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A new journey in Mexico

PV graduates gain experiences through traveling to Mexico

Matt+Kuhl+sits+at+a+local+Starbucks%2C+remembering+his+experiences+made+on+his+trip+to+Mexico.+He+traveled+to+Mexico+with+his+friend%2C+Ben+Misuta%2C+recently.+
Matt Kuhl sits at a local Starbucks, remembering his experiences made on his trip to Mexico. He traveled to Mexico with his friend, Ben Misuta, recently.

Matt Kuhl sits at a local Starbucks, remembering his experiences made on his trip to Mexico. He traveled to Mexico with his friend, Ben Misuta, recently.

David Harnett

David Harnett

Matt Kuhl sits at a local Starbucks, remembering his experiences made on his trip to Mexico. He traveled to Mexico with his friend, Ben Misuta, recently.

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Matt Kuhl opened the doors of the 2006 Ford e450 Dually Thomas Minitroy Body Conversion, leaving his life at Montclair State University. He got into the car and began driving the 12,000 miles to Mexico.

Kuhl was accompanied on the trip with Ben Misuta, another 2011 Pascack Valley graduate.

Kuhl graduated Pascack Valley in 2011 and was not considering attending college, but for 2 years chose to attend Montclair State University. Kuhl later took off from college time to visit Kenya because he did not know what he wanted to pursue in the future and needed time to plan.

In Kenya, he decided to volunteer in a place of need. His favorite memory from his trip was his first night, even though before he suffered from a sinus infection and got no sleep for 36 hours.

While Kuhl traveled to Kenya, Misuta finished his third semester at Bergen Community College and decided to not complete another semester. Both Kuhl and Misuta decided to take time off of college and travel around the United States.

Do the things you want to do,” Kuhl said. “If it demands the degree, go for it.”

Starting off the journey in Mexico

Contributed by Matt Kuhl

Later on, Kuhl and Misuta’s goal was to travel as far as possible from their hometown. At first, Kuhl was going to visit Argentina, but Mexico was in his path while driving to there.

Their bus trip began in Hillsdale. They drove for 24 hours straight to Mississippi, from where they then took the 35-hour trip to the border of Texas. Finally, they drove from Texas into Mexico.

Kuhl and Misuta crossed the Mexican border on Nov. 20 and returned to Hillsdale on Feb. 1.

When Kuhl and Misuta entered Mexico, they drove the 30 miles long free zones with no paperwork. At the border station, Kuhl and Misuta were documented, but the bus was too big to enter, forcing them to have to drive to Laredo, Texas at night. In Texas, they slept at a Walmart and later on travelled back to Mexico and got in with no problem.

The first place in Mexico that Kuhl and Misuta visited was a campground in the town of Hidalgo, just outside the city of Monterrey. The campground housed rock climbing near the high walls of El Potrero Chico. While on the campground, they met a man who let them borrow gear so that they could climb with him.

After a couple of days in Mexico, Kuhl and Misuta drove south to Oaxaca City, Oaxaca, a state in southern Mexico. The trip was around 20 hours through a desert landscape. After arriving in Oaxaca, they searched for a tire shop to patch a tire of the bus that became flat while driving.

Town of Salina Cruz and San Cristobal

Kuhl and Misuta went further south to the Pacific Ocean, only to have the bus break down outside the town of Salina Cruz, a town filled with tourists. In Salina Cruz, it took a full week for the mechanics to find the replacement parts, and another week for the parts to be ordered. Then, the truck with the parts needed to fix the bus was stolen, causing Kuhl and Misuta to wait another week for the bus to be completely fixed.  

Salina Cruz is a big surf town that follows the Gringo Trail through Mexico. The Gringo Trail passes through Central America to Belize and northern Guatemala.

Kuhl and Misuta slept on the beach for a few days and stayed in a $500 luxury surf resort for free because the man working there liked them. To get around, they walked and biked.

Once the bus was fixed, Kuhl and Misuta traveled east to the city of San Cristobal.

“While in the city for a couple of weeks, we met some awesome people and learned the Spanish language,” Misuta said.

Kuhl’s favorite place to visit in San Cristobal was a bookshop. An American couple bought the bookshop and it housed the best English books in Mexico. Kuhl and Misuta stayed in the bookshop on Christmas, and it sparked an interest in reading for Kuhl.

After San Cristobal, Kuhl and Misuta decided to drive north back to the Mexican border.

To stay entertained throughout the trip, they looked outside the window at the scenery of Mexico and planned the next step of the trip.

In Mexico, Kuhl noticed there were many stray dogs and military checkpoints, people were friendly to foreigners, and some people knew how to speak English. To communicate with others, Kuhl and Misuta used Google Translate at restaurants and while asking for directions.

Kuhl and Misuta now

Misuta now lives in western Maryland and grows food on a Savage River Farm. A Savage River Farm houses vegetables, animals, and mushrooms without the use of fertilizers, pesticides, growth hormones and other chemicals.

“I ended up loving one of the farms we visited while traveling in Maryland, and went back there to live and learn a different lifestyle instead of going back to school,” Misuta said.

Misuta loves the hard working, community oriented lifestyle that the farm has to offer.

“I plan on growing as much food as I can with the people and place that I have come to love,” said Misuta.

After the trip to Mexico, Kuhl finished college at Suffolk University in Boston and attended journalism school. Kuhl recently broke his leg in a motorcycle accident, so he currently does not have a job but is taking pre-med classes.

In the future, Kuhl plans to move to India and travel to Kenya and Turkey.

“If you know what you want to do, and college is the best way to do it, the choice is already made,” Kuhl said. “Try some new things before dedicating time to college, and make chances.”

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Pascack Valley High School's Official News Site: Where there's smoke, there's fire.
A new journey in Mexico