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In the summer of 1994, I stuffed a swimsuit, a couple of paperback books, my passport and a stack of travelers checks into a small daypack and caught a one-way flight to Mexico. I was 36 years old without any real ties in the world, and I had a little money saved up in the bank. But most importantly, I was done with America: the hectic pace, the spiraling cost of living, and the same old routines and monotony. I wanted something different now, something new, something exciting and off the grid.I had originally planned to go to Hawaii and live on the beach. But when a friend pointed out the high cost of living in Hawaii and the comparatively low cost of living in México, I quickly changed my plans and bought a one-way ticket to Puerto Vallarta. I wasn't sure how long I was going to stay in Mexico. But once I got there, I ended up spending the next three and a half years living on the Pacific Coast in a small town called Zihuatanejo. During that time, my entire life completely changed as I dove head first into a country and culture of such diversity, excitement, violence, magic, and passion that still, to this day, I wonder at the meaning of it all.
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