By Jillian Vriend
This blog title has been floating around in my mind for two weeks, yet this is the first time that I’ve really had a chance to sit down and write about our journey so far. A journey that has, indeed, brought us through three countries (Canada, the United States, and Mexico) and seven states (including two in Mexico) in a short fourteen days.
We made the decision in June to leave the west coast in British Columbia, Canada and move to the pacific coast in Mexico. Motivating our decision at that time was our increasingly urgent sense that significant global collapse is coming; a collapse of industrial society that will bring the end of easy gas, easy water, easy electricity, easy food. A collapse that will call us to become self sufficient and yet compel us to be in community at the same time. I’ve written more about that here and here. We felt that the most practical course of action was to move to a place that has a long growing season, temperate weather, and is already living a more simple lifestyle with less infrastructure to collapse.
During our months of planning, we imagined many scenarios about our initial journey to get to our sanctuary, an eco village two hours south of Puerto Vallarta. Our biggest tension feelings were around my husband Wayne being able to cross the U.S. border after receiving a five year ban in 2009. He got this ban due to us living together as an engaged couple in the U.S. and after having a ‘record’ of many years of monthly crossings into the U.S. from Canada for the emotional and spiritual work that we were both involved with in Ashland, Oregon. We were outraged and devastated when he was banned at first, but adjusted our life to Canada, including raising my daughter there until she graduated from high school. Our plans were hopefully optimistic about Wayne being able to cross into the U.S. now that the five years were up and we hoped to do some camping in Yellowstone and Zion National Parks, and also spend a few days taking in the vortex energy in Sedona, Arizona.
However, none of that was to be. Wayne called me after being refused at the border in an attempt to cross by Amtrak. He had been allowed on the train in Vancouver, made it to the border crossing in White Rock, and then been escorted off the train and told he needed a waiver to cross. A waiver that would take a minimum of five months to get. The biggest distress he experienced was being handcuffed as he was escorted off the train by four border guards carrying weapons and wearing bullet proof vests, treating him as if he were a dangerous criminal.
We digested this experience over the next few days and decided that Wayne would fly to Puerto Vallarta and we would meet him in a town close to the Mexican border crossing in Nogales (this turned out to be the fairly large city of Hermosillo) after Christopher, Kathleen and I traveled for about a week through Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah, and crossed into Mexico at Nogales, Arizona. Although this was an easy decision on one level, it was heartbreaking for us on another as we had all been so looking forward to taking in these sacredly natural places in the U.S. with Wayne.
The whole incident seemed to reinforce our desire to leave the U.S. behind and, as a citizen, I felt a deep disgust at the punitive way the situation was handled and further distancing from feeling like an U.S. citizen in any way. This situation illuminates how vulnerable border crossings are and anyone expecting to be able to cross easily post collapse is in denial. These borders are already militarized and the border guards are the judge, jury, and executioner. You cannot appeal what happens at a border crossing and you are completely at mercy of their discretion. It is easy to imagine how easily these borders will be shut down once collapse begins, especially if it is a disease like Ebola which causes the collapse. This is one of the biggest reasons why we are leaving now while travel is still relatively easy.
We began our one week journey to cover 1,000KM in two cars with three dogs, one of which weighs over 90 pounds. We discovered very quickly that we couldn’t drive more than six hours in one day as the dogs needed frequent breaks, Kathleen is a newer driver, and I didn’t feel comfortable driving one of our vehicles- a large passenger van packed with our belongings- which left that driving to Christopher. We shuffled in and out of hotel rooms, trying to maintain our vegan diet (we only ate a bit of dairy but no meat) and some kind of daily exercise for the dogs. Every day, every city was an energetic adjustment, along with every hotel room offering its own frequencies of goodness and density.
There were many times that being in the U.S. felt like being in a foreign country, one whose priorities seemed to be majorly screwed up. This was demonstrated in the never ending succession of factory outlet malls, fast food restaurants, subdivisions created around the illusion of unlimited sources of easy gas and electricity. The cities built unsustainably in desert locations, their water sources diminishing every day. The acres and acres of monoculture, chemically dependent agriculture, and even evidence of chem trails in the sky near Spokane, Washington.
One moment sticks out to me as deep evidence of the trouble that we are in related to climate change. We drove over Lake Mead Arizona- which is fed by Lake Powell, the primary water source for Las Vegas and Phoenix as well. The water level is now so low that you cannot see the water when you drive over the bridge spanning it. There is evidence everywhere of greatly decreased water levels. We spent a total of six days in desert conditions- including in a campground in San Carlos, Mexico, with temperatures hovering in the 90s and even low 100s. Our every thought became about surviving the heat and keeping the dogs cool as we made go of it without air conditioning. It is impossible to imagine how the millions of people who live in these desert areas will be able to survive without air conditioning, trucked in food, and piped in water. We were all relieved when we passed into more tropical and temperate conditions as we headed to Mazatlán.
It is more difficult to see evidence of collapse in the U.S. as the infrastructure as been so deeply created to support the current lifestyle. It became much more evident as we entered into Mexico, especially into the poor border state of Sonora. Many of the concrete dwellings along the toll highway there have been abandoned and even the resort like settling of San Carlos suffers from unfinished developments and bankrupted businesses. But still, it feels like more people here in Mexico get that modern conveniences are a luxury, not a given right. The water is already undrinkable, the roads are already falling apart in many places, the local economy is already experiencing contractions. The fall is much closer and not as far as the U.S.
Right now, we are in a campground in Mazatlan. We were blessed to be here during the ‘off season’ and are able to camp right on the beach with a ‘million dollar view’ that is only costing us 500 pesos or less than $50 a night. We are sleeping in tents while empty high rise condo buildings surround us on both sides. We are letting the waves and sea air aerate us and rejuvenate our energy before we move on to our final destination in Puerto Vallarta. We experienced a tropical thunderstorm last night and every thunder boom and lightening strike seemed to remind us that we are guests on this planet and very vulnerable to the weather. This is what we’ve forgotten in our dry wall, air conditioning existence. This is what we must remember and will be forced to remember very soon.
Jillian (Jelelle Awen) is co-creator of SoulFullHeart. Visit soulfullheartwayoflife.com for more information.