Last Updated on June 3, 2023 by Ellen

My parents taught me early on: never, ever knock someone’s home.

Dad stressed that as he dropped me and my sister off at a home where we could be looked after while he and mom worked. We started going there when I was about eight years old, my sister about five. The house was lived in, with many people – very different from our larger, quiet, uncluttered home. This home was small and noisy and sometimes chaotic, with a distinct loving and kind vibe.

Years later, I was blessed to have friends whose home was in the sticks. It was as rural as I’d ever been. The toilet was primitive. The wood floors bent under my weight. It was heated by a wood-burning stove. It was on a road that wasn’t paved or plowed. The days and nights I spent there were among the happiest of my life so far.

When I started traveling to other countries, I spent time in homes that I am certain would shock the majority of Americans.

Most of the last couple of days I’ve spent inside my very small studio apartment as I recovered from some kind of parasite in my gut. I started to feel sorry for myself, and I started to miss some of the comforts of my former home – at the beach where I lived in San Diego.

I don’t live on the beach anymore – even though I live in Tulum, where celebrity gazillionaires come to drop thousands a night for seaside accommodations. I live in town.

So, just before sunset tonight, I took a slow bike ride through town. It got me out of my pity party, and I remembered that everything so far has led me to this point, and I’m truly grateful for every experience.

Some of the wild homes we’ve stayed at during our travels:

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