Perpetual Tourist


image courtesy of

Due to a general disregard for logic, and my fear and loathing of bureaucracy, I have been living on a tourist visa for the past seven years, which means I must exit Mexico every 180 days.

People often ask how long I have to stay away. I have no idea. As far as I know I could turn around in the American airport and receive a new six month visa in the same day, but I’m usually out of the country for at least a month, so I’ve never troubled to inquire. People also ask why I don’t have a resident visa since I’m married to a Mexican. Answer–refer to the first sentence.

Most think this wacky, but as with many difficulties in my life I realize it has its benefits. If I had a permanent visa I wouldn’t be able to justify, due to the expense, returning to see my family as often, and I wouldn’t receive the renewal, injection of information, and vitality a visit to the United States affords.

I left the U.S. for many reasons, a preponderance were political. When I fled I would never have guessed what a gift it is to spend a month here: the cultural diversity, progressive ideas, smiles(oh, how I miss stranger’s smiles)and the citizenries’ genuine, if not always realized, desire for civic responsibility. As much as love Mexico, these are things I don’t get much of in my community.

I have no desire to live here again, I love the mayhem of Mexico, the daily insanity that challenges my fortitude and burnishes my character, but I’m grateful for the ‘fresh eyes’ I now see my own culture with. Someday, I’ll be a responsible grownup and make my position in Mexico more official, but until then, I relish my time as the perpetual tourist.

A change of scenery always sparks creativity, here’s a little number I wrote while standing on the corner of Canal and Jackson, in front of Union Station.

Union Station

If the wind doesn’t change
I will have to move away
from the filth
the physicality

from the stench
rising off of
pain, lack of
options and ultimate


symmetry of war
dark tiger
dangles heavenly
dazzles the cons

and the pros
live in the exactly
hairline fracture
of our


wax trickles
runs from
our feathers

Still the man gropes
his groin for blood

all watch the beautiful
girl in a filthy dress


Chigaco,Il. 10/13/2013

© 2013 Abby Smith, Writer

7 thoughts on “Perpetual Tourist

    • Funny no? the country going up in flames and I see a friendly melting pot riding municipal bike rentals. That’s what seven years in the campo will do for ya! 🙂 Thanks for the comment and well wishes.

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