“Travel heals the heart.”
Zazil Abraham recalls a trip she took with her mother to Muna when she was a teenager. As she looked out into the horizon from the tall hill overlooking the Puuc, she felt a hole in her heart heal. She noticed unfamiliar colors and vegetation, and that quiet moment allowed her to relax and connect with herself.
For years now, Zazil has migrated to Muna with her camera and her friends. She considers it a way to see herself from a distance. “The experience of traveling – even if it’s nearby – helps you to connect with new things: new cultures, new foods, new views. Everything that’s new to you, helps you to get out of your comfort zone and connect with yourself,” explains Zazil.
There are a million brilliant ways to introduce Zazil Abraham. A family name with Maya roots, Zazil oozes with charisma. She grew up in Mérida where she has resided almost her entire life. Her mother teaches traditional Yucatecan cooking classes and Zazil grew up living what she calls the “classic” Yucatecan experience: long weeks at the beach between Uaymitún and Chabihau, day and night in her bathing suit, eating sweet and salty foods.
However, conventional eating doesn’t exactly render the body of our dreams. Over time, Zazil found herself wrestling with issues surrounding body positivity. Time at the beach became difficult, because: swimsuits. A story we’ve all lived.
She began to reinvent her relationship with food, looking for healthier alternatives to deep-fried dishes, sharing her experience on social media along the way. Slowly, she built a following: women and men across Yucatán and beyond who were experiencing the same challenge. People who want to learn how to love their bodies how they are, now. She founded a social movement called Brave Strong Worthy. A space where people forge their own paths to self-love.
She built herself a pyramid – an overlook.
She tells me her story sitting in her garden, a five-year evolution which resulted in her vegan lifestyle practices. She offers me leaves of basil, Maya oregano, and mint, telling me to smell. I breathe in, and have the feeling that I’m traveling, experiencing something new, connecting with myself.
Go there: Visit the “Parque Ecológico el Mirador” located in Muna on the ex-highway to Uxmal, just a few kilometers from the sacred site. The grounds contain a small store full of locally-made handicrafts, lookout tower, cave, botanical gardens, and campgrounds.
Editorial by Amanda Strickland
Photos by Amanda Strickland