So often in today’s society, we find ourselves enveloped in a bubble that keeps us from exploring the outside world. Whether the trap exists in the form of a dorm room, a disappointing education, a job or just the same mundane day-to-day routine, our lives too often grow stale.

The world is an incredibly diverse place. I encourage everyone to dive headfirst into the ocean of possibilities that exist all around you. In particular, for the locals of Southern California, I want to open up a door that’s waiting for you less than five hours away.

Hop in a car or a bus and get yourself to the border. I’m talking about Mexico, amigo, the land of opportunity. So much culture and adventure blends itself together in the magical land of Baja California. But like everything in life, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do something. The following is the right way to go to Mexico.

Get a couple of your friends together and decide that you’re going to take off. Ideally, decide that you’re leaving no more than an hour or two before departure. Leave at night to avoid the zoo of Los Angeles traffic. Park your car on the American side of the border for $7 or pay about $10 a day for Mexican car insurance. (Most American plans don’t cover any damage that occurs across the border.)

Don’t spend too much time in Tijuana because it’s too close to America. Don’t spend too much money, either, because you don’t need to. As a friend of mine told me in Mexico, “No tenemos porque no queremos.” For all you gringos out there, that means, “We don’t have it because we don’t want it.” Enjoy some tortas and a cold Corona with lime, but don’t blow the bank. Not that money matters, but in Mexico you should do as the Mexicans do.

Travel down Highway 1, making it at least as far south as Ensenada. If you have someone who speaks Spanish, find out where all of the locals hang out, and go dig the local scene. If you don’t have anyone who speaks Spanish, at least bring a dictionary. Don’t be ashamed to try and learn the language. You will get better.

In my opinion, though, the most important aspect of traveling in Mexico is to have respect. As Americans, we have an absolute obligation to represent America in a positive light. Our government and the overall actions of our country in recent times have made many individuals from other countries perceive America in a negative light.

But the bottom line is the fact that we are all just individuals. The more Americans who can travel peacefully through Mexico and share compassion with another culture, the better Mexicans and the whole world will understand that most people in the United States aren’t waving American flags and drilling for oil. We may like fast food and reality TV to a dangerous extent, but most of us are entirely respectable people.

Mexicans are some of the kindest people I’ve ever met. All across the world I’ve connected with people who didn’t know Americans could be decent people until they actually met one who showed them otherwise. So, as individuals, bit by bit, let’s start doing something to try and bring this fragmented world back together.

Chris Trenchard is the Daily Nexus sports co-editor.