Visiting Puerto Vallarta was an amazing, almost life changing, experience for me. There was no one defining ah-ha moment, but rather the sum of all of my experiences of those four days pooling together to produce one very happy lady.
We packed a LOT into those few days. I stayed at a lovely resort, had a few memorable meals and ate consistently great food, swam with a pair of dolphins and got kissed by a sea lion. I attended a tequila tasting,and hung out at the top of a mountain relaxing while other more courageous folks went zip lining. I walked the beach at midnight searching for turtle eggs, rode on the back of an ATV and got tipsy at the hotel bar. I rode in a boat out over Banderas Bay, saw brilliant hued fish while snorkeling, walked through a little fishing village, climbed the hill to a waterfall, and hung out in the ocean on a beautiful beach. I got a margarita from the “swim-up” poolside bar and drank it standing in the pool. I went on a taco tasting tour and “ate like a local”. I walked in the rain. It was hot, it was humid and at times the sun felt relentless. I swam in the hotel pool. I walked through the downtown, bartered in shops, browsed the flea market, hiked from one end of the beach-side boardwalk to the other, and rode on a pirate party ship.
Each by itself a memorable and wonderful moment, but the sum together was something magical. If before I left for this trip you had asked me if I was happy I would have answered, “Yes, of course.” My life is good. I have two cute kids who are healthy and only drive me crazy most of the time. I am doing this blog thing, which I love. I get out with my husband for frequent date nights. We live in a nice house and have everything we need. Often I am stressed about how messy the house is, about money, about writing deadlines, about parenting choices…. but I think that’s pretty normal. So, yeah, happy.
But then I went to Puerto Vallarta and I felt joy in my heart. By my second day there I was non-stop smiling happy. Based on the goofy grin on my face the people around me likely assumed I’d been indulging in the open bar. I felt like dancing and singing, I felt blessed and purely, intensely, happy. Somewhere along the way, buried underneath the day to day, I had forgotten I could feel this way, and it was a blessing, a gift, to be reminded of what it feels like to be joyous.
Puerto Vallarta has been named “the friendliest city in the world”, and it felt like the title was justified. Everyone, from the merchants who bartered with me in the flea market, to the crew on our day boat trip, was friendly, I’d dare even to say happy. The prevailing attitude was “I have the best job in the world — helping tourists have fun on their holidays”. I didn’t deal with a single surly person on the whole trip, and the happiness was infectious.
The night before we left I sat at the hotel bar with a handful of fellow bloggers. The one woman told the bartender, “I’m going to drown my sorrows in this drink. I’m sad because I’m leaving Puerto Vallarta in the morning.” He said, “I get that a lot.”, and after a short pause he followed it up with “Please don’t cry miss.” “Do people cry?” she asked. “Oh yes, yes, all of the time. They are sad to go.” he said, shaking his head and smiling.
While I would have gladly stayed, I was feeling too happy to be sad at the thought of leaving. Visiting Puerto Vallarta kicked me back into my groove. I came home feeling like someone had pushed my reset button; rebooted, recharged and ready to go.