Monthly Archives: April 2023

She ate the eyeball!

I wish I could say the wind was gently blowing away from my face, giving my hair a tousled look of a model in front of the camera. This was not the case. As we sped through the bay heading toward our destination, I had a death grip on Shanti, eager to feel the waves, leaning over the edge, laughing and splashing. My other hand braced the solid seat below me as every bump reminded me that my “cushion” wasn’t as protective as it used to be. My hair? If I wasn’t choking on the strands that so gracefully made their way into my mouth, I was blinded by the mask of hair covering my eyes with every change in the wind. It was a wonderful ride to Yelapa.

This entire post is also in video form on our YouTube channel, you can see it here!

The journey to Yelapa started with a cab ride from Puerto Vallarta, taking us north along the coast. We stopped at Parque Nacional Marino Los Arcos De Mismaloya so Matt could fly his drone and the girls could grab a snack: Fava beans, pumpkin seeds, and trail mix.

The cab finally dropped us in a charming little town called Boca De Tomatlán. It was hard to pass all the small vendors and restaurants in the sand, but we only had half the day to explore.

We made it to the beach and hopped on a group boat to the famous point called Yelapa!

If you’re heading there, please note that the boat makes two stops upon arrival. The first (to the right of the image) is for the beach, and the second is directly into town. We chose the second as the goal was to go to the top and see the waterfall we had heard about!

The walk to the waterfall was short, but it was narrow and steep(ish). In the town of Yelapa, there are no proper roads or vehicles. You’ll find dirt and rock paths with horses, mules, and the occasional quad. How cool is that?!

Once reaching the top, there was a gorgeous cascading waterfall with a small pool of water below. Mimi, Matt’s mom, had flown in to visit us, and we took full advantage as she watched Shanti so we could hop into the waterfall bath. It. Was. So. Cold. But we did it, and Shanti even wanted to join!

On the trek down the mountain, we followed Matt’s lead and saw some beautiful graffiti, fun construction, and… and… I think we’re going the wrong way. “Hey babe, this doesn’t feel right,” I say. With gentle confidence, he responds with a comment that he knows where we’re going. El wrong-o buddy! A mile into the opposite direction, the time is ticking, and there’s only one way off this beach and only one time they depart. I honestly couldn’t tell you if I was mad or totally selfishly pleased that I was right. Either way, a slight panic took to the air as I commented, “Well, we could always stay the night here?!”.

With the help from some locals and my undeniable sense of direction (that’s a joke if you’ve ever been lost with me), we made it back to the pier and with time to have dinner!

Cafe Bahia is a beachfront restaurant that did not disappoint! There were vegan options, homemade dishes, and creative adult beverages. The bonus was that we could see the dock where they picked us up, so we were guaranteed not to miss the only boat home.

Again with the windy-haired chaos of the boat ride, except this time, Shanti was curled up and attempting to sleep in my lap. Once we returned to the mainland, we quietly walked toward the local bus to get home.

We were just about to exit the neighborhood when Shanti scared the motherly words out of me! She pops up and shouts, “I want one of those!”

What was it? A whole fish on a stick roasting over an open fire.

This was when Mimi realized what she had done. Not only did she devour it, but she also ate it ALL, even the eyeball! Priceless.

We finally caught the bus back to Puerto Vallarta and ended up tired, sun-kissed, and ready for bed.

Friendly reminder that we have a YouTube channel called Their Happy Trails. It has our past bus life experiences, some family adventures, and international travels, including this very trip to Yelapa!

Categories: International Family Travels, Travel talk | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Punta De Mita – a trip of many emotions

So two years ago, I took a job with a company as an independent writer for their social media. I learned the ins and outs of content creation on different platforms while practicing my creativity through words. How cool, right? I loved my job with Tiny Home Tours and was sad to resign, but I knew it would be best for my family and our future travels. Plus, after writing 30 hours a week, unfortunately, this blog was put to the side. Luckily, my talented husband is an incredible videographer that captured those years through the camera AND we’ve created a family-friendly(ish) YouTube channel! It’s called Their Happy Trails.

If you’d rather watch an entertaining episode of this post, we have a 13-minute video of it on our YouTube. Click here!

Our first family stop out of the United States was Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We’ve soaked in the sun, eaten delicious (and not-so-delicious) food, and explored the city’s vibrant culture—more on that in a later post.

An exciting part of our trip was when we accidentally stumbled upon a huge annual festival in Punta De Mita! It was an incredible experience for all of us.

I went for a morning walk to find us coffee, and there it was, a line of trucks, boats on trailers, and homemade floats lined up along an old city street. In my broken but mistakenly confident Spanish, I asked a local what was happening. Little did we know, we were in for a big surprise! He said, “It (never said what “it” was) starts at 9 am in the Plaza.” Ok then, off to the Plaza we go!

As we got closer, there was a big crowd of people. We could hear the authentic music of guitars, horns, and accordions, which caused Shanti to dance her way up the path. Oh, how I love this kid!

It was a huge annual festival celebrating the local heritage specific to this city. They take so much pride in their area and and we were thrilled to have stumbled upon it.

While exploring Punta De Mita, we met a family traveling on a bus! You guys, a Skoolie! For those of you that don’t know, Our family lived the bus life for 3 years! We recently sold our second rig to start these travels. See our last home on wheels and the amazing journey it took us on by heading over to our YouTube.

I was not expecting the rush of emotions to see an international family in a DIY tiny home just hanging out in this little surf town. They had driven there from Maine! They were so friendly and welcoming that I felt we had known them for years, especially the awesome momma of the all-boy crew. They showed us around and told us about their adventures. We were so inspired by their stories that we joined them multiple times, once for nighttime tacos, a few surf days, and of course, the crazy parade.

Matt got to surf while we all walked the long beach to La Lancha, and when I say long, I mean 4 miles roundtrip! Matt had his surfboard, so naturally, I assumed Id be the one carrying Shanti for most of the journey. Nope! This energy ball ran the whole way there and skipped the entire way back (and also slept for 12 hours that night).

Ok, total scene change. Matt, Shanti, and I were walking the streets one afternoon, and out of nowhere, like, thin air, this baby chick came chirping up to us. Way too young to be away from its momma but healthy enough to want comfort. It had clearly lost its way and, due to Shanti’s adoring snuggles, soon thought we were its family.

It was heartbreaking, but we knew we couldn’t keep the chick. We had to let it go, but we all fell in love with this little thing! It was an essential lesson for Shanti; she learned about the circle of life and how to let go of things we love. Confession, I secretly kept looking for it in the following days, hoping to get one more day with our adopted pet.

The images below were daddy telling her we had to say goodbye. Both of their expressions are on point with emotions.

Overall, it was an incredible trip. I can’t wait to see what the rest of our journey has in store for us. Shanti may remember some, if any, of these times, but I hope the overall energy of the experience will be seeded in her life’s journey.

Next up, more of Mexico!

Categories: International Family Travels, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

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