Why I’m Not in Cuba Right Now
My itinerary for December was all set. I was craving a dose of home, so I opted out of the Mexico City leg of Remote Year (when you opt out of a particular month, you can join up again the following month).
But then it hit me. After a visit to Portland, I could go meet up with the group in Mexico City. Or I could go absolutely anywhere. I’d been wanting to go to Cuba for years, and this seemed like the perfect time. After all, I’d be close-ish, and then I could meet up with my Remote Year peeps and head to Colombia at the end of the month. I think it took exactly one email to my friend Megan in Portland to convince her to join me on the Cuban adventure. Then two other friends asked me to spend Christmas week at a beach near Cancun, and that seemed like a no-brainer. After all, Cuba and Cancun are pretty much right next to each other.
So, my month-long itinerary was booked:
Barcelona > San Francisco
San Francisco > Portland
Portland > Mexico City
Mexico City > Havana
Havana > Cancun
Cancun > Mexico City
Mexico City > Bogota
I generally don’t mind flying, but when I look at the number of flights I had scheduled for this time period, it’s kind of loco.
My time in San Francisco and Portland were both lovely. I got to catch up with tons of friends and got a dose of two of my favorite cities in the world (though I could have done without the snow and ice storm in Portland).
When it was time to leave Portland, Megan and I headed to the airport on a chilly gray morning. We knew where we’d stay in Cuba (in private homes), but we weren’t exactly sure how we’d get from place to place or how we’d communicate with people since internet is hard to come by there. But we trusted ourselves. We’re smart, and we can figure stuff out along the way.
Our first leg of the trip was through LA, and we made it there without incident. Once we arrived in LA, Megan got about a thousand emails about things that absolutely HAD to get done ASAP. She is buying a house and everything had been squared away—or so she thought. Needless to say, it was stressful, but she powered through and resolved every problem that was thrown at her while we were waiting in line for our boarding passes to Mexico City. Our plan was to spend two days in Mexico City, then head to Cuba from there.
Once we arrived in Mexico City, I knew I had about 36 hours to get a bunch of stuff done before our flight to Havana. I had a few work projects to wrap up, plus I needed to coordinate stashing the stuff that I wasn’t bringing to Cuba/Cancun and there were a lot of other small details I wanted to resolve before leaving. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but somehow, the hours kept ticking by, and I was still nowhere near finishing my to-do list. I couldn’t stash my computer until my work was done, so that was looming, too. Meanwhile, Megan kept getting more and more house-related requests. We were both SUPER stressed, and neither of us are typically like that. One issue that added to the stress was that once we arrived in Cuba, we couldn’t count on communicating with anyone.
At about 10pm the night before our departure, I realized I had simply over-scheduled myself. I didn’t want to go to another airport and get on another flight. I just wanted to lie down. I was nervous to bring up the possibility of changing our plans, but I did it anyway. Megan was receptive, and we made the decision not to go to Cuba. Both of us were instantly relieved, and that was a good sign. Did we lose a bunch of money? Yep. Are we happy to be in Mexico City for a few days? Absolutely.
I’m still going to a beach near Cancun next week, so there’s that. Cuba would have been an incredible adventure, I’m sure. But it will have to wait until I catch my breath.