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I remember as a kid, taking a dare from my big brother to jump off the end of the high diving board. Looking up at it I thought, “ that’s not so high, I can do it.” But then the moment of truth came standing at the end of the board, my toes dangling in the space between the end of the board and the surface of the pool and I thought. “Gulp, oh boy.”

I did it anyway and I learned one of life’s great lessons. Letting go doesn’t always mean leaving your comfort zone, it also means trusting the fates to discover your happy place.

In German they call it Gemutlich, a feeling of cozy comfort. The French make it easier, substituting the M for an N and calling it
Confortable and Bien au chaud. In Spanish speaking countries, it’s Acogedor. And in Japan, the word is Wa. Or what I call it here in Puerto Vallarta, Wa Hoo!!! Because the sense of comfort, of feeling protected, and right at home is built into this place and these people. “Mi Casa Es Su Casa,” is not just an expression, it is a way of life.

Now, after roaming around the globe a bit, hunting for my Wa, I found this place in the sun, figuratively and literally. A place, this big city boy found, that I believe offers everything any American or Canadian could wish for.

When you opt for an Ex-Pat existence, part-time or full-time, you give up more than the physical structure of your home and in many ways, the structure of your life. Different languages, different customs, different ways of looking at and living life. But as the French say, “Viva La Difference.”

Now, most of us want to dip our toes in the water without getting in over our heads and that is excellent advice. Here in Puerto Vallarta Mexico, you can have the best of both worlds. The foreign and the familiar. Differences that don’t seem so jarringly different and the ability to find what you need, what you know and what you are seeking easily and simply. No worries. You will.

Healthcare is a prime concern to many of us as we advance in years. A great comfort of living here in P.V. is the abundance of high quality care. There are numerous top-tier hospitals here, state-of-the-art, world-class in every way. So much so, that many of the people I have met came first for care and discovered they were cared for so well, that they have never felt better in the life.

I have discovered highly skilled restorative dentists that understand the importance of a beautiful smile, especially in a place that gives you so much to smile about. Medical and dental tourism is now a worldwide phenomenon and I am happy to tell you that the care here is phenomenal and even if you don’t have insurance, which you can easily get, the fees for high quality care is amazingly low.

If you’re a person of faith, you will find every denomination, every belief set, every form of religious expression within easy reach. I have attended a number of them and each of them beautiful. Even a small simple town often has a breath-taking house of worship that will welcome you in.

If you’re a pet lover there are numerous shelters, including the SPCA that welcome volunteers. A plant lover, wait until you see the soul stirring collection at the Botanical Gardens. There are facilities like Casa Hogar and R.I.S.E.P.V devoted to caring for ninos and so many more that whatever is in your heart, it will find full expression here.

One thing that I have discovered is the incredible ease with which, whatever your interests, you will fit in here. Language sometimes can offer challenges but no one will have any trouble understanding you when you speak from your heart. Friends of common interest, background and culture are easily made. And even more exciting, making friends with people of uncommon cultures is just as easy. My core group now consists of Mexicans, Canadians, Americans, New Yorkers, Brits and a new amigo I just met from Florence, Italy. The other night, his Mexican girlfriend made her version of Italian risotto with mushrooms, a Caesar Salad, which was actually created in Tijuana Mexico in 1924, by Chef Caesar Cardini. Something I never knew before. And it was good.

History lover? You will be stunned at what you can discover in this remarkable country,especially the remnants of pre-Columbian days. Know where the largest pyramid in the world is? Hint. It’s not the Giza Plateau in Egypt. It’s the Great Pyramid of Cholula in Puebla, also called in Nahuatl, Tlachihualtepeti. Now try and say that three times fast.

Of course, the local food is amazing here, but if you’re yearning for a good pizza, and I am a New Yorker, so I’ve had a few, you can find a delicious Margarita with a thin NYC crust or even what I consider blasphemy, one with hot dogs and pineapple. I’ve had great Thai, exquisite French and even found a place where they do authentic schnitzel on Domingo, that’s Sunday, 2×1. Situated on the warm Pacific obviously seafood, oysters and shrimp are the favorites of local chefs and can be bought right from the men that caught them.

Favorite shows? NFL games? First run movies? You can get them all. I attached an Amazon Fire Stick, bought locally for under $100 and I get all the U.S. stations and Canadian as well. News, Vancouver weather, even Wheel Of Fortune.

Just one word of caution before you make the leap. Be sure, as I’ve said before, that you find the best advice and best brokers to help you find the life you’ve been dreaming of. Coldwell-Banker at the P.V. Marina has everything you need, knowledge and listings included. They are your trusted, familiar face in a foreign place.

If you asked me to describe in a few words how my belly flop off the high board has worked out, I will borrow some from one of my favorite, musical talents, James Brown. “I feel good!” So will you.

One of the great things about reaching that, “certain age,” is how much wisdom you have gained along with the wrinkles and gray hair. Life goes by no matter how you live it, why not live it happy, healthy, well fed and loved? And I know just the place. Puerto Vallarta Mexico where the weather is muy bueno, the mangoes are sweet as the people and once you’ve had a cup or two of their delicious Mexican coffee you’ll wonder what took you so long to get here.

Want to know more? Please let me or Coldwell Banker La Costa P.V.Marina know. My two dear Canadian friends are racing back right now and can’t wait to return. Let me know when you arrive, I would love to introduce them to you.

Come share my dream,
Saludos, Irv