I just got back home to Arizona from Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico. I was there for four days with my family: my mom, my stepdad, and my little sister McCall.
When I was a kid, the furthest vacation we would go on would be maybe Rapid City, SD or the far Medora, North Dakota. I feel really fortunate each time I get to travel. It makes me especially happy for my mom. She has come a long way and secured a lot of unlikely opportunity for herself. She has worked very hard.
Since then, starting when I was in my late teens, we have been going on further, cooler vacations, like this one, to the west coast of Mexico.
This was probably the most relaxing, simple, unexciting (in a good way) trip that I have ever been on. Reason: I didn't dread coming home. I looked forward to the trip, but did not feel like it was some type of escape that I needed, as I have felt so many times before while heading out on vacation.
I really like warm weather, but I grew up, and went to college, and grad school, in very cold places (North Dakota, New Hampshire, New York). I finally realized that I need to live somewhere warm, so I moved to Arizona. I no longer disdain the climate in which I live. This was a great choice, and improves my quality of life by a million percent.
I really don't like working in an office, or being beholden to a mean, cranky boss, so I quit doing that. I am a freelance journalist and run a wellness organization. I enjoy my work. I don't need a break from it.
All is not perfect, all is not well, but I've found absolute joy in the mundane: the painted white brick walls in my apartment; driving by cacti and palm trees while I run errands in warm air; a certain person waking me up every morning with a certain type of coffee.
I don't believe that anybody can build the perfect life, but I do believe that if you are in the position of having choices, you should honor that chunk of wealth by striving for actual happiness. I believe "vacation" is the wrong idea. "Vacation" implies escape from reality. "Travel" is more like it. Learning; opening the mind; experiencing new surroundings with respect for the world and its people. A genuine eagerness to connect.
I wonder whether I will always live a life from which I do not care to escape. At this point, I can't imagine not. I'm grateful to feel like I have some say in it; some agency; some choice. Not everybody does.
Mexico is amazing. If you go there, be respectful. #NoBanNoWall #IndigenousConnections