It’s April 23rd and I’m lounging in my blue-striped Tommy Bahama beach chair, half buzzed after a can of Victoria beer. Even my SPC 50 sun block and the shade of a nearby palm tree can’t prevent the tinge of a small sunburn on my shoulders. In the background I overhear my friend Dan’s phone conversation in broken Spanish, as he makes dinner reservations for 15 people today at the Buena Vida beachside restaurant in Akumal. It’s a good life living in the Caribbean surrounded by turquoise waters and fantastic friends.
Our group is presently plopped down in our motley crew of chairs and umbrellas at Soliman Bay, Mexico, about a 30 minute drive from our home in Playa del Carmen. Everyone seems happy. Someone comments and says “we’re living the good life.” We’re thankful to be living on the Mexican Caribbean. Content in our choice to have purchased property here and to have discovered friends who share a similar zest for adventure. We never would have expected when moving to Mexico that we would find find such a large group of likeminded, adventurous souls.
Most everyone in the group is retired except for Allan and me. However, economic status is immaterial. What matters is the here and now. Health and happiness are paramount. No one tries to outdo anyone else. What’s the point? When it comes down to it material wealth is fleeting while soul-enriching experiences and conversations endure.
The visit to Soliman Bay was totally impromptu. Someone suggested a beach excursion, and within 24 hours our gang was sunbathing on the shore on a Monday afternoon. Where else could you assemble a beach outing on such short notice, other than in Playa de Carmen, Mexico? Back in Boston trying to get anyone together even with a week’s notice was questionable – never mind a group of 15 on a weekday. Even when I go home I need to plan at least a week in advance if I want to get together with friends. Most have busy schedules and can’t afford the luxury of making decisions impulsively.
Some people are snorkeling, others are reading, but I’m doing what I love – writing about travel. I’m typing on my laptop using the wifi from my cellular phone – helping people plan their vacation to Playa del Carmen, while I sit 10 feet from the water’s edge, watching a crab scurry past. When you discover a career you enjoy, it does not seem like work. Watching the waves fold into the sand, as Allan flies a red parrot kite overhead, intrinsically I know that this is how life is supposed to be. Struggle is a normal part of life – it’s what challenges us and keeps us growing. But struggle should not be the center of our existence. Inner peace and contentment – that is what we should pursue. I try to impart this knowledge on my friends and family back home, but usually they are not in positions to live by this motto.