After our plane landed in Cancun, we drove for miles and miles and hours and hours through absolute nothingness. And when I say nothingness, I’m not exaggerating.
Shrub. Shrub. Shrub. Little itty bitty town. Jungle. Trees. Shrub. Stand-alone store. More nothingness.
And just when we thought things couldn’t get any more full of nothingness, without warning the one lane road we were riding on turned into a pothole-riddled path. A dirt road would have seemed a luxury compared to the non-stop bump-bump-bumping and nausea-inducing-swerves we encountered over the next half-hour on this patch of a “road”. On and on into more nothingness we bumped and bounced and swerved.
At one of those nothingness intersections, two of our guys had to navigate a new path to the farm due to road work. (We were just grateful to know they were working on the roads.) As the guys sat there reading out loud the names of different little Mexican towns we had an option to travel through on our detour, it hit me just how out of place we were in the middle of Nothingness, Mexico.
Here these boys were, just a bunch of backwoods country boys from Cool Springs, Georgia who had made it abundantly clear that they have no desire to live anywhere else on God’s green earth. And yet, they were navigating the back roads of rural Mexico as if they’d lived here all their lives. It struck me as odd at first and then right behind that the normalcy of it almost knocked me over. It was odd that these guys could be so comfortable in an area so far from home. But then absolutely normal because while it was far from home, the rural wildness of it wasn’t really all that different from the very things they loved so dearly about home.
And I say “they”, but I mean me too. It was the very same way I’d felt in the countryside of Africa. The same vibe we all get when we visit the farm in Tennessee. Really, the same way I feel daily driving to work across the county as I pass farm trucks and fields to be harvested.
There’s something that appeals to me, and undoubtedly to the founders of Southern Valley, about a wild, untamed area and the desire to be a pioneer in that rugged environment. It seems you can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy. No matter where you go, the rules of “country living” are still the same and the rugged spirit remains. This rugged spirit is what produces an innate ability to survive, thrive and tough it out in any environment. A “country boy can survive” mentality, if you will.
It was this mentality – as I would soon learn during our time at the farm in Yucatan – that allowed Southern Valley to venture down to Mexico in the first place. You don’t build a farm in the middle of Nothingness, Mexico without a little “country boy can survive” mentality. But these country boys did survive, and as I later witnessed, developed a thriving farming operation in the middle of all that nothingness we were driving through.
That’s another story for another day, though. Stay tuned for it.