The moment I shrugged and got in the taxi, I knew things had turned.
I had been told that the ride from Cancun bus station to the ferry port would cost 40 pesos (about $3.50). When I question the 70 pesos quoted by the taxista, he points across a busy traffic circle to a shared van. Faced with the option of hauling my heavy dive gear and over-packed bag 50 meters to save $3, I choose ease.
Backpacking, especially for an extended period of time, dramatically adjusts internal economics, the value of things. Yes, you absolutely haul your gear 50 meters to save $3, because $3/day saved over one year equals an extra month of travel. These transactions seem insignificant on a daily basis, but will have lasting effects.
But now I’m on vacation. I’m not backpacking. Yes, I’m staying in hostels and eating relatively inexpensive street food. I’m refilling my water bottle for free instead of buying a new one. For the most part, I’m hauling my dive gear instead of taking a taxi. But after three nights in a sweaty corner bunk in a 10-bed dorm, getting eaten alive by mosquitoes and sleeping and average of 3 hours/night, the prospect of hauling my gear that extra 50 meters to save New York City pocket change seems impossible, if not foolish.
I shrug and get into the taxi.