I recently got back from a trip to Puerto Vallarta. I fell heads over heels in love with Mexico last year when I stayed in the Mayan Riviera, and was excited to see another part of the incredible country.
The trip was the cumulation of recognizing how done I was with everything; work, home, life. My stress level was beyond high with little sleep and total body, mind, and soul exhaustion.
I’m in that age where pretty much everyone I know is married or partnered and those who are not are still enjoying the single life with no kids. Being single and looking more to chill than party, my travel partners were limited but ultimately I decided to go on my own, and that probably was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
You know how you can get into a routine and mostly just wander through life in a series of this then that then that other thing and you realize where did that week even go? I feel that that has been going on for awhile, constantly feeling like I’m forgetting something. All of that just stopped in Mexico; I had no timetable, no agenda, no real plans except sun and water and not making a single meal. I could sleep in (it never happened), I could eat when and what I wanted (that definitely happened), and I could go on as many adventures outside of the hotel as I wanted or could just lay by the pool for a whole week.
Ultimately, I went on a couple of adventures because that’s what I’m like and I’m so glad I did. The first, a trip into the Pacific on a speed boat to the Marieta Islands, protected islands where you can snorkel and swim amongst the massive rock formations. On our way out to the islands, two dolphins jumped and twirled in the air, reminding me of the girls. The highlight was jumping into the treacherous and incredibly strong waters, the current pushing and pulling you to the point where it felt as if you weren’t even moving. A swim through a small cave to a hidden beach that only 100 people a day are allowed to visit. The sand felt incredible, especially since for awhile the swim was so challenging I wasn’t totally sure we would ever make it home again. Once I got back on the boat, heart pounding and out of breath, I realized how proud I was of myself. Of my bravery for being the first one in the water, of my swimming for making it through the cave and back again, and for just giving it a try without a hand to hold.
My other adventures took me into town, wandering the boardwalk and then through the cobblestoned streets, admiring street art, and sucking back a mango popsicle in the heat. I walked the entire town and back to the hotel, being offered fresh pineapple on the side of the road, and encountering a wandering chicken. I spoke Spanish and bought food and souvenirs for the monkeys. Everywhere was more beautiful than the next; water and mountains and kind smiling faces.
I took a bus into the jungle, where I spoke with an older man and a horse before dining on some amazing food and finding myself in a tequila distillery surrounded by lush greens, horses, and beautiful flowers as bananas grew nearby.
I salsa danced, made jewelry, ate, swam, sung along with live bands, read, and started every morning with champagne. I spoke to other tourists and made friends with locals. I spoke Spanish and tanned and I felt my soul being filled as I felt like myself for the first time in probably forever. I was alone but never once felt lonely, a feeling that accompanies me almost everywhere I go and every day I parent on my own, yet in Mexico, it felt as if my soul was on fire and was properly being nourished for the first time in a long time.
Of course, I returned to real life, but with a vow not to allow myself to go so long before taking care of myself, before filling my own cup so that I can full others’ with ease. I may not be in Mexico, but I will feed my soul, and I’m going to start with salsa lessons, as there is no better way to feel on fire than some Latin dancing, and if I happen to grab tacos and margaritas after each class, then so be it.
A smattering of memories…..