Up to now I have always been a city boy. Yes, I am from Kansas but I’m from Kansas City, a bustling metropolis of more than 2 million people (larger than both New Orleans and Las Vegas I might add). I didn’t grow up on a farm, I never lived in a small town and no, I have never driven a tractor. I have always enjoyed nice restaurants, good food, museums, spending time with family, hanging out with friends at a local watering hole etc. You know, social events. My idea of “getting away from it all” was to go to my family’s cabin at Table Rock Lake (normally with a group of family or friends). I always considered our lake cabin to be rustic. After all it’s on a gravel road 15 minutes from the nearest town, the satellite only gets like 50 channels and neither TV is even HD. So you know, it’s pretty rustic.
I tell you this so that you’ll have some idea about how woefully unprepared I was to start some quiet country living in Xcalak. And by quiet country living I of course mean living in the jungle miles from any semblance of civilization with less than a full complement of modern conveniences.
Our house here in Xcalak is totally off the grid – power is supplied by solar energy, water is taken from cisterns filled by rainfall and internet is beamed in from some magical space blimp or satellite or something (when I was told it worked I stopped asking questions). Being off the grid is very cool but it definitely takes a unique batch of skills. Just today I learned how to equalize a solar powered battery array, burn palm fronds and coconuts in high winds and how to make a cup of french press coffee. I mean, I grew up camping but this is something else entirely.
Moving to the country has been a challenge, a shock and most of all – absolutely amazing. This place is the most beautiful, wild and pristine place I have ever been. I mean, we’re living in a national park for pete’s sake, how cool is that!
There are not many places left in North America as remote as Xcalak and I think that has a lot to do with how natural this area still is. The best way to get here from the US is to fly to Cancun, rent a car, drive about 5 hours to Xcalak and then another 30-45 minutes outside of town to our house. Another alternative would be to take a series of buses from Cancun but I wouldn’t recommend this method. Once you get here there are certainly difficulties associated with day to day living. No coffee makers, no trash service, no hot water, no air conditioning and no grocery store for hours. I could go on and on but I think these inconveniences are a part of what makes Xcalak and the surrounding area so incredible. This place isn’t for everyone and frankly, I think that’s a really good thing. If it was easy to live or vacation here there would be a lot more people. More people would inevitably damage if not destroy this incredibly special yet fragile place and it would be lost forever.
In this environment Mother Nature is definitely in charge. It’s a lot of hard work just to keep up with her but she rewards us in so many ways for that hard work. The wild beauty of this place is something that is hard to define and even harder to describe other than to say that it’s one of the most spectacular and awe inspiring places I’ve ever been. On a daily basis it sneaks up on me and I have to shake my head and say to myself, “Holy s#&*, I actually live here.”
So have I become a country boy? I’m not really sure yet but if there’s such a thing as a country beach bum, than you’ve found your man!