Thoughts from Sayulita, Mexico
“You guys HAVE to eat at Sayulita Cafe. They have the best Chili Rellenos,” said Jaime, a fellow guest at the iconic Choco Banana restaurant, located in the heart of Sayulita, Mexico.
Jaime, the California-based woman sitting at the table next to us, was enjoying a late breakfast with her husband Eric and their baby daughter. Without a thought or care, I leaned over and joined the conversation they were having about places to eat in Sayulita.
I don’t know why I felt the need to spark a conversation with them. Maybe it was the fresh Americano kicking in, or maybe it was because we both had awkward strollers at the foot of our tables.
“Have you guys tried Tacos on the Street,” she continued. “It’s a fun little taco joint just over the bridge. It’s cheap and delicious. And there’s a play house for your toddler to stay entertained.”
The conversation continued as our friendly server delivered breakfast. I ordered a massive plate of huevos rancheros and Nicole was about to be wow’ed by decadent banana french toast.
Unlike us, this was not Jaime and Eric’s first trip to Sayulita. In fact, they purchased a home in Sayulita over 12 years ago, when real estate was dirt cheap and Choco Banana was the only place in town that served good coffee.
Times have certainly changed for this once sleepy fishing village.
We swapped baby travel tips and talked about past and future travels. It was a pleasant breakfast, one that would not have happened if not for a simple comment to a complete stranger.
We paid the bill, said our goodbyes and walked in separate directions. We will likely never see them again. And that’s okay. The interaction was not meant to create lifelong friendships, it was just two traveling families enjoying the morning and getting the most out of each travel experience.
That’s what we love about travel.
Not only did we have a great breakfast experience, we picked up a few travel tips and restaurant recommendations for the remainder of our time in Sayulita. We didn’t need to consult a tourist office or outdated guide book. We just talked to real people that shared common interests.
As we wandered down the dusty street towards the beach, I started thinking about life back home in Vancouver, where everyone is consumed by work, email and routine.
When was the last time you leaned over and started a conversation with a complete stranger in your hometown? When was the last time you stopped to ask strangers for advice or food recommendations? My guess is rarely.
I find it fascinating that most people have no problem engaging in conversation while traveling, yet they avoid eye contact when going about their daily routine.
Obviously we didn’t travel all the way to Mexico to have a conversation at a coffee shop, there’s more to it than that.
The willingness to engage in casual conversation with strangers is one of many outcomes produced by the emotions we feel when we travel.
When we travel, morning coffee always tastes better. When we travel, the afternoon sun feels brighter and the evening sunsets more colourful. When we travel, our adventurous spirit is awakened and we find ourselves more open to trying new things and pushing our comfort zone.
It may be the sand, sunshine and cheap cervezas that initially lured us to this dusty Mexican beach town, but it’s the random encounters with locals and other travelers that continues to fuel our passion for travel.
What about you? What do you love about travel?
Share your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below, we’d love to read them!