The amazing joy from sharing experiences and celebrating the holidays with family and friends is really the theme of this portion from Puerto Vallarta to Valle de Bravo. For a cycling journey from Vancouver to Patagonia, this portion from Puerto Vallarta to Valle de Bravo had remarkable little biking. Cycling was not a lifestyle of this portion of our trip but rather a mode of transit. Though I felt a little lost busing, feeling like I was beamed through space like in an episode of Star Trek and completely disconnected from the landscape around me as we focused on Spanish films blared on the bus or slept in its comfortable chairs, it was great to be able to spend the time with friends. I think there has to be a balance – we want to do the most of the trip cycling but at the same point, we should not be so rigid in our plans that wonderful opportunities pass us by. It was hard for me to skip these portions by busing but the experiences with Alexa, her family and our family of cyclists for Christmas and our hilarious New Year celebrations with Erin, Santiago and their families were priceless and I wouldn’t have missed them for the world.
I am reminded of oak and willow trees. Oak trees are strong but rigid without the ability to move, they can crack and break in a storm. Willow tree branches sway in the wind, being flexible to situations and after the storm, they are still there. In travelling, we all have our goals and plans but we can’t be too rigid to them or else we’ll break as the world seems to be constantly against us and our plans. The truth is, I think, the world doesn’t care. It moves to its own beat and the world is a synergy of many different parts, each doing their own thing but somehow weaving in together in a beautiful chaotic but yet somehow patterned dance. When we try too hard to hold on to our own ideas of how things should be and how things should act, we try to stop this dance and we can’t. If we jump right in and dance with the world in all of her glory, learn the challenges and work with them and embrace opportunities, it becomes an amazing whirlwind experience.
I feel like this expresses our incredible experiences over this past holiday, from jumping off a mountain and soaring like a bird while paragliding over Valle de Bravo, to hilariously wearing red or yellow underwear on New Years, to listening to Dave’s incredible sitar music on Christmas in a 300 year old colonial mansion in Guadalajara, feasting all night for Christmas with Alexa’s family and hungry cyclists, to more mundane fun like playing games with Erin and Santiago’s families and trying to talk to turkeys on Santiago’s family ranch, to so much more.
Allow flexiblity to embrace opportunities and I feel that magical things happen. It turned out that we bused through one of the more dangerous areas of Mexico, Michoacan state. I had really wanted to go Moralia in the state of Michocan to see the monarch butterflies. As fate would have it, Valle de Bravo is the site of Mexico’s newest butterfly sanctuary! I often ask the people I meet what their definition of paradise is. One of my good friends, Jory, replied “To always be in the flow.” Jory, Ben, Bryan and I had been sailing in Baja California a couple years ago. As we were chatting on the sailboat in the middle of calm waters with manta rays doing flips in the sunset, I told them that sailing was pretty close to my idea of paradise. Jory pointed out that sailing was great but skiing in the winter was also paradise. It was more about being in the moment and enjoying what each moment has to offer. Going with the flow and getting that chance to spend the holidays with Alexa and her family and meeting up with all of our cyclist friends then coming to Valle de Bravo to spend New Years with two of my best friends, Erin and Santiago, and finally able to spend time with their wonderful families, has been absolutely amazing. Thank you so much to everyone for welcoming us and including us in your celebrations and more than that, in your families. It makes Bryan and I feel as if we are the luckiest people in the world.