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HOLA TO AJIJIC!
By Scott Richards
The last plane my wife and I are planning on flying for a very long time, finally landed in Guadalajara from Istanbul three weeks ago delivering us to this enchanting pueblo of Ajijic. Two years, thirty-six flights and almost 100,000 air miles, we find ourselves home. A couple of middle-aged nomads hopping around the world looking for paradise, our Shangri-la only to find it within ourselves all along and not on any map, have finally put their suitcases away.
Twenty-one countries later, we have both decided that if we have a problem living here, we better get over it. We have run out of countries and even continents. Literally, where on earth would we go to find it better than this? We love the weather, the music, food, art and most importantly, the warm and welcoming hearts of the people. From our recent travels, Americans are not always welcomed everywhere in the world anymore. It is a real pleasure learning the language and interacting positively with everyone we meet.
We sold everything in 2008 in Orlando, Florida where we lived for the last twenty-five years performing our proper nine to fives, taking trips every three months in order to keep the will to live alive. It finally dawned on us that we had our lifestyle in reverse. We should be living the life of our vacations. Life is short and we aren’t getting any younger.
Although satisfied in my work having a small art gallery and picture frame shop for almost three decades allowing me to meet interesting clients and handle many exceptional, historic and moving pieces of art, I and my wife sought more than material gain and a dead end consumer existence. It was the soul and heart that needed feeding; badly and soon.
The world is full of great places to live but we invariably encountered political, cultural, language and emigrational differences or hindrances disqualifying one after another. The adventure of a lifetime was becoming a nightmare of airports, suspicious food and customs agents. Traveling constantly is more arduous than first suspected; it’s really unsettling to view your luggage as next of kin. Living in villages throughout the South Pacific, surviving ancient Thailand trains, Tuk-Tuks, attempting to live the life of the people whose country we were in and eating from the market of where ever we were was our goal. This monumental mission was becoming real work on our parts, unpacking, settling, another box of Imodium, money, packing up, more money, arriving, unpacking our lives over and over again until we began questioning the wisdom of our quest and possibly our own sanity.
We originally left the States to learn to live with less and love it, but here in Lakeside, we get to have everything we need. Most of the countries we have lived in did not have hot water at the kitchen sink, almost no ice and hot showers were not a given. After two years on the road, our little casita is first world living and we love it.
My wife and I have enjoyed numerous trips and adventures in Baja and the Pacific coast as well as interior cities, never thinking we would end up in Mexico, but we have long ago learned never to say never. So we say Hola to Ajijic and its colorful wonders.