IN OUR NOVEMBER print edition of Departures, the cover star is Mexico. From its spectacular landscapes and cuisine to the incredible traditions of Indigenous craftsmanship and the vibrant modern design, film, and art scenes, it is a country with a wealth of stories to tell.
Covering such a diverse and, frankly, enormous country in just a few pages is, of course, impossible (the food itself could fill a whole library, let alone a magazine). So while we have touched on all of these things in this issue, what we have really tried to capture here is the spirit of the place. And that is something I am particularly excited to share, because Mexico is somewhere I deeply love.
I can’t identify precisely when that love affair began. It wasn’t one moment but more of a slow unfolding — an appropriate experience for somewhere so complex. I had been five or six times, both as a tourist and for work, and kept feeling compelled to return. Eventually, on a vacation when my kids were young, my family found ourselves so inextricably drawn to Sayulita, the small town we were visiting, that we ultimately decided to move there.
When I close my eyes and imagine Mexico, I think of the softness of the air that hits me stepping off the plane every time I arrive. I think of the sounds: waves crashing all night long heard through the palapa roof of the house we lived in our first year, the tinny notes of ranchera music drifting up at night from the town below, waking up slowly to the strange calls of the chachalacas in the trees outside my window.
I think of the people — always the people — because, ultimately, it’s the people who make the place. I think of everything their warm and generous country gave me and my family, like the smile of my daughter, her legs scraped and strong, her hair tangled with salt and sand, riding her bike through our small town, having a glimpse for those years of a kind of childhood I had back in the ’80s, a kind I had thought was gone for good.
And I think of all the small moments of tremendous natural beauty: the sky lit up like a disco by a thunderstorm ripping across the Pacific, or the mango trees in the late spring, heavy with fruit, or a trip to Baja California Sur, where I drove alone through a desert in bloom, alight with thousands of tiny yellow butterflies.
It is the natural splendor that draws many visitors to Mexico, where they first experience it through its hotels and resorts. There are luxurious places to stay there, no doubt. But beyond them, there is even more.
Skye Parrott is the executive editor of Departures. A magazine editor, photographer, writer, and creative consultant, she was previously a founder of the arts and culture journal Dossier, and editor in chief for the relaunch of Playgirl as a modern, feminist publication.