“When you ‘cheers’, you’re supposed to look the other person in the eye,” said Jeffrey Curtiss: the developer of the Residences of Playa de La Paz, a man with a heart of gold, an incredible sense of humor and an awakened spirit. We had just met him 24-hours prior to this occasion and I was already hooked on his life stories and aphorisms.
This is why I love travel after all: human connection.
He, my photographer and I were seated at an open-air restaurant nestled along the malecon in La Paz, Baja California Sur. The air felt balmy against my skin as I was just about to sip a swig of my mezcal infused libation. The first time I visited Mexico, I went to Acapulco and there I hadn’t quite acquired the taste of this smoky beverage. But this time around, my taste buds seemingly craved the chili salt-rimmed glasses and this muscular Mexican spirit.
This was about our third meal with Mr. Curtiss during our four-day visit to this underrated, yet special place in Mexico on the Sea of Cortez. As I gazed out along the malecon, docked boats lined the water and locals were leisurely strolling. Some were jogging. Both were enjoying the sunset as the heat descended along the horizon: completing another lazy day in this oasis of paradise.
La Paz means “peace”, and I do believe I learned more about what it really means there. While other vacationers might opt for the crowded beaches of Cabo and Cancun, I’m not too keen on traveling the distance to be on crowded beaches filled with an excess of debauchery these days.
After spending long afternoons exploring Espiritu Santo and swimming with the sea lions, I eagerly anticipated our dynamic mealtime conversations with Mr. Curtiss right before I retreated away into Residence 104: just one of the 23 luxurious private units that make up the serene Playa de La Paz.
Our conversations thoroughly shifted my perspective about myself, and my relationships with others.
In between dipping my toes in the sand, sipping on way too many Mexican cocktails, noshing on some of the best citrus- filled ceviche, and often sitting in complete solitude, here are 6 life lessons I learned during my time in La Paz.
1. The art of looking someone in the eyes while ‘cheers-ing’ is all about being present.
In today’s society, many of us are too busy boomeranging our cocktails on instagram instead of taking pleasure in the company and sips that we are privileged to enjoy. Being reminded to look someone in the eye as the glasses collide, reminds me to always stay connected to every single moment.
2. We are all human. Give others and myself a break.
Setting lofty expectations of other people and myself will always leave me flailing in a sea of disappointment. Space must be created to allow both parties to be human, make mistakes and learn soul-shattering lessons. We are all perfectly flawed human beings who will never live up to an ideal level of perfection we’ve all painted for one another.
3. Sitting in silence can be uncomfortable at times. But it is needed.
The big quiet moments of solitude are where the answers to life’s enigmatic experiences can be found. And while I was in La Paz, I experienced a lot of those moments from waking up with the sun watching the waves kiss the shore, to strolling along Balandra beach collecting seashells.
Truth is never found in the noise. You can always find your own inner voice lingering amongst the silence. It’s important to be still and listen.
4. It is possible to turn your biggest dreams into reality.
Listening to Jeffrey’s story of how he moved from Europe to La Paz and transformed his vision into a reality that is now Playa de La Paz, a home away from home, is a true testament that dreams do come true. This has inspired me in my own journey of continuing to pursue the things I am most passionate about.
5. Love yourself more. That is the true essence of finding peace.
Peace is only found from within. Not from traveling to and from many places on the map. And definitely not from someone else. Real peace is found when you consistently make choices that honor who you are at your core.
6. Always come back to self.
It’s important to always come back to number one. So often we look to outside things and people to determine our worth and to make us happy. But that doesn’t work. Loving yourself, digging deeper to discover who you really are, and confidently knowing what you deserve is one of the most precious gifts you could ever give YOU.
Thank you La Paz for helping me open my eyes and heart a bit wider.