Packing Light, Eating Right, and Enjoying the Sights


Painting and Plants in the hotel

Our hotel was full of local paintings and lush plants.

A Garden Oasis in the City

We arrived home on Friday from a nine-day trip to the coastal city of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico. This charming little city is a favourite of mine. During this trip we stayed right downtown in the Romantic Zone, about two blocks from the Malecón, from the Los Muertos Pier, and from the beach.

Our hotel, Posada de Roger, was charming and inexpensive. The staff was helpful and friendly. This is an older hotel but is constantly being cleaned and maintained. The courtyard, pool area, and terrace are full of lush potted plants which turn this four-storey hotel into a garden oasis in the bustle of the city. One feature I really liked about this hotel is that guests had access to water dispensers throughout the building and we had a water jug in our room. This way, we could easily get all the drinking water we needed without the hotel having to supply big water bottles or us needing to purchase bottled water.

Listen to me read this post:

One thing I became keenly aware of while I spent time in a very busy, densely-populated area is how very quiet my own rural Alberta surroundings are. As it turns out, I really like silence. Puerto Vallarta is a wonderful place for food (some of the best I’ve EVER had), Latin dance music, and colourful sights and sounds. It is not, however, best-suited to quiet contemplation. Still, I loved every moment spent in that vibrant stream teeming with life and filling my senses to overflowing.


Me on the terrace.

Pack less to destress

 Again on this trip, I brought only carry-on luggage. This is my third time now traveling without checking bags. No, I didn’t even bring one of those little suitcases on wheels. All I brought was the black bag I used to carry my teacher things in back and forth to work. Really, it’s like a big purse that I can sling over my shoulder as I stroll lightly and carefree out of the airport into the Mexico sunshine.

As I look around any airport, I notice that the amount of stress and anxiety folks seem to carry is directly proportionate to the amount of luggage they carry. Typically, the pillow carriers are the most stressed. And if they have more than one pillow stacked atop their bulging luggage cart, avoid even making eye contact. It’s for your own safety. The pressure inside those travelers and inside their suitcases could cause either of them to explode. You don’t want to get caught in that flurry of flying underwear or that storm of hurled expletives. Steer clear, if you can.


A symbol of our shared love of Costco as prepared by our maid.

Lost on the bus

Aw man, if I had a peso for every time I’ve got lost going somewhere on a Mexican bus, by now I’d have quite a few pesos. This trip, my husband wanted to explore the wonders of a Mexican Costco. The foundation of our relationship is not a shared fascination with Costco and if I weren’t wed to a Costco shopper, I would never enter the warehouses’ cleanly-sliding glass doors. It wouldn’t happen. Not ever.

Early in the morning, we got on the Costco bus and politely let the driver know where we were going. We bounced along happily in our bus seats, all pale and wearing our perky straw hats that screamed, “Canadian tourists!” As the bus continued down the road, we watched for the Costco.


The rocks and water at Mismaloya.

I spotted the huge building first. “Look! There it is!” It was a block or so off the main road that we traveled and the bus kept right on going. I confidently reassured my husband, “I think the bus will just swing around and drop us off on the other side, closer to Costco.”

We had traveled through one nearby town and entered another before it became abundantly clear that this bus was not going to swing around as I’d predicted. Then, suddenly, the driver seemed to remember us. He glanced in his wide rearview mirror and saw our now-drooping straw hats. As another bus approached in the opposite lane, our driver opened his window and waved down the other driver. The two bus drivers conferred.

I’m sure their exchange went something like this: “Hey, I’ve got another couple gringos here looking for the Costco. We blew past it about half-an-hour ago. Would you do me a favour and take them back to that stop?”


Me on the third floor.

He called to us and pointed, “Amigos! Get on that bus. It will take you!” And it did. The Mexican Costco was amazingly and somewhat eerily the same as any other Costco, but that didn’t matter. The warmth and kindness of the bus drivers left a better feeling in my heart than Costco ever could.

Thanks for spending some time with me today! If you like what I write, please share it with others. Post my work to your own social media pages or email a link to your friends and family. If you like me, don’t keep me a secret all to yourself.

I hope you have a really good Monday, and a productive and happy week ahead.


~ Lori

4 Comments on “Packing Light, Eating Right, and Enjoying the Sights”

  1. I know how much you love Mexico, Lori. You look so relaxed (even without the contemplative silence). I marvel at your ability to get the gear down to a shoulder bag. You must share your secrets. I take a fairly small suitcase, but haven’t managed to get it down to only carry-on yet. We do travel for 5 weeks each year which involves having clothing for changing climate, so maybe that’s the best I can hope for, but I’d love to be more Zen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wash my clothes in the hotel room sink! This is true! I wrote an indepth article a few years back on how to effectively just pack light carry-on. I’ll send you the link and maybe repost. Thanks for always commenting. It takes time and thought, and I appreciate it, Amy!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: One Bag Fits All – Lori Knutson

  3. Pingback: What? Weren’t You Just in Mexico? – Lori Knutson

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