and... we're back on the Pacific!!
We leave tequila and follow the long winding road over the last set of mountains before we reach the pacific. As the road straightens out and we drive the last few km south into san pancho it feels almost as if we are pulling into home.
We know this area so well, and we love it. It was home for by far the longest stretch of time in our drive south. In fact, it nearly became our permanent home. Were it not for a few mistimed events...we would still be living in San Pancho full time, working on a fixer upper and trying to turn it into something beautiful. Mostly, i think it just seems like a huge milestone in our trip. I thought we wouldn't feel this way until baja...but it seems like we've almost made it! At the very least it means we've made it through the part we weren't looking forward to (but somehow ended up having a blast along the way). From here it's only a ferry ride to baja, some glorious days on the beaches as we head north and the coastal highway of california and oregon between us and home.
As we pull into town we look for any parking space that's off the main road. We don't have arrangements made and assume we'll be sleeping in the bus, so the quieter the better. Just as we turn off the last road before the beach we see someone setting up for live music. Perfect! We pull into a spot a few spaces down and walk on over. We are immediately welcomed and see that almost everyone in town is out for what some say was an art opening but sure felt like a giant welcome back party for us! ;)
Within twenty minutes we've been greeted by almost every face we knew and loved in san pancho. The community here is truly terrific. The art, and community spirit and food/sangria that came along with it was simply a bonus! Just as we decide to head down the road to the rv park we look up and see geno. We stayed with geno last time, and while we assumed everything was booked (it is the peak of high season), it turns out he's built 4 new spaces and has one available (clearly held just for us). We hop on his golf cart, catch up a bit along the way and decide to stay at his beautiful new space!
We unload some things and head back on foot to the party and the live music that has now started. The musicians are impossibly good, and yet somehow from this small puebla. We see three different musicians/bands before the night is over, dance to one in the sand and enjoy a pizza during another...no question this is a large part of why we fell in love with this town!
Eventually we head back to our room to crash. So great of the town to roll out the red carpet for us in every way!
San Pancho truly has something special. The beach and ocean isn't as swimmable as we would like- but that's about where the negatives end. The relationship between the locals and the expats is better than we've seen anywhere; and the art, music and culture here is even better than we could ask.
It was also a bit odd to be here. As much as we love San Pancho, this is also where karma got sick. So sick we almost lost her. Constantly mixed in with good memories are the latent horrifying ones. But it turned out okay, she's still with us and healthy as ever. It's also odd to walk by the lot that almost kept us in this town. It belongs to someone else now and the shanty we would have called home for the first year has been knocked down. It's en route to someone else's plan now.
I remember sweating bullets as we ran spreadsheet after spreadsheet and began mocking up 3d models of shipping container rental units slowly turning into a groovy boutique hotel. Trying to somehow see the future and figure out if the investment made sense for us. By our numbers we could just make it work (barely) but it would cost every last dime we had to buy the lot and we would have to live in san pancho full time with no travel for the next 5 or so years trying to make enough money to expand.
We decided we convince enough friends to visit that it was worth it, and put in a lowball offer. We were on pins and needles waiting only to get it turned down, then later accepted. If we hadn't already driven a country south before the seller changed their minds, or if we hadn't decided to take a "quick" trip home to see loved ones before our purchase... we'd still be here building that path.
It's so hard to imagine...yet being here brings the contrast up daily. It's nothing short of hilarious to look through the old spreadsheets and sketches. It seems now (unknowingly) we took the better path. We spent less money at home on our garage conversion, it's certainly providing us with more freedom and we get to be around those loved ones full time. That doesn't stop us from an interesting conversation or two over happy hour about what that other path might have looked like; where in the building process we might be and who might have come to pitch in and spend a lonely summer with us to keep our spirits up.
Long term, this investment would have likely been more profitable or at least have a chance at a bigger final payout...but at least for our day to day freedom, flexibility and happiness- we have zero regrets about the path we ended up on or where we are. In fact- it's hard to imagine a path leading us to a more perfect place!