Bucerias: Off the Beaten Path
By Summer Intern, Connor Steppe
Ever since I can remember my life’s path has seemed predetermined with hundreds of voices telling me which way to go. I would liken my situation to that of Dorothy hearing the many voices of the munchkins telling her to simply “follow the yellow brick road”. Everyone has assured me there is only one road to happiness and to where I want to go in life, much like the yellow brick road represented Dorothy’s only chance of finding her way back home to Kansas.
I began listening to the voices of my perpetual peanut gallery at a very early age. For instance, as a child I was much taller than most of my classmates and people would tell me “you should play basketball” and thus a basketball player was born. Perhaps I followed the trail laid before me because it made sense or because I have never thought of myself as a leader, so naturally I just began to follow.
The path was a relatively straight and easy one, study hard to get good grades in school, graduate from high school, and gain acceptance into a prestigious university. So I worked hard all throughout school – failing to graduate high school was never option. Picking which college to attend was easy because after all it was simply a matter of which university would look the best at the top of my resume. So come August 2013, I was bound for Chapel Hill, ironically a place I had grown up hating.
Once I arrived on campus the voices directing me on my voyage down the path grew even stronger. I dove headfirst into my academic pursuits because after all there was no need to test the waters of different classes to find my area of academic interest. Kenan-Flagler business school was the next preset destination according to the experts and I did not question them. A degree from the business school meant countless job offers and an inside lane on the fast track to climbing the corporate ladder.
Business is neither a passion nor a strength of mine and has proved to be a constant struggle. However, business is safe, business is practical, and my pathway insists business is the key to financial stability and my overall happiness in life. So I followed the straight and narrow road so clearly marked before me as I began gaining real world experience to prepare me for life after college.
I spent many summers occupied with dead end jobs doing busy work for my superiors, whom often times forgot I even existed. However, I gained solace by telling myself they looked impressive on my resume and would get me where I wanted to go in life. My friends and family members praised me for my so-called “accomplishments” and for living up to their expectations of me. In the eyes of most, my life was seemingly perfect and perhaps that is why I was bombarded by so much confusion and disagreement when I finally decided to turn off the path rather than continue walking the straight and narrow.
Heading to Bucerias to work for Human Connections marks my first step towards a new and unconventional destination in my life’s journey. While my friends and peers find themselves in the big cities of New York and Charlotte doing investment banking and finance, I find myself working for a nonprofit organization here in Mexico. I no longer find myself struggling to understand market trends but rather I struggle to make simple conversation in a language unbeknownst to me. Instead of spending hours inside the dull tight walls of a cubicle, my afternoons are spent inside the vibrant and cozy homes of local artisans.
The blisters on my feet from tight dress shoes have finally disappeared and have been replaced by softness of the sand by the ocean. My thoughts are no longer full of numbers and data but full of introspection and reflection. I previously believed I had life pretty much figured out and would continue to follow my seemingly predetermined path, created for me by those around me. Coming to Bucerias has proven to be my version of walking down the road not taken. I find myself developing a broader perspective of the world and perhaps even a broader understanding of myself; Frost put it best when he said “And that has made all the difference”.
Photo credit: Prema Photographic