Nearly a decade ago I set out for a new life in Mexico. My journey began much different than most people who decide to move to Mexico, or any foreign country.
My journey began at the ripe-old age of 35 and frustrated with my daily grind of life. From working in the corporate world to freelancing work. My routine life was eat, sleep, work, repeat. I knew that there had to be more to life than living that same day over and over. I felt like I was living my own personal “Groundhog Day” movie.
I worked as a corporate motivation speaker for many years with the task of motivating lower-management to make millions more for upper-management so that they could secure their 1% raise and mediocre health benefits each year. Of course they were pleased to do this because they were living the same miserable life of survival that so many people struggle with every day in the United States.
I knew this life wasn’t what I wanted and I was determined to not accept that life any longer, at some point. Finally that point had come and after only 12-hours of research I had come to the conclusion that Mexico was the place for me. It was a time that Mexican President Felipe Calderón had just taken office and declared war on the drug cartel. “Violence in Mexico” was red meat for the American media and my friends and family questioned my “crazy idea” and “death wish” to live in Mexico, but I didn’t let that stop me.
I had never visited Mexico but I was packing my bags and selling all of my belongings in an attempt to find a better life.
Finally moving day had come and I had received very little sleep the night before, not out of regret but out of pure excitement. It was time to go, the car was packed and I was ready to start my 40-hour drive to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Not ever visiting Mexico before I was not sure what to expect, but I knew I sold everything so there was nothing to come back to in the states. I chose Puerto Vallarta based on what I found on the internet, and the biggest advantage was that there was a huge expat community. It was comforting for someone moving to a foreign land that they had never visited before and my Spanish only consisted of “Hola”, “Adios”, and “Taco”, and even then my taco experience was Taco Bell. I was a virgin in Mexican culture.
My drive from the United States to Puerto Vallarta was an adventure in itself. At this time the violence at the border had become the nation’s biggest topic, so I was not sure what to expect crossing from Laredo, TX into Nuevo Laredo on the Mexican side. Needless to say, the media’s bark was worse than the bite. My border violence experience was 2 men fighting each other to get to my car and wash my windows for $5 pesos. I was prepared for something more gruesome but thankfully I didn’t witness what I was told to expect on my crazy journey.
Traveling through Mexico I felt very safe stopping at every little village and town I passed and experiencing my first non-Taco Bell taco. Wow, who knew tacos were not made on bent fried tortilla shells? Good thing I didn’t know Spanish because I would have asked for the “hard tacos.”
Finally after 4-days of driving I arrived in Puerto Vallarta. The first thing I did was to settle into my new apartment that I rented from Craigslist.org with only photos and not knowing anything about the location. It wasn’t perfect, but the excitement of being in Puerto Vallarta for my new life was priority. First stop, the beach. That was my only concern; where is the beach and how do I get there.
Fast forward nearly a decade ahead and I am happy with my choice to go on this adventure and would not have done anything different. I think we all have those moments where we throw our hands up and say “screw it” and swear we are leaving Mexico, but those times become less and less frequent as time goes by, and sticking it out has so many rewards. It’s never easy to change cultures.
So here I am today, an owner of Vallarta Daily News. I am not a journalist, I am a public speaker and writing is actually a great weakness of mine, as many of my grammar correcting friends can attest to, which makes a news organization my least likely career field. However, what I am dedicated to is information, and correct information.
Many years ago I saw that the English-speaking community had “settled” for what was available in local news. That local news was filled with “fake” stories and promotions that only served the advertisers and the owners of the publications, not the everyday people of Vallarta, like me. Vallarta Daily is here to stay because we are dedicated to offering a real alternative to the news in Puerto Vallarta.
I, or we, have been very careful not to publicly identify who we are personally because our purpose has been to deliver real news and not use our organization as a tool for local power or popularity. We, the owners of Vallarta Daily, want the freedom to live our personal lives. We don’t want restaurants or bars “buying” us food and drinks because they might get something published in the media. We want to experience our city like everyone else.
With that said, we understand that the time has come that we introduce ourselves to our readers. My name is Ian Hayden Parker, born Christopher LaGrone but legally changed my name this year to an alias I have used on a popular blog. As many people know bloggers and authors use aliases, and many more people use aliases in this digital social media age. My photo is the one attached to this story.
My publishing partner is Sergio Salazar, if you have ever contacted us via email he is the person most likely to respond. He is also heading up the soon to be released Vallarta Daily en Español and is the most active administrator on our social network pages. Most of what you see on social media is his posting.
So that is me and my story about how I ended up in Puerto Vallarta. I am not wealthy or retired, I struggle every month like most locals in Puerto Vallarta, but I struggle with a bigger smile on my face in Mexico!
We ask for your trust in us every day, so we felt it was important that you understood a little about us and our life.
Thank you all for supporting Vallarta Daily. This is just the beginning!