The End of an Era: Goodbye Sayulita


This letter is harder to write than I expected. Leaving in general has been much harder than I expected. 7 months is longer than I’ve spent in any one place for years now, and I thought for sure I would be sick of you and your small town ways by now.

I confess: I am, a little. I’m ready for some excitement, some good sushi and decent wifi. Even so, I feel like I’m leaving a little bit of my heart behind on your perfect shores.

When we first met you back in October, Mike and I were so green. Super-fresh newlyweds with our wedding just two weeks behind us. Impulsive, seat-of-our-pants travelers, who thought we could just waltz up and walk into the next available apartment. We were wrong, and it was just the first of many times you through us for a loop (although, like always, you rewarded us generously in the end).

Despite our early struggles in the thick October heat, you really did embrace us fully. You didn’t look at us as tourists to be bled for every dollar, but as guests, extended family maybe. Nearly every person we met here was almost absurdly friendly and generous. We participated in the life of the community, everything from the Day of the Dead and the Festival of Guadalupe to the crazy Easter celebrations that consumed our last weeks.

Sayulita, you did a lot for us. You offered us a friendly, cheap home-base to get our careers, and our lives in order. Mike’s long job search finally paid off, while my career soared as new opportunity after new opportunity came my way. In seven months I wrote probably close to 150 articles, read 35 books and saw this websites traffic nearly double. My Spanish, while still shy of conversational, has improved dramatically.

More importantly, you offered us a safe cocoon, a place where we could gingerly ease our way into marriage. With costs so low, a twice-a-week maid and a relaxing atmosphere, it was hard to find things to fight over. We still managed to find them of course, but I’ll always look back on this time as a golden, magical, long-honeymoon. For this I feel very fortunate.

Yet, despite all of those things, I know in my heart that it’s time to say goodbye.

Goodbye to the dozens of sweet, somehow well-fed street dogs who ran, played and sometimes sat directly in the middle of the street. I’ll miss their joyous smiles and huge appetites.

Goodbye to our favorite restaurants and the owners we’d come to know so well. And the amazing food. I’m pretty sick of tacos right now, but give me just a couple of months and I promise to start craving them again.

Goodbye to the blaring jingles, the random shouting and the senselessly loud mariachi music at all hours of the day and night. I’ll probably sleep better in America, but the silence will be hard to get used to.

Goodbye to the beautiful beach, which I already regret not spending more time on.

Goodbye to the constant celebration: the music, the carnivals and the parades which sometimes seemed to happen for literally no reason at all. Thanks for teaching me that you really don’t NEED a reason to celebrate, you can just do it.

Goodbye to our lovely little apartment, with it’s giant bed, ocean breeze and menagerie of tiny lizards. Goodbye to sitting on the porch, watching the street vendors, the hippies and the tourists wander by each evening. Oddly, I think I’ll miss this the most.

Goodbye Sayulita, you absurd, charming and relaxed little town. You made me feel so safe and happy every single day, and for that I’ll always carry you in my heart.

I’m sad to leave you Sayulita, but truthfully, I’m also pretty excited. Mike and I have boomeranged around the world for literally years now, but leaving Mexico feels like an end to this era of our lives. We’re not abandoning travel or anything drastic like that, but we’re definitely changing, growing up maybe? The honeymoon is officially over and now we see how the rest of our lives will look. I’m actually really, really excited about it.

Of course, I know you’ll always be here Sayulita (although you are changing lightning fast- I can’t count how many businesses have opened and closed during our time here). We’ll be back to visit you I’m sure. There’s a comfort in knowing you’re such a close plane ride away.

So Adios Sayulita, te amo.


21 Responses to The End of an Era: Goodbye Sayulita

  1. Rachel of Hippie in Heels May 12, 2014 at 10:58 AM #

    Wow, you’re off to your next adventure! Sayulita will be there for you for an anniversary visit! I can’t imagine how sad I’d be leaving Goa, so I really feel for you!

  2. tanja May 12, 2014 at 1:17 PM #

    the photos look great, what a paradising place ♥

  3. Cam May 12, 2014 at 3:54 PM #

    We will be there in a few days… too bad we’ll miss each other!

  4. Rashad Pharaon May 12, 2014 at 4:50 PM #

    What a beautifully different approach to writing about a place. Seems like you had some pretty good memories there; perhaps those will be the same that beckon you back sooner than you think 🙂

    Safe travels

  5. Jessica of Curiosity Travels May 12, 2014 at 5:39 PM #

    What a sweet post! I loved it. It’s so great that you’ve appreciated it all and haven’t taken this beautiful time for granted, but are also excited for the changes to come. Have a great time back in the U.S. Enjoy!!

  6. Sammi- Wanderlustin' May 13, 2014 at 5:25 AM #

    Such wonderful words about a place you’ve lived. It sounds amazing there, and definitely a town I’d like to visit.

  7. Lisa - Wee Wanders May 13, 2014 at 6:38 AM #

    What a lovely post and it’s always good to leave somewhere at the right time, with fond memories. Good luck for your nest adventure!

  8. Jenni May 13, 2014 at 10:00 AM #

    Love the post, sounds like you are leaving with such wonderful memories. Sayulita sounds dreamy. Happy travels on your next journey!

  9. Nicole May 13, 2014 at 10:07 AM #

    Wow, I could not imagine leaving Montenegro right now. The people and stories you will surely remember. It’s always hard to leave, but refreshing to have a change of food and scene. When you crave tacos again, you can always return for some time. looking forward to see what’s next on your adventure.

  10. Olivia May 13, 2014 at 3:37 PM #

    It’s sad that you have to leave, I remember what it was like leaving London after two years, but this is a beautiful send off! Well put. Looking forward to reading about your next adventure Steph!

  11. Liz May 13, 2014 at 6:46 PM #

    Beautiful goodbye, I can’t believe it’s over already!!

  12. Efrutik May 13, 2014 at 9:40 PM #

    This a very genuine post to a place of a home which Sayulita has become for you both. Your connection to Sayulita really permeates through the two posts I have read so far – the food and this goodbye. This place is on my endless list of places to visit someday. I certainly already daydreamed of being there sampling the food on daily basis. Thank you for sharing your journey in time and best wishes with new adventures.

  13. Jen Seligmann May 13, 2014 at 10:25 PM #

    Onward to new adventures! It’s the most exciting part of travel I think.

  14. Rebekah May 14, 2014 at 4:38 AM #

    Oh leaving is not fun… good luck on your next adventure though! I think it sounds like the perfect plan to come back too for anniversarys 🙂

  15. Victoria May 16, 2014 at 11:14 PM #

    Aw, I know how hard it is to say goodbye to that part if the world! So pleased you enjoyed it down there.

  16. Joan Franck December 12, 2014 at 4:13 PM #

    We miss you in Lina’s cooking classes this year, Steph! Hope you are enjoying life.

    • Steph December 15, 2014 at 11:29 AM #

      Miss you guys too!

  17. lina weissman December 12, 2014 at 9:44 PM #

    we miss you too!
    cooking classes have started and we want you back!

    • Steph December 15, 2014 at 11:29 AM #

      Aww thanks! Definitely wishing I was in Sayulita and not the snowy US right now.

  18. ana camino August 15, 2015 at 7:59 AM #

    That was so swee! My son and I are on our way to our new adventure in Sayulita. Moving for a year (or longer:) we have not been there before and this gives us an idea of how it might feel to live there. Would you share were you lived and if it was affordable ? What are musts to take with (hard to find there) we have been told to take good sheets/pillows? Thanks for sharing

    • Steph August 17, 2015 at 11:09 AM #

      If you check the archives i have quite a few articles about living in Sayulita that might be helpful. It’s a wonderful place, but definitely more expensive than most of Mexico.

      My number one suggestions of things to bring: sunscreen (expensive abroad), bug spray and tampons.

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