Traipsing around the volcanic, desert and city regions of Puebla, Mexico a couple years ago, I did some things I never thought I would do. But I guess that’s something unique to foreign travel. You’re already outside your comfort zone; why not push it a step further?
Dating back to my cockroach-in-hair-scorpion-in-shoe-tarantula-freak-outs in the Amazon, I developed a fear of creatures I thought I’d never see growing up in suburban Ohio. But then I spent a summer in the Amazon. And then lived in the Texas Hill country. And then moved to Florida. And after that, the Bahamas.
So really, there was no escaping the foreboding creepy crawlers of the night.
I have a hard time saying no to a challenge. When the owners of a living museum in Puebla noticed me cringing, walking briskly past the arachnid display and avoiding eye contact with the nocturnal beasts, they “encouraged” me to touch them… then hold them. I guess I looked at it as an opportunity. And you know what they say: “When in Mexico.” (That is the saying, right?)
I even went as far as to eat a fried cricket from the streets on a whim. They’re a delicacy there. It was a cultural experience, I guess. It was the only time I’ve slipped up in my herbivorous diet in 10 years. The legs got stuck in my teeth, reminding me for hours afterward of my transgression.
You can tell just how much I enjoyed the experiences by my facial expressions. But I did it. I faced my fears.
And yes, I’m still deathly afraid of tarantulas and scorpions.