Mexicali Blues: School of Life 📚

Mexicali Blues: School of Life 📚

Apr 4, 2023

(Chauncey with some young members of the Hmong tribe in Thailand)

Mexicali Blues from Chauncey's Perspective


Growing up, Mexicali was more than a lifestyle, it was the school of life itself. Swirling tie dye patterns were the coloring books and different cultures were the classrooms. Our school uniforms were strictly groovy, and our magic school bus took many forms from planes to trains, tuk-tuks to rickshaws, and motorbikes to motorboats. 


Hippie famly on a motorcycle in Thailand, Mexicali Blues History(Carly, Kim, Pete, and Chauncey on one of their first trips to Thailand)


Our family would spend at least a month a year on buying trips through Central America and Southeast Asia, eventually making it to India and Nepal. All of us lived out of one backpack, and more often than not shared a one-bed room (and a motorcycle). My parents would always find the cheapest accommodation possible, and I learned early on that water, electricity, and even windows are a luxury. Nap time frequently took place on top of backpacks or amongst piles of clothing in open air markets (we once “accidentally” spent an evening in a Zocalo or town square in Mexico) and snack time sometimes included bugs from street-side stalls (not the uninvited cockroaches or gargantuan spiders that shared our rooms with us). 


Hippie kids in Mexico, history of Mexicali Blues
(Caleb, Chauncey, & Carly in “the” Mexican Zocalo)


In retrospect, I learned more in the school of Mexicali than I could have ever imagined. While it is easy to find contrasts between Maine and the rest of the world, each experience abroad made it easier to find the similarities, making the world seem simultaneously smaller and safer. Every experience can be a classroom and every place can become a playground, but you always need to have respect for other people and other cultures. 


Hippie Kids in Guatemala with locals, history of Mexicali Blues
(Above: Carly, Chauncey, and Caleb with the youngest members of a family business in Lago Atitlan, Guatemala... Chauncey and Carly were in this same room, doing business with this same family last year)

Languages may be made of different alphabets but smiles speak a thousand words. People may look different but we are all the same; no matter where you go people have heads, shoulders, knees, and toes, as well as loving hearts and kind souls. The island that we grew up on in Maine wasn’t so different from islands in Thailand or Indonesia, they just had sand instead of rocks, and coconuts instead of snow. Our family lived and laughed together just like all of the families we did business with, a lot of whom also shared one room.


For me, Mexicali Blues is a bridge between cultures, a way of not only bringing the rest of the world to Maine but bringing Maine to the rest of the world. There’s nothing like two groovy parents with three bowl-cut blondies in tow to help spread good vibes and overcome stigmas faced by Americans abroad. This seed was planted within me at a young age, and I spent a lot of my 20s trying to continue this legacy, backpacking, volunteering, and working all over the globe, doing my best to share smiles and spread stoke wherever I roamed.


My first job was for Mexicali at one of the original locations in Boothbay. There was a tiny window space, and my parents threw down a tapestry, put me in my uniform (a tie dye onesie), tossed me in, and let me roll around and drool on myself. I was one of the first Mexicali models, and it may be unconventional but, hey, I guess it worked.

Original Mexicali Blues model
(Pete holding a drooling Chauncey in the Boothbay Mexicali Blues)


Life has come full circle and Mexicali Blues is now my occupation, my classroom, and my way of life. Our family business continues to share smiles and good vibes with the world. Instead of the window, I now work behind the scenes online and occasionally behind the counter in stores. Groovy is still the uniform and the magic school bus still takes many forms which now include tie dye delivery vans. I still travel with my family on buying trips, however we no longer share one room, and now I ride my own motorcycle. I can still fall asleep anywhere, although I have to admit I have eaten food far stranger than bugs. I’m bigger, hairier, and way less cute, but if need be, I would still rock a tie dye onesie and roll around in a window… and, yes, I still drool on myself sometimes, but mostly when I sleep.

A huge thank you to my parents Kim and Pete for starting this legacy. Thanks to all of the past, present, and future faces of Mexicali for jumping on the magic school bus. Thanks to all of the masters and makers from Taxco to Kathmandu that continue to share their traditional handicrafts, stories, and smiles with us. You’re all a part of the Mexicali family now, and I look forward to what the next 35 years will bring <3




35 years in the making…

Continue the Journey 👉 

for now... ✌️,❤️, and Mexicali

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