Right after we got comfortable staying in one place for a week, we found ourselves back on a bus. It’s twenty hours or so to Puerto Vallarta from Acapulco, and it was yet another overnight bus. Fortunately, our friends from the conference, Damian and Liz, were on the same bus, with their three kids. This made the daytime part of the trip better. The seats and their spacing made the nighttime portion rough.
A surprising twist in the plot came about at the party at Michael and Candice’s house in Acapulco. We had been planning on finishing out with Mexico out on the Yucutan, and then having Laura and the girls fly off to Lithuania while I conduct the North America portion of the world tour. I plan to visit the entire eastern seaboard, into Canada, and back through the US, via Detroit, down through Kentucky and ending in Texas. Laura was simply not interested in making this tour, and all of the girls are ready to kick their heels in one place for a while, after the whirlwind tour of South America and now Mexico. We originally thought Lithuania would be a good place for that, but in the midst of so many awesome people at the conference, it suddenly dawned on us. Why not just stay in Mexico?
It’s nice and warm, there's a low cost of living, and now, all of the sudden, a network of friends, including friends for the girls. For about half a day we were scoping out Acapulco, where a community has definitely come together and is growing, but before long we started to feel a pull towards Puerto Vallarta. Damian and Liz, as well as Leandrew and Kelsie, were big motivators in shifting our direction. Another big factor was the fact that I used to live in the Puerto Vallarta area, nine years ago. My time in Mexico in 2007-2008 was life changing for me, and it’s one heck of a story.
I actually have three non-fiction books all about my journey to Mexico with my cousin Todd on his sailboat and my subsequent adventures when I went ashore and got a job on the beach, before running off to the desert to eat peyote and then returning to the Banderas Bay to live in the jungle outside Yelapa.
These books were once published on my old site, World of McCool, but I’ve never had them printed, or compiled an online version. Someday….
All that said, this area is really special to me. I am glad to be back here, and we are finding it easy to envision longer term plans here. World Tour 2017 is only funded through the fall, and we hope to set up a new home base somewhere before we attempt another world tour, with Africa, Asia, and Oceana in mind.
As of now, we’re giving serious consideration to putting in some roots here. It’s a good place to live, and a real scene is emerging here. Kelsey and Leandrew are a great connection to this scene, and after meeting them for dinner one night, we learned that just the next was to be a PV Voluntaryist meet up.
The meeting was held at a place called Food Park, where a bunch of food trucks and container unit kitchens were set up around a courtyard, and you can just go up and take your pick back to the picnic tables. It was a lively scene, and a cool idea.
We met several new people at the meeting, and were glad to see Damian and Liz there as well. (The kids were even happier.) I had some really good conversations, both about the movement and about life in Mexico. Mexico is looking pretty good right now.
We came to PV on a mission. Find a furnished month to month rental. It’s a good sized city with tons of real estate. Should be easy, right? Wrong. It’s been tough. The biggest wall we’ve hit is that most of what looks good to us isn’t available until April. We’re at the tail end of the high season, and prices are high right now. People are looking to book nightly and weekly.
I won’t go into details here, but we’ve got a rough plan in place to make it work. We’ve been keeping busy cruising craigslist and other local classifieds, as well as seeing a few places. But mostly, we’ve been enjoying our time in the city, doing some standard tourist stuff. The girls love going into all the little shops, and I got them all something they wanted on our walk through the city that we took one morning while Laura scoured the web for lodging.
It was a nice walk, and we got to see Puerto Vallarta as it appears on the postcards. When we first got to town, we stayed in a bnb that was kind of far from town. It was a nice place with a small backyard pool that the girls loved, but it was too far out for us to easily search, so we then booked a hotel close to the beach in downtown. It’s been very nice going out to the beach to meditate in the morning or going for a swim.
After I took the girls out all morning, I bargained for a walk alone through the city, to bring a glimpse of the world I’m walking amidst to my readers. I am astounded and amazed by this world, and I very much love soaking in the sights and sounds and conveying those experiences through this medium. I shot three videos in a row with nothing but a glimpse of what’s happening in the streets. As I tour through many cities and communities in eastern North America, I plan to make a regular series of short videos shot in the streets and forests of different places I visit.
I saw a viewpoint in the hills above that I was determined to visit. I followed my sense of where it would be (it wasn’t visible from within the grid of the city streets) and started uphill. The streets in PV get very steep if you get too far away from the water, and the flat land gets narrower as you move further south. Soon I was high above the city, but still not to the viewpoint, which was a tall concrete balcony seemingly made just for the view.
The street ended and I found myself on a small paved path. Then that dead ended at someone’s front yard, but I found a small path going around the house, which I took. It was well worn at first, but soon it became overgrown and very steep. As my breathing got heavier, my excitement mounted. This is what I love. Nothing like a treacherous path to make the final destination well earned!
I made my way to the top and climbed the viewing tower. Nice views. Puerto Vallarta is not an industrial or mega building kind of city. The hotels are the only skyscrapers, right along the water. Much of the older district has a colonial look to it. Bahia Banderas is stunningly beautiful. Deep blue water wrapped in a semi-circle of low green mountains.
We have had several adventures since we’ve been here. We looked up an organic store and went there, meeting the owner Crystal, who was very nice. She has a farm a few hours out of the city, and she told us she sells produce at the farmer’s market in Sayulita every Wednesday. We were glad to learn of it, and we decided we’d go out there for that.
We also found a really awesome vegetarian pizza place run by an Italian guy who really knows his stuff, and is very friendly. Laura and I were blessed with the chance to have a date when Liz and Damian offered to take the kids for a few hours. We spent most of it talking to realtors, but we also ate some of this guy’s awesome pizza and held hands while we walked. (That’s part of what makes it a date.)
On my long walk through city, I saw a place at the mouth of the river where there’s a nice fresh water swimming spot, right next to the beach. I suggested to Laura that we all go there. I saw several families enjoying the spot as I crossed the bridge on my walk and I figured it was a good way to spend the afternoon, before going out to eat in the Romantic District. There’s a whole section of PV that’s a hot gay destination, and as I walked through it, I found that they had the best restaurants and lots of organic selection. Some people call this the San Francisco of Mexico. Rent reflects this, plus it’s further down south, where there’s only a little bit of flat land, with mostly big hills.
I found a place I wanted us to eat that night after our swim. “They have kale on the menu,” I told Laura, for whom this was a selling point. She had been stressed from looking for places all day while trying to keep the peace amongst the girls. A bit of fun out in the world was just what we all needed.
The waterhole was great. Comfortable temperature, clear, clean water, and mostly shallow, so Lila could move about easily. We spent a bit of time at the spot where the river flowed over the beach into the ocean, and we tried to go for a swim, but not very far out the ground was rocky. Not a great swim spot for the ocean, but we enjoyed watching all the sea birds watching the fishermen. Hoping for a donation to the cause, for sure.
Ever since my first stay in Mexico, I have developed a fascination with and deep respect for pelicans. Plus, I like the way they look. When they tuck their bill up to their neck they remind me a little of dachshunds. I had a long conversation with this one pelican that let me get quite close to conduct the interview. He didn’t respond until I asked him the oceans were getting dirtier, and then he made several mouth and head movements that seemed like a solid answer to me.
When we headed over towards the restaurant, we found out that it closed at five. So we improvised, going instead to a seafood place where the waiter was very entertaining. I guess he had time to be, since we were the only ones in the dining room. He did a magic trick for the girls, and challenged me to stand a bottle of wine on top of three glasses with some knives. He was a good waiter, and the food was excellent. Laura and the girls are excited about seafood, which is very fresh here, simply cooked. Very natural food. I just got a veggie burrito, which always suits me fine.
One night while dining we talked about what our favorite kind of world food is. Upon reflecting on it for just a moment, it was clear to me. Mexican. I can eat it every day and be happy with it every time. As for exotic favorites, to be enjoyed as a treat every so often, I think Ethiopian food is my favorite, but if I had to pick a food to eat for the rest of my life, it’s definitely Mexican.
Another check mark on the ‘reasons to move to Mexico’ list. Aside from wanting a home base here, we’re definitely considering even longer term. Maybe even buying land and starting a project. Things are promising in that department, from what we’ve seen so far. So the first mission is to live here for a while and see how it feels, over time. Believe me, though, if we do get a project started, we will let you know, and welcome any potential collaborators. Details of the objectives to come, but if you know me, you’ve got the general picture already.
We did go out to the Sayulita farmer’s market, and we also took a trip over to Yelapa. These will be covered in a separate article.
My US/Canada Tour begins very soon. I will be reaching out to anyone who wants to meet up with me on my travels, to show me their project, maybe do an interview, maybe go for a hike to some waterfalls or explore caves. Permagora is all about positive solutions and the wonders of the natural world.
I thank you all for following along on the lifelong adventure, and I look forward to the next stage in Permagora’s evolution as I take this game to the streets and start talking with people. So stay tuned, and keep dreaming of a better world!