still feel a strong connection with friends and family back home, whom I can rely on and talk to, for example when I am all alone hiding in a bathroom armed with nail scissors because I think someone was in the house. I am letting go of paranoia, trusting strangers and having a great time. Of course solo travel does result in some hairy situations but I am learning – always!  Even when I am tired of new challenges and lessons to be learnt.

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One of my favourite days in Mexico, travelling around Acapulco with a taxi driver named Carlos

Let’s backtrack: Who am I?

Soy poeta… I am a poet or have been. Now I am a traveller and the question of what I did in my past life kind of unnerves me. I am what I am doing now, not everything that I done. I am a dreamer, traveller, teacher, poet. I emcee and hope to create more content and stage shows to perform in Scotland, when I move there after travelling Mexico. Despite the cold temperatures I am afraid of I know there will be far more opportunities to perform at gigs and festivals in Europe than are geographically possible in Australia. You can find my poetry and random ramblings on my Facebook poetry page Shell MCEE. My Mexican visual diary – until the failed attempt of taking a selfie with a Flamingo in the Princess Hotel Acapulco broke my back phone camera, is on Instagram: _shell_mc .

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The flamingo shot before the selfie-stick flung my phone into the cement

Mexico Flow

Most of my previous travels have revolved around some kind of purpose, like when I spent a year in France my aim was to become fluent in French, attend university and work as an Assistante in a high school. In Mexico I have felt many times like I am drifting in a strange current, one of multiple directions to an unknown destination. Fortunately for every storm cloud of there is a silver lining – suddenly something wonderful always happens! At the start of my travels in Mexico I remember feeling lost, depressed and alone in Mexico City. So of course I went in search of happiness – AKA food! I wandered down a random street and hit the jackpot with a great little taqueria. An old Mexican octogenarian said to me “You beautiful,” with a gorgeous cheeky grin. I felt lighter, and not so alone. Then, I met a lovely traveller at the same taco stand. We walked and talked for hours. He sang, I recited poetry. Now I have a friend in New York.

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Me in another perfect Mexican rustic backdrop

I feel un poco grounded (in the good sense) at the moment – I am staying for one month in Sayulita, volunteering. I am volunteering for an Mexican Adventure Company. Here I can try to kill two birds with one stone: learning Spanish and becoming a surfista – riding the waves that I choose. I have been fortunate enough to take part in beach cleanups, and I am hoping to embark on some bigger projects here – like setting up a plastic-free week challenge. Watch this space..! This time, I have more control in the direction I am going. On my first night here I observed a rainbow to above the ocean to my right, to the left was the sunset, and in between the rainbow and the sunset baby turtles were being released. With visual imagery like this I am certainly living in a place were dreams and life collide.

Reunited with my Mexican friend Ana, who I met in Oz, at Frida’s House in Mexico City


What next?

For now I am re-thinking how I want to live the rest of my life. I want it to be simple (I have managed to give away clothes and items out of my backpack at each stop). At a previous Workaway in Oaxaca, Mexico I lived without running water for a week – and the world did not stop turning! Happiness for me is a couple of palm trees, a beach and the ability to eat nice food and meet good people. I want to live with less plastic. I want to play the ukulele. Live simply and deeply.  For every woman contemplating hitting refresh: do it! For me this felt like now or never. Yes I have had to hustle along the way to save money etc. but the reward is the life you want to live. So many well-meaning people told me I would not be able to travel if I bought a house. I bought my first home in 2015 and I am so grateful I have a home to come home to when I return to Australia. People also tell me you can’t do this kinda thing when you have kids… Well they will just have to wait and see about that too 😉

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Mexican Independence Day fireworks

For the meantime. Every sunset is beautiful. Every encounter has the chance to be meaningful.  Even when solo travelling I know I am not alone. So where the water takes me is where I will go. The greatest part is that I am not being swept away but am choosing to drift and sway and flow. I am free.

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At this very moment in Acapulco I realised we are all drifting in the big, blue cosmos

Member Spotlight highlights stories of inspiring women from our She Hit Refresh community. We hope that by sharing their stories of change and travel we can expose the unconventional paths that thousands of women 30 years and older have chosen.  There is no one way to live a life, just your way.

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