#personalgrowth #mexico #travel — My mini speaking tour of southern California was my third trip to the San Diego area. During the first two visits there, I never got a chance to venture across the US-Mexico border to the town of Tijuana which happens to be physically right across the border. So this time I decided that I wanted to finally check Tijuana out although from online reports, this border town has gotten a bit dangerous in recent years due to drug cartel activities, corrupt police and other petty crimes. But despite this, I still wanted to experience Tijuana since it was so close by. I figured that even a successful short trip down there would result in some personal growth.
After a lot of research online about Tijuana, I decided to make my trip during the daytime hours. I stayed at a hotel on the US side near the border and observed the border crossings and noticed that it was very busy for both cars and pedestrian traffic. I got the layout of the land since this was a rare international border where people can just walk across.
After parking my car on the US side ($5 for eight hours), I just followed other pedestrians through the border turnstiles. The border guards on the Mexican side didn’t even come out of their building for inspections. People just walked through these turnstiles and they were in Mexico! Apparently, the border patrol come out and question only those they feel are worth questioning. Pedestrians walk over along the other side of the fence on the right of the auto traffic in the photo below.
Once past the final turnstile, I was smack in the middle of a busy Mexican retail street. It was definitely a foreign country with most signs in Spanish and I have to say, the streets just were not as nice as on the US side. But nevertheless, I was in Mexico.
I walked towards the arch landmark that online sources suggested I head toward and there were lots of other people who were headed in the same direction so I just followed the crowd. There were souvenir shops lined up on both sides but they were mainly mass produced type of items that I was not interested in.
I stayed on the main streets and looked around. I even used some of my basic Spanish phrases like ‘cuanto questa?’ which means ‘how much’ to vendors. One thing I did want to try out was the tacos available at numerous taco stands on the streets. Think hot dog or ice cream stands but Mexican tacos instead. I found one which quoted $1 US per taco so I tried one. It was huge and definitely not your typical Taco Bell or US TexMex restaurant taco for sure. It was the real thing and it was good. Now that was certainly a part of my personal growth to experience real Mexican food for a change.
After exploring the Tijuana streets for 2-3 hours and mingling with some of the locals, it was time to head back to the border. It was simply a matter of following the signs that pointed towards the US border and again, it was just a matter of following the pedestrian traffic.
It turns out that unlike the Mexican side, the US border guards were definitely much more strict on entries as there was a huge lineup for inspection much like at airports. I was kind of surprised on just how many people were crossing the borders both ways. In my observation, the vast majority of people crossing the border were either Mexican or Mexican Americans. I have no idea why they were crossing although I did see some shopping bags. There are numerous outlet retail businesses on the US side.
Once I made it back to the US, I walked back to my rental car. I felt a sense of personal growth because I finally did see Tijuana and did it on my own without travel partners or tour groups. I did this short excursion based on my own research and preparation which included brushing up on some of the basic Spanish phrases I learned years ago.
The fact is travel, especially to foreign places even if it’s only for a few hours like across the border to Tijuana, Mexico, can be a source of personal growth. And this can only help you in other areas of life.
On that note, check out my free World Champion Personal Growth Guide if you haven’t already.