Vanlife diaries #45: my mum just got married in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico!
Different from our previous time on the road in so many ways, we spent this week outside of the van, entirely surrounded by family, old and new, for my mum’s wedding at a beachfront resort in Puerto Vallarta. It was everything I could have hoped for her and such a wonderful time with family in the midst of our lengthy trip.
What we’ve been up to this week
After arriving into Mazatlán, Sinaloa and making the long drive south through Nayarit, we arrived into Nuevo Vallarata (just north of Puerto Vallarta) on Sunday afternoon to meet mum and her fiancé Kevin at the Grand Mayan.
Everything our vanlife trip thus far was not, this resort was like adult Disneyland, an incomprehensible network of swim-up bars and private beaches on Mexico’s Pacific Coast. It took us over an hour to pack what few belongings we needed for the week into plastic bins for bellboys to drag up to room, and still it felt strange to leave our van unoccupied in the valet area, like we somehow left a part of ourselves behind in the home that’s been our only constant after nearly a year on the road.
Although we never really got the relaxing week we’d envisioned, what with running around for the wedding and trying to coordinate half a dozen different contingents, I got something far better, which was a wonderful extension of family— Kevin’s late wife’s family joined us for the wedding week and truly became part of mum’s own family.
She never sat down for a restful moment herself, but I know she got everything she wanted all the same.
Amidst nightly family dinners and lively parties back in our shared apartment, one of the highlights of the week was setting sail on a sparkling catamaran into Banderas Bay, searching for whales, drinking endless cocktails, and just generally enjoying the paradise of Pacific Mexico.
We’d spent the last month and a half gawking at the natural beauty of Baja and the Sea of Cortez, but now found ourselves entranced by an entirely new side to the country we’ve grown to love so much— at every turn, Mexico blows me away.
And watching humpback whales swim within 10m of our boat, all while surrounded by slightly intoxicated cousins and aunties, is a different kind of special.
We also had the opportunity to revive an old family tradition this week: the January birthday party. A disproportionate amount of our extended family was born in the first month of the year (no fewer than 9 of us), and including Dan’s approaching 40th, we had 4 birthdays to celebrate here in Mexico.
My aunt coordinated a party bus and made reservations at La Langosta Feliz in Puerto Vallarta— we celebrated her birthday (the next day), my little cousin’s (the previous day), and mine and Dan’s (next week) to the tune of live mariachi music, giant margaritas, and platters of lobster. It’s hard to imagine a better or more fitting party for the 4 of us, and we enjoyed every minute.
By the time the 14th of January rolled around, we were all nervous energy (me) and frizzy hair (also me), but a certain resoluteness overcame both mum and Kevin as they prepared for their wedding day without a discernible trace of anxiety or apprehension.
I cried all the tears for everyone involved, particularly standing next to mum as her Maid of Honour.
There aren’t really words to express what it means to be your mum’s Maid of Honour and stand beside her on one of the most significant days of her life.
A lifetime has brought us here, through years of laughter and as many moments of conflict, but always as best friends and always together— she’s given me everything and now it’s finally her turn to move forward, to begin the life she’s always imagined, the one she’s always deserved. I can’t imagine a better week than that.
Where we stayed this week
- Living it up at the Grand Mayan in Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit (free if your mum is the bride; 9-16 Jan 2022)