I’m 40 now, but for 20 years it’s been my dream to travel to the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. I don’t know why, I’ve just always had a real yearning to have an adventure amid the cenotes (sinkholes) and pyramids.
In my early 20s, I planned a trip with my boyfriend at the time. However, we split up beforehand and I cancelled the holiday. I didn’t want this place I felt would become my favourite to be marred by bad memories.
A few years later, I ended up getting married to someone else and we planned to go to Mexico for our honeymoon. That was in 2013. We had the escape booked and every detail scheduled but, in the three-month period between the wedding and our holiday, we separated. So, no honeymoon for me, then…
I’ve always had a real yearning to visit Mexico
It was then time for another boyfriend and a third attempt to travel to the Yucatán with a partner. This one told me, “We’ll organise a trip there as soon as I’m back from Cuba.” Then I discovered he, in fact, he had a second family there. By that point, as you can probably imagine, I was done with men.
Instead, I decided to make my bucket-list adventure happen once and for all – by inviting along my best friend. No more partners or husbands. Just one of the women in life that I loved the best. Surely this time, nothing could go wrong?
We had a date, we planned an itinerary and we were so excited… But sadly, again, it didn’t work out. My friend is from India and she was unable to organise a visa to Mexico in time for the break.
A third attempt saw me try to travel to the Yucatán
By this point, it was 2019, and I vowed to travel to Mexico alone. However, after everything I’d been through, I decided I wanted the support of a group to travel with. My research led me to Flash Pack. “This is fantastic,” I thought. “Exactly what I want.” So, I went ahead and booked the adventure.
But, well, we all know what happened next. The pandemic kicked off in March 2020 and all international travel ground to a halt. However, my story during Covid took on another, happier turn. I got married to the man I loved. We’d met four years ago in Ireland (I’m Italian but moved to Dublin for work) and we had a pandemic wedding.
Still, though, my yearning to travel to Mexico persisted. It was a dream I was very attached to (if you hadn’t guessed). So, when Flash Pack relaunched in 2021, I was immediately drawn to the new adventure to Mexico City.
I thought I’d have plenty of time to pursue my dream
It wasn’t the Yucatán, as I had originally planned many years ago, but it was the closest to it. I jumped at the opportunity. Flash Pack’s age group was just right for me. I wanted to do lots of fun activities but I didn’t want to share my adventure with 20 year olds. The demographic of like-minded travellers in their 30s and 40s was a perfect match.
So, I took the plunge. A full two decades, countless jobs and relationships after I planned my original escape, I finally made it to Mexico in March, 2022. The Flash Pack adventure pivots around Mexico City. The funny thing is, I’m not really a city person. In all honesty, I booked because I was excited to do the private hot-air balloon ride over the pyramids of Teotihuacán – that was the experience that drew me in.
In reality, that air-balloon flight was the least amazing thing I did over the course of the five-day adventure. And not because it wasn’t great; it’s just that everything else was so surprisingly fantastic.
I wanted to do the hot-air balloon ride over Teotihuacán
First of all, Mexico City was a fabulous destination. It counts as one of the biggest and most populous cities in the world; yet somehow it never felt crowded. The streets are very wide and everyone mingles outside, soaking up the sunshine in these elegant plazas.
Art and culture is everywhere. Right outside our hotel, there was a collection of original Dalí statues that we could explore for free. It was incredible; I could have spent hours wandering around the display.
My favourite highlight, however, was the Lucha Libre wrestling match. I honestly think I was a luchador in my previous life because I felt a huge affinity with the city’s iconic masked superheroes. I lost my voice shouting in the arena, so involved in cheering on the live spectacle. When the luchadors asked if anyone wanted to have a go – well, I was the first one in the ring.
I finally made it to Mexico in March, 2022
It’s fair to say, I fell in love with Mexico City. It helped that the group I travelled with was really nice – we had such an easy dynamic. My fellow travellers weren’t the type of people I would find myself friends with in a normal scenario, simply because our paths wouldn’t have crossed.
Yet, everyone was so fun and adventurous and we became very close in a short space of time. One good friend I made has already visited me in Ireland. We did a five-day road trip together in the summer, along with her fiancé and my husband. Lots of people on the trip were from the States, so I plan to visit them there, too.
I think of Flash Pack not as a solo travel company, but as a way to make new friends while travelling. Within 24 hours of a fresh adventure, you have a new pack and shared experiences together. It’s completely different to travelling alone. I’d never tried it before, but I’m so happy I did. It made the 20-year Mexico wait, all the more worthwhile.
Italian-born Margherita Frezza, 40, is an IT professional who lives in Dublin with her husband. She travelled with Flash Pack to Mexico City.
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Images: Courtesy of Margherita Frezza & Unsplash