I recently traveled to Tulum, Mexico, for a much-needed getaway… Yes, in the middle of a pandemic. Like mostly everyone else in California, I had been inside since mid-March. I hadn’t planned on traveling until at least next summer. I consider myself an “extroverted-introvert”: I enjoy my own company, but I like the option to go out and do things and be around other people as needed. Having no choice but being stuck at home for months, combined with nonstop bad news of the world, was starting to eat away at my mental health.
Mexico opened its borders back up to travel in July, and my husband was trying everything he could to convince me to go. I was a bit skeptical about why of all in places in the world, Cancun was one of the few destinations allowing in foreigners. I understand that tourism makes up a considerable chunk of the economy throughout Quintana Roo, so there had to be some safety measures. After researching and connecting with travelers via Instagram, we decided to move forward with our plans. Resorts were at 30% capacity, and air travel was down by about 75%. Before leaving, my only condition was to make sure that my husband and I were negative for Covid-19 to prevent further spread.
Our plane traveling into Cancun was half full. We all had to fill out a Covid-19 survey while on the plane before entering Mexico. Once we got into Cancun, the process was straightforward. Customs took no time. There was an infrared monitor scanning all arrivals, and sanitation stations were scattered throughout. Once we left the airport, we got our rental car and made the hour and a half drive down to Tulum.
We rented a private villa so that we could be to ourselves. Mostly everyone I saw had masks on and was practicing social distancing throughout our week spent in Tulum. When visiting cenotes, they would sanitize our feet’ bottoms, check our temperature, and we were required to rinse off before entering the water. We ate at a restaurant once, and when we arrived, the entire staff was on the floor, wiping the place down from top to bottom. They checked our temperature at the door, and instead of a paper menu, we received a QR code to scan on our phones, which linked us to the online menu. I honestly felt safer in Tulum than I had in San Diego since the beginning of this pandemic.
This trip was my first time traveling with both my film & digital cameras. I used my film camera to capture a variety of details throughout the week that caught my eye. We like to swim a lot, so I knew that I could leave my little $35 film camera in my bag and not worry if something were to happen to it. For these photos, I used my Canon K2 with my 35-80mm kit lens to have a variety of focal lengths without the extra baggage. As for the film, I used Kodak Ultramax 400 & Fuji Superia X-tra 400.
This trip was the reset that I needed, and the inspiration behind why I started A Visual Diary.
My next goal is to figure out how to escape permanently to Tulum…