This is the story of a 9-day (1600 mile) round-trip car adventure I took from Chapala Mexico to Albuquerque, to finalize my official move to the new Intentional community I have founded in Mexico. It’s a new level of excitement and adventure (the things that I live for), in my otherwise already pretty crazy life; but this trip was a bit too much even for me. I call this “living by the grace of God”.
The fundamental reason for the trip was to cross the US border at Laredo TX, and return in order to renew my visa and car permit. This is a 4-day round-trip. But since I was on the road anyway, I decided to continue to Albuquerque and back to empty my storage and pick-up some important papers and packages. I knew that the car was kind of iffy for such a long trip. But there was, I will confess, a separate agenda which was to do a little “road therapy”. Life has been extraordinarily intense here since I arrived here last July, and I thought a trip would calm me. It was a rather ambitious plan and yet, somehow, to worked out perfectly in the end.
So the car is the vehicle I am calling the “nano-RV“, which is a 2-door Ford Focus which has been converted for life on the road with a rear bed platform and an electrical system to power a 12V fridge. It’s a fabulous vehicle, with one exception. There has been an intermittent ignition / security problem which causes it to not start sometimes. It used to be that the problem would go away by itself in 5-10 minutes tops, but about a week ago it went totally dead. I did a couple things and it was fine for several days.
On the first day of the trip, I pull over for lunch at a taco stand, turn off the engine, and the car would not start. I am shitting bricks, of course. Ten seconds later it starts. But then I am driving and my dashboard goes blank. No speedometer, no gas gage. Oddly, the car keeps running. After flashing on and off for a couple of hours, its fine. I leave the engine running for the balance of 6 hour trip to my first stop, a hotel in Matehuala.
But while this is happening, I am thinking: “WTF??? Marco are you fucking crazy”? You doing a 9 day trip through Mexico and then into fairly remote areas of the US with an unreliable car and very little money?”
Important information here, that the trip is emptying my bank account and I have no credit, for reasons I don’t need to share here. The money requirements for this trip are very precisely calculated, and there is no leeway for unexpected situations or accidents.
Next, I am thinking: “What can I do? I am not turning back now, not with a visa and car permit that expire in a week and makes the car subject to confiscation. A car is needed where I live in Mexico and it’s needed by the commune. Without a car, I am dead and the commune is probably dead too. I have to go on“.
And then I started praying, something which I never do…
It went something like this: “Dear God, please get me to Albuquerque and back. I know that you approve of this trip and you want it to succeed. I know that you [God] like communes”. This sounded completely ridiculous even to me, but somehow it calmed me. And in the end, the problem did not recur. I don’t know that my prayer had any effect; but I will declare, it probably did not hurt 🙂
And this was not the only time on this trip in which divine intervention was necessary. On my first night in Albuquerque (albeit with the hotel paid for two days) I found myself with $20 net worth after an unexpected expense. It’s my first time traveling without credit, and I discovered that hotels take a $100 debit card authorization on the room which can take up to 5 days to clear.
On my second night in Albuqerque, the authorization cleared. I celebrated with a good lunch and full tank of gas. On the morning of the third day, I received the refund of my Mexican TIP (car permit) which added $400 to my net worth and enabled me to return at least to Laredo. And on the fourth day, my social security came in 3 days early (this has NEVER happened before) along with a few customer payments, giving me net worth of $2200. This would get me to the border to pay for my TIP renewal and rent-due once I arrived back home; but “just that” and nothing more.
“Saved by the bell”. I thought to myself: “Well, either God loves me very much, or else I am an exceptionally lucky fool”.
The rest of the trip continued in this vein. Everything got done (and it was a lot), but just in time for my arrival back home on schedule. Which, incidentally, was two days before I was to start a new round of courses, for which 15 people had already paid me. It would not have been possible to run these courses from the road and I would have had to refund them all, about $1500.
That’s all. Another chapter in my crazy life. It’s both exhilarating and terrifying. I am happy now, but I never want to do this again. At least if I can help it.
Final words: the reason that I am so attracted to life in community is that intentional community operates as a kind of “karma accelerator”. Meaning that great excitement and transformation happen, but great challenges happen as well, typically. From the outside (and even from the inside) it can look like total insanity. I did this trip for the commune, ultimately (because a car is needed where I live, and because the commune can’t happen without me). As such, the karma acceleration was already happening before I left.
I must admit that I like it, the karma acceleration. At some level, I enjoy the craziness of my life
I would have liked it less, no doubt, if I had been stranded on the road with a broken down car with all my stuff in the back and no money fix it or stay at a hotel. But this didn’t happen.
I am still on the fence about the amount of karma acceleration that I can tolerate. That will do for now, if you please, dear God. I appreciate you very much; now go away and leave me alone.
At the same time, I have to acknowledge that things are not really in my control. We’ll have to see how things go at the Intentional Community in Mexico.