This letter is harder to write than I expected. Leaving in general has been much harder than I expected. 7 months is longer than I’ve spent in any one place for years now, and I thought for sure I would be sick of you and your small town ways by now.
I confess: I am, a little. I’m ready for some excitement, some good sushi and decent wifi. Even so, I feel like I’m leaving a little bit of my heart behind on your perfect shores.
When we first met you back in October, Mike and I were so green. Super-fresh newlyweds with our wedding just two weeks behind us. Impulsive, seat-of-our-pants travelers, who thought we could just waltz up and walk into the next available apartment. We were wrong, and it was just the first of many times you through us for a loop (although, like always, you rewarded us generously in the end).
Despite our early struggles in the thick October heat, you really did embrace us fully. You didn’t look at us as tourists to be bled for every dollar, but as guests, extended family maybe. Nearly every person we met here was almost absurdly friendly and generous. We participated in the life of the community, everything from the Day of the Dead and the Festival of Guadalupe to the crazy Easter celebrations that consumed our last weeks.
Sayulita, you did a lot for us. You offered us a friendly, cheap home-base to get our careers, and our lives in order. Mike’s long job search finally paid off, while my career soared as new opportunity after new opportunity came my way. In seven months I wrote probably close to 150 articles, read 35 books and saw this websites traffic nearly double. My Spanish, while still shy of conversational, has improved dramatically.
More importantly, you offered us a safe cocoon, a place where we could gingerly ease our way into marriage. With costs so low, a twice-a-week maid and a relaxing atmosphere, it was hard to find things to fight over. We still managed to find them of course, but I’ll always look back on this time as a golden, magical, long-honeymoon. For this I feel very fortunate.
Yet, despite all of those things, I know in my heart that it’s time to say goodbye.
Goodbye to the dozens of sweet, somehow well-fed street dogs who ran, played and sometimes sat directly in the middle of the street. I’ll miss their joyous smiles and huge appetites.
Goodbye to our favorite restaurants and the owners we’d come to know so well. And the amazing food. I’m pretty sick of tacos right now, but give me just a couple of months and I promise to start craving them again.
Goodbye to the blaring jingles, the random shouting and the senselessly loud mariachi music at all hours of the day and night. I’ll probably sleep better in America, but the silence will be hard to get used to.
Goodbye to the beautiful beach, which I already regret not spending more time on.
Goodbye to the constant celebration: the music, the carnivals and the parades which sometimes seemed to happen for literally no reason at all. Thanks for teaching me that you really don’t NEED a reason to celebrate, you can just do it.
Goodbye to our lovely little apartment, with it’s giant bed, ocean breeze and menagerie of tiny lizards. Goodbye to sitting on the porch, watching the street vendors, the hippies and the tourists wander by each evening. Oddly, I think I’ll miss this the most.
Goodbye Sayulita, you absurd, charming and relaxed little town. You made me feel so safe and happy every single day, and for that I’ll always carry you in my heart.
I’m sad to leave you Sayulita, but truthfully, I’m also pretty excited. Mike and I have boomeranged around the world for literally years now, but leaving Mexico feels like an end to this era of our lives. We’re not abandoning travel or anything drastic like that, but we’re definitely changing, growing up maybe? The honeymoon is officially over and now we see how the rest of our lives will look. I’m actually really, really excited about it.
Of course, I know you’ll always be here Sayulita (although you are changing lightning fast- I can’t count how many businesses have opened and closed during our time here). We’ll be back to visit you I’m sure. There’s a comfort in knowing you’re such a close plane ride away.
So Adios Sayulita, te amo.