I wiggle my toes further into the sand, enjoying the coolness on my sun-burnt feet. Leaning back on my elbows, I butt-dance the sand into a more comfortable shape, feeling the sun caress my face in the early morning light. The beach, nearly empty of tourists, has only a few, lone souls appreciating the solitude. Beach vendors and hotel staff are, however, in abundance, scurrying like worker ants to get chairs and tables and umbrellas in place for the busy day ahead.
Fisherman pull in their nets, full of the days catch. Street dogs play in the surf, and palm trees sway in the light breeze, occasionally filtering the sunlight flitting across my shadow. The waves break near shore, creating that familiar shushing sound that forever soothes my soul to the deepest core of my being. The sun rises, heating up the sand, promising a scorching day ahead.
The click-clacking of dishware being set out begins to fill the silence, but I block it out and concentrate all of my attention on a single figure shuffling down the beach. Dressed in traditional beach vendor white, tattered sandals on her wrinkled feet, her hunched figure highlighted by a brilliantly multi-colored shawl thrown across one shoulder. A near-legendary figure in Puerto Vallarta, the muffin lady has been plying her delicious wares on travelers for as long as I have been visiting this special place.
Somewhat shyly, she approaches me with her freshly baked muffins and utters “desea un muffin?” “Tienes pina?” I respond. The smile lighting her face tells me that today, I am in luck, and she has pineapple, my very favorite. I buy two, and begin to eat one slowly, savoring the incredibly moist, intensely fruity goodness. I lick each finger clean to guarantee not a crumb is wasted, by now in such a food haze I am barely aware of the beach coming alive around me.
The beach, THIS beach, touches a part of my soul that I was not even aware existed while growing up in small-town Minnesota. Perhaps the search for this peace is what draws me to travel, what creates a restless yearning in my heart. Puerto Vallarta has had an intoxicating pull on me since my first trip, over 20 years ago. I am drawn back again and again to recharge and regain balance.
How do you determine a place that becomes your very individual brand of peace? Is it a place that causes you to dream a bigger dream than you normally would? A place where you feel at home from the very first visit? Maybe it’s simply the universe letting you know where you belong.
The morning buzz of activity increases and I reluctantly rise, dusting sand and muffin crumbs off as I do. Time is ticking and I have just enough time to stop for a morning coffee, before returning to my room. But, first, I enjoy one last, lingering gaze at the water.
I wish I could have stayed in that moment forever. One of these days…. I will.
About the Author: Rhonda Delameter has traveled to over forty countries on five continents and has always found inspiration for travel in her writing. For her next BIG adventure she, her husband, and their two dogs are going to drive the PanAm Highway to Patagonia!
Thank you for reading and commenting. Please enter our next Travel Writing competition and tell your story.