A Gipsy Life

Twenty years of constant traveling makes me an expert on what to pack for every occasion, but my experience lays deeper than the life of a pampered wife; drifting my entire life from town to town built in me adaptability skills like a strange Darwinian experiment, where only the fittest survive.

kombi van mint 1972I was born in the outskirts of the northern city of Monterrey in Mexico, from hard working parents who saved the entire nine months to provide me with the best private hospital they could afford, avoiding at all cost the mishaps they suffered with my brother at the community clinic. I was not a week old when I was already traveling with my family throughout the roads of great old Mexico. My dad adapted his mint and white VW Kombi to fit my crib and my brother’s high chair for safe travel; the dog’s basket was comfortably placed between the two front seats guarding the diaper’s bag and the cans of powder milk, and he ready to jump on my mother’s lap as soon as the window rolled down.

Though I have no recollection of my early years traveling around the narrow dusty roads of Mexico, I have plenty of Polaroid pictures documenting every month of our existence; without phones back then, my mother had a system for my grand mother to know our whereabouts; every site and place to have a good meal was recorded and mailed, every long curl in my brother’s hair was tied in a ribbon, sent along with clothes of mine and a family portrait taken at one of those cheap photo booths during the last Sunday of the month.

My toddler years passed by between roads, farms and rural scenery, anywhere my dad needed to go to sell all kind of trinkets, and we ran-on were there right next to him. School years were the most challenging ones; following my dad’s way of life was not as easy as when you were a toddler. Moving every 10 months just to remain nearby, trying to catch up to his closest location so we could be together as a family at least for a weekend was hard, especially for my mother; she end up raising us as if she was a single mother but being married.

Arcos-antonio-CasoI learned to pack fast and have only the necessary things at hand, ready to jump into the van whenever my mother told us to, no question asked, no arguments, we just got in. Needless to say my social life was unique to say the least; I could never confirm an invitation with the proper two weeks; I never knew if I could go or not to a weekend party, and that alienated me from the rest of the classmates. But I was never without friendships; school was my only stable location no matter the city, and school was always the same: the alfa males, the clicks, the sticks, the joks, the geeks, the nerds and me, the transfer student, the one everyone knows will end up leaving eventually. After the first five years of elementary and good friends left behind, I absorbed the unspoken code of life: survival of the fittest. A life without roots obligated me to take care of myself and my family at all cost, since there would be no one next to me to lean on.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI spent most of my college years the same as I did before, but now instead of catching up with dad I had to work, so at least I got paid to skip parties. I did get married though, and my husband is the complete opposite of me in every single aspect: never left his home town; same school from K-12, and college just a few miles away from home.

I thought I was finally going to settle in, making some roots when the kids came, but I was absolutely wrong. I convinced my husband to move from Mexico to the United States following a job opportunity; three years later he found a better one and we moved again, and again and again. Now he has a position that makes him travel on weekdays; leaving us free miles to catch up on the weekends: New York, Florida, Washington, London and Edinburgh.

I keep my mind busy studying non-stop, writing, making friendships everywhere we go, volunteering and yes… Raising my girls as if I am a single mother, but I am married; it seems that I inherited the Gipsy life.

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