Nina, Simone and I left Tulum basically straight after breakfast heading for Cancun, which was just a couple of hours away. As soon as I arrived I knew we'd landed in the Costa del Sol of Mexico. There was nothing here other than a massive strip of hotels and that's about it. There were no historical monuments and nothing to really see/do (without costing a bomb!). To be honest by this point in the trip I was already aware of what Cancun was like so I wasn't really bothered.
We found our hostel, Hostel Quetzal, after using their ridiculous directions, which were poor to say the least. We checked in and then headed to one of the many different beaches around the Hotel Zone and dumped ourselves there. It was full of people - great.
In the evening we ended up having dinner at the hostel and played beer pong with some others. Not a massively eventful night.
Nina and Simone left early this morning to go whale shark snorkelling. I decided to wait for two Spanish girls I met in Belize as they said I might be able to do it with them for free. This meant I had the whole day to myself after I checked out and moved into a hostel around the corner - not because it was bad but because people had booked the beds before us.
I decided to go to a bigger beach further into the Hotel Zone and lay there most of the day to soak up as much of the sun as possible before heading back to the UK. By 4pm I was pretty bored so went back to the hostel and waited until the girls turned up. Again, a quiet night.
I think by now I had become a little fed-up with travelling. My ribs still hurt, my iPhone was gone and I was in going home mode. The hostel was pretty quiet too so it made a boring situation worse.
Today is my last real day of RTW2014. The Spanish girls never came through so I decided to do the trip myself. At $100 it was steep but felt that it would be the best way to finish my trip - swimming with whale sharks.
A minibus picked me up early and I ended up talking with some others in the bus who would end up being on my boat for the day. We bombed off into the ocean for a good hour or so until we came to a flock of boats bobbing on sea. Then I saw why. You could see these huge sharks just swimming around on the surface. These ranged from 8m to what I thought was about 12m - massive.
We were paired up and we would then take it in turns getting in and out to swim with them. This was a moment when I was seriously glad I had a GoPro. I was swimming furiously to keep up with them but in their own placid way, they effortlessly outpaced me. Their size and beauty is something that everyone should experience (sustainably!).
We then got out and moved to another spot (there were at least 15 sharks in the area). The two before us jumped in and we waited at the side of the boat ready to go in as soon as they got out. Anyway, the captain instructed us to jump in. We followed the order. As soon as my face slapped the water, I saw this gigantic creature coming at me - head on. Its mouth perched open, taking in the water and plankton, was something to really marvel. The guide in the water called me and pointed into the distance. I swam like mad to see it. All of a sudden I saw this great wall of white and assumed it was a manatee. It wasn't. It was an even bigger shark in a completely vertical position. This absolutely blew my mind and you'll see why in the pictures. It's funny because a shark of such stature and size is totally harmless to humans.
I stumbled back on to the boat mesmerised and speechless of what I had seen. Well worth the $100 and an epic way to end my trip. On the way back we stopped off at the north shore of Isla Mujeres, an island off the coast of Cancun, for lunch and beer. We then finished up by roughly 3pm before heading back to the hostel.
Nina and Simone had both left Cancun for New York and back home to Utrect, respectively. I had dinner and beers with others at the hostel and packed my bag for the last time.
Although it's sad RTW2014 is over, I'm happier it happened. Once most people start travelling you'll find that most of those never stop. To some extent I envy those that don't travel because they'll live their lives blissfully unaware of what they are missing (holidays, in my opinion, do not count). The excuse of never having enough money is nonsense too. After 18,000 miles, £4,200, 31 buses, 10 boats, 6 planes I've managed to see 11 wonderful countries. At 24 I've been fortunate to have travelled to 33 countries. Expect that number to keep on rising into my future. I've had easily one of the best experiences of my life to date. I've gone from seeing the world's largest salt flats, to the Amazon rainforest, to Machu Picchu, to learning how to dive. And that's probably the best part of travelling; experiencing the world outside of normality. More importantly I've made many great friendships. People always say travelling is the only thing you spend money on that makes you richer- it couldn't be more right. Although I feel like I've aged on this trip, maybe it's just a metaphor for the start of the next chapter in my life: the real world. Thank you to all of the people that have made the trip what it was.
The GoPro video of RTW2014 is coming soon.
Never stop exploring.