About PVDN

Ian Hayden Parker (founder of PVDN) at Hierve el Agua in Oaxaca

In 2012 I was content owning my boutique branding company for the last decade. My clients included HBO, Showtime, American Idol, Hilton Hotels, and many celebrities and international musicians. After choosing to move to Puerto Vallarta from the U.S., many of my big clients didn’t feel comfortable with their branding company being based in Mexico. This was before remote working was as common as it is today. So many of my clients left and I rebuilt my branding company on a smaller scale by offering services to businesses in Puerto Vallarta.

While being a liaison between a local client and a local English news website and negotiating an update to my client’s advertising agreement, a meeting turned heated when the local news site, the only English one in Puerto Vallarta at the time, shouted that I didn’t know anything about running a news website and they wouldn’t take my suggestions on how to better promote my client on their website. I took that as a challenge.

In 2014 I launched PVDN as a hobby, something to prove that indeed I could run a successful news site. My intention was to only publish a few stories a week, at most. I was too busy with my branding company to dedicate myself full-time to PVDN. However, the local community had different plans, and PVDN launched with perfect timing. Previous English news sites were focused on the tourist activities of Puerto Vallarta, but by 2014, Puerto Vallarta was booming with an ex-pat community of full-time foreign residents, making the city more than a tourist destination, or snowbird escape, they were making it a full-time home.

As a self-confessed news junkie myself, I knew there was a need, and desire, for an English news website that covered the news beyond the Malecon and gated communities. PVDN has filled that void since 2014.

On May 1, 2016, PVDN turned the corner in local news when the Jalisco cartel launched attacks in various parts of Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara simultaneously. While the other English news site published on social media that they would not cover the events happening, and encouraged their followers to flood the internet with photos of the tourist side of the city, PVDN was covering the events that were important to locals. From that moment, PVDN became more than a hobby site for me. Within a few months, I made the decision to close my branding company which had been successful for the past 14 years, and I have dedicated every day since then to providing news to ex-pats and bi-lingual locals with the real news from Puerto Vallarta and around Mexico.

Today, PVDN is the most-read English news site in Puerto Vallarta and in the top five in Mexico. The site is supported by advertising for non-subscribers, and subscribers browse PVDN without ads and access to more content. The small marketing niche of Puerto Vallarta News limits the number of advertisers and prices I can charge, so to continue with PVDN as my full-time job and dedication, I offer subscriptions to ensure the future of PVDN for many years to come. Every subscriber is important to PVDN and truly appreciated every day, they are the people who allow me to continue delivering real news in Puerto Vallarta.

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About Me (the personal side of PVDN)

I was born in Tampa, Florida on February 11, 1972, but raised most of my childhood in the small town of Deland, Florida, about 30 miles (48km) west of Daytona Beach. I don’t claim Florida as my home, it was where I was forced to live as a child. When I was of legal age, I didn’t waste any time leaving Florida. I claim Atlanta, Georgia as my home because that was where I chose to live.

Owning a news website was never something I had imagined, and certainly nothing others would have imagined as a possible career for me. I grew up with ADD, hyperactivity, and dyslexia. I spent my elementary years going to classes for students with ‘learning disabilities’. I joke about the unlikely turn my life has taken as a dyslexic person reading and writing as a career choice. However, reading and writing every day on PVDN has actually helped my dyslexia and has helped me stay focused and control my ADD tendencies. PVDN is the longest I have been dedicated to a single project in my life, and I am still excited to wake up and start my work here every day.

Throughout my life, I have had many jobs and career choices, thanks to my ADD and difficulty staying interested in any one thing for too long. I have found it as an advantage in life, not the disadvantage that it’s treated as with children.

I have worked in every function in restaurants, including manager and upper management, and district manager. I attended culinary school and I am a trained chef, although I have never used that education as a career. I have trained horses, including training and caring for horses during the Atlanta Summer Olympics in 1996. I have been a motivational speaker for fortune 500 companies, motivating managers to be more productive and profitable for their companies. I have also done small jobs like telemarketing for ATT Security systems where we were trained to scare elderly people with crime statistics so they would buy a security system. I have even bartended at a leather bar, an interesting job for a preppy guy at the time!

Now I enjoy my life in Mexico. Over the years I have visited every state in Mexico, and Mexico City. I currently have an apartment in Puerto Vallarta and Mexico City. My weekdays are almost exclusively dedicated to PVDN, from 6 AM until 9 PM, and all night when there are current events happening and the public needs to stay aware. Weekends, I monitor news, publish a couple of stories, or work all weekend when there is breaking news, but weekends are my slower periods.

When I am not in front of my computer creating content for PVDN, I enjoy hosting game nights at my house with friends or watching movies. I also host couch surfers, which are travelers who stay for free at my house as a cultural exchange. Normally my guests will cook at least one meal from their native country and I will learn a little about their culture, and in exchange, I host them and teach them about Mexico. I am very well-traveled, but I cherish the moments I get to spend with people from around the world and learn from them, and also teach them a little about my life.

But my real passion is taking my dog to the park :)

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What brought me to Mexico?

Prior to moving to Mexico, I had never visited the country and my Spanish was limited to Hola, adios, taco, and burrito. I series of events brought me to Mexico, but I won’t bore you with too many details only to say I was caring for someone who was in an accident and unable to continue working the same career and the financial advantage of living in Mexico made sense.

I sold everything I owned, packed up a car and two dogs, and drove to Puerto Vallarta with my partner. We decided on Puerto Vallarta based on internet searches only. Either of us had been to Mexico and we didn’t know anyone who had visited Vallarta. What we knew about Puerto Vallarta was the cost of living was cheaper and there was a large ex-pat community so the transition and not speaking Spanish wouldn’t be difficult.

I have been very open about my history with anxiety, having suffered from it since I was 20 years old. My anxiety living in the US became unmanageable, and if you have ever had an anxiety attack you will understand this. They are like having heart attacks. Your heart races, everything becomes blurry, and you are dizzy and sweating. You really feel like there is a medical emergency happening. In fact, I had visited the emergency room and even a couple of ambulance rides convinced I was dying but had no idea what anxiety was, or was aware that it was causing these feelings. Nothing was a trigger for my anxiety and my life was pretty amazing. I didn’t have any stress. I was happy in my life, relationships, family, and career. But one day they started and continued for more than a decade. Some people have small anxiety attacks that last just a few moments, I would have anxiety attacks that lasted hours and days. I even became agoraphobic with the idea that if I left my house I would have a panic attack or pass out. It became difficult to leave my house. I visited every specialist and had every heart test possible. I saw a hundred doctors and only two had mentioned the possibility of anxiety or depression. I dismissed them because my life was great. There was no reason for me to be depressed or have anxiety.

Before my ADD takes me in another direction, let me get back on track :) The moment I crossed the border into Mexico on my move, my feeling of anxiety was erased and I have not suffered another anxiety attack since I crossed the Texas/Mexico border. That is how I knew Mexico was my home from the moment I touched its soil. Now I travel everywhere, ride buses across the country, and meet new people every day. I am a totally different person than I was in the US just by simply moving.

Even though I was born in the United States, Mexico is the only place that I have connected to, and that has made me feel like I was home. :)

That’s my story!

Thank you for taking the time to learn a little more about PVDN! – Ian Hayden Parker

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