Red Truck Stories from Mexico

When I first moved to Colombia right out of university, the site of a truck bed filled with little kids made me sick with worry. What if there were an accident? Didn’t they know this was completely unsafe? Time passed as time does. By the time I moved to Mexico, I was waving at the kids in the back of the truck, waving to these kids who always waved back.

If you are planning to travel extensively, or live, in Latin America (or in most of the developing world, for that matter) there are some things you are going to have to get over. Canadian and American notions of safety do not always apply. If you have six kids and one vehicle and you want to go somewhere with your family, your choices are: a) Everybody piles into the back or b) You don’t go. Choosing “b” is not a very Mexican way to live.

My most memorable pick-up-truck-as-moving-van moment took place on a fast-moving Monterrey highway called Avenida Morones Prieto. We were in the car, driving home, and I looked up from my book to see a truck ahead of us in the right-hand lane. Standing in the middle of this once red pick-up truck, held together by decades worth of dust and rust, was a man holding a horse by its bridle. A grown horse. They were both just standing there, unrestrained and unconcerned, looking out at us from the back of that crazy old truck making its way through heavy traffic on a weekday afternoon. Wow! Like I said, there are just some things you just have to learn to let go.

What have you given up for travel?


  1. So true about the difference in safety standards and necessity. I am always amazed how a family of five can fit with ease on a small motorbike in South East Asian countries. In the U.S. you would be fined for not wearing a helmet! I love riding auto rickshaws in big cities in India. It's exhilarating.

  2. Hi Wendy!I have not yet been to India. I worry that the window of time in which I might have visited India has passed… that I might find the crowds overwhelming. At the same time, I am fascinated by the culture. We shall see..Thanks for dropping by!

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