Getting a dog was not part of my plan when moving to Mexico. I had always wanted a dog, yes, but if it had been up to me; I would have chosen to get one at a much more stable point in my life. Having a dog when you travel isn’t always ideal.
I was hanging out in the kitchen that day, minding my own business, when suddenly I heard my roommate’s loud voice outside. She was always loud and cheerful so it was nothing out of the ordinary, but it gave me a bit of a strange feeling. It was the day before my birthday and she had been unusually secretive for the past couple of days. I knew she was up to something. To make the story short – she gave me a puppy. I wish I could have said that it was the cutest puppy I had ever seen, but that would have been lying. The puppy was cute, yes, but it was also dirty and full of ticks and flees. I still can’t seem to figure out how so many creepy-crawlers could fit on such a tiny little dog body. The first thought that passed through my head was “Oh my god I have a dog” and the second thought was “Oh my god, no – I can’t have a dog!” It was a moment I will never forget. On one hand I had always wanted a dog, but on the other I knew I couldn’t have one. Not now.
With time the puppy grew and I – well – I grew attached to it. Bailey, I called her. After two more years in Mexico it was time for me to return to Europe. “What will you do with the dog?” I got that question a million times from equally many people. What they didn’t know was that I was asking myself the exact same question. What would I do? Leaving her in Mexico was never an option for me, even though it would have been the easiest thing to do. I lived about 5 hours from the American border, so I decided to try and find a ride to the US and then have her prepared for the flight back to Europe while staying with some people I knew in Washington D.C. …Washington D.C is basically on the other side of the country, so I had quite a trip ahead of me. I tried for months to find someone who would agree to drive us up to the border and Arizona, but it proved to be a lot harder than I would have ever imagined. Nobody wanted to put a dog the size of my dog in the car. …Yeah, I forgot to mention that she wasn’t exactly a small dog.
Things looked really bad for us for a while and it came to a point where I thought we wouldn’t make it. I thought I would have to leave her and it broke my heart. Then, out of nowhere, someone knew someone who was driving up to Arizona AND who would agree to let both me and my dog come along. Done deal. A couple of days later we hopped into a car and set out on our long journey.
Victory number one was getting across the border to the United States. I had all Bailey’s papers in order and it all went smoothly. Nobody even looked at her as we drove across. The person who drove us dropped us off at a shopping mall and there I was with my dog and my bag. Nothing else. It was just us. We CouchSurfed for a few nights with a cool guy named Ben. Walking my dog on American soil felt strange but exciting . we had already made it further than anyone had thought we would. …That was when we had our biggest set-back. I had intended to fly with Bailey from Arizona and to Washington D.C, I had my ticket booked and everything, but then I found out that the airline had heat restrictions for flying dogs. It was late June so I should have predicted that Bailey wouldn’t be able to fly, but I had been so caught up in everything else that I had forgotten to double-check.
Perhaps I should have given up then and there, but I couldn’t. I had taken on the responsibility for that dog and I had to follow through. I went onto Craigslist and posted an ad where I requested a ride basically across the whole country. It seemed like a crazy thing to do, and trust me, I got some pretty crazy replies. After a few days, however, I got a reply from a nice British man named Paul. Paul was traveling the world without flying (quite amazing) and he had decided to rent a car to drive to North Carolina; which was only a few hours away from my final destination. Bailey and I ended up going with him. We traveled through 10 states over the course of two days before finally getting there. Bailey rode happily in the back the whole time. We were on our way.
At a peculiar place called South of the Border – at the border between South- and North Carolina – was where my dog and I parted ways with Paul. He went his way and we went ours. I had gone on Craigslist again to find another ride from there and up to Washington D.C and luckily for me I had found a woman willing to drive us. …Us and a couple of other odd characters. It was me, Bailey, a hippie-looking girl that drove without shoes, her dog, a slightly (!!) neurotic man that kept wanting to stop for coffee and an 18 year old New Yorker who had run away from his cousin in Florida. We were a very strange group of people fitted into a small 5-seat car.
We arrived in Washington D.C at last. Me and my Mexican dog. The preparations for her to go with me to Europe took another two months or so. Microchip, rabies shot, paperwork… it seemed neverending at times. In late August, 2013, we hopped on a plane that took us across the Atlantic. Bailey and I arrived safely in Europe.
No, traveling with a dog wasn’t ideal, but it was an amazing experience and I would definitely do it again. I was just a girl who wanted to prove to the world that it was possible, even though everyone else told me that it wasn’t. It taught me to trust my own instincts and not to let others decide what I can and cannot do. Once you set your mind to something – anything is possible.
Traveling the World with a Dog