Mexican Vacation – best laid plans etc…

Casa Santa Fe, Puerto MorelosRoyal Decameron, Bucerias

Casa Santa Fe, Puerto Morelos & Royal Decameron Resort, Bucerias

The best laid plans and all that…Our recent Mexican vacation, involving a visit to both the East and West coasts of the country, was a mixed bag. It ended well but we were plagued by many unexpected events almost from the moment we landed in Cancun.

We arrived in Puerto Morelos late in the evening, after a bus ride, then a taxi, thankfully short, as we’d been up since 4 am Vancouver time, and been unable to sleep the night before.

The instructions sent by the real estate agent in charge of our Casa were incorrect and our poor driver ended up at the opposite end of town. We could not reach the agent but fortunately our friend, who winters in the town, answered her cell phone, and was able to give the driver landmarks, and we finally arrived at our simple but lovely Casa.

Our host was not available as she had fallen ill and was hospitalized. All was in order except there were no blankets, and the weather was unseasonably cool and damp. Large, thick beach towels took the place of blankets for the first night, and we were able to get some rest.

Climate change has not spared Mexico, and everyone in town struggled with the high humidity during the first week, with heavy rainfalls, unusual weather for that season. My partner found the weather particularly draining and the medication he was taking made things worse.

The usual Airbnb support was non existent, no referrals to restaurants, tours, etc., but we did okay fending for ourselves. Getting clean sheets and giant water bottle refills was a bit tricky, but the real estate agents came through for us eventually. Other extenuating circumstances led to us moving on a week early, but I will not go into the details out of privacy issues and kindness.

We were quite fortunate to book the next Casa, on the beach, through contacts of our friend. The Canadian owners had de-listed themselves from Airbnb, so they had a vacancy. The accomodation was lovely, and our hosts helpful, but after walking up to one and a half hours daily at the first location, for meals and outings, my old knee injury began to play up.

The new Casa was farther from restaurants and stores, but being the trouper I am I kept walking, what else to do, I had to eat. Eventually I began taking anti inflamatories, then finally booking inexpensive cabs  about half the time.

Although our time in Puerto Morelos was not exactly as expected, we enjoyed our time in the town. Puerto Morelos is a beautiful small town, touristy but kind of mellow. There is easy access to many excellent restaurants by walking or biking, and a variety of Casas. All Inclusive Resorts are outside the town. Friends visited a resort a few weeks later but found it too isolated.

After our three weeks in PM we travelled through Mexico City and on to Puerto Vallarta, to a small town called Bucerias north of PV. This part of our two phase vacation was at an older resort called The Royal Decameron, a colourful lodging on the Atlantic Ocean.

We had visited the resort nine years previously. The demographic had changed somewhat over time; quite a few older people, who came each year, three generation family groupings, and a few younger couples. It’s a good gig for Mexicans and the staff worked hard to please everyone. In the main buffet dining room, many of them saw Spanish lessons as part of there job, and we became friendly with them over time.

The food was fair, apparently not as good since the new owners took over. We found we had to get there early when it was fresh, and as the days went on we became tired of the repetition, and ate more foods from the lovely salad bars.

The specialty restaurants were a treat, but the resort still used the outdated booking system that had been in place nine years earlier! We refused to sit waiting for the booking staff at 7:30 or 8:00 a.m., and managed to have three delicious meals at the Mediterranean and Japanese Restaurants anyway, the first time hanging around outside the Mediterranean restaurant until the Maitre D’ found us a table, the second time walking in to the Japanese restaurant and lucking out, then for the third meal I went to the lobby booking desk and secured a left over late booking.

Our time at the Royal Decameron was fine, but not inspiring. My partner was plagued by an odd, but temporary, shoulder injury and another issue, but on the upside this meant we made friends with the lovely resort medic, Dr. Guzman. My limited walking ability meant I was unable to walk the mile into Bucerias as I’d looked forward to. We had one nice day trip by taxi into Puerto Vallarta, (I pumped myself full of anti inflamatories).

We enjoyed high quality music in the evening, were able to get some swimming in during the last five days when the weather improved, and it was a treat to have everything at hand, particularly food. However All Inclusives aren’t really our preferred way to travel.

Overall, we were glad to get away though, and were fortunate to miss the four snow storms Gibsons experienced during our absence!

Love & Light


Copyright 2019 Ellen Besso

Ellen Besso is a Life Coach, Counsellor & an energy worker. She is the author of An Indian Sojourn: One woman’s spiritual experience of travel & volunteering, and Surviving Eldercare: Where their needs end & yours begin, both available through Amazon.

Opening to Aging

Our dear nomad friends in    Dharamshala

Turning 70 was an aha moment for me. It took a while and lots of processing before the idea that I was becoming an older women began to sink in. Having dear friends and family share my actual birthday day, to witness the event, helped.

Having the very brief TIA, (mini stroke), six weeks later, after the traumatic experiences in Toronto the day of the Raptor’s parade, was a further step in my understanding. The TIA was a surprising and disconcerting event. I couldn’t believe it was happening to me, but it was an important part in my growing understanding that I am different than I was before, although still me. I really do have an eventual expiry date.

I’m on the way to recognizing – and just beginning to accept – that I am becoming old. The sense that people a decade older than me are old but I’m not no longer works for me. Because 70 is beyond oldish, my favourite descriptor for myself over the past few years. It is the beginning of old.

And that’s okay. Embracing rather than running away from the process of aging that ultimately leads to death is now my goal.

Beginning to open to this idea rather than denying it has led to many new possibilities in my life recently. It seems to have opened the way for my creative juices to flow. New volunteer work with our local Community Services is on the horizon. The new, progressive policy of the organization to match each volunteer and their skills and experience with the best job.

Most of us have a vast array of experience and skills to offer. This concept is called  knowledge philanthropy. After I opened myself to newness, including the newness of aging idea, my guides instructed me, in quite a specific way, to offer a workshop called Age With Grace for small groups of women.

I am currently working on that. It will take a while as I push through my thoughts and feelings around aging and do my research. The late Kathleen Dowling Singh wrote a Buddhist based book I have found helpful, although I am not a Buddhist myself, called The Grace in Aging. It is a very real book, pulling no punches.

Starting to attend the Threshold Choira group of women learning to sing beautiful songs at the bedside of the sick and dying, is another piece of my process. Serious work, quite profound, yet also joyful. For how can I deal with my own aging and ultimate death when I haven’t completed the process of letting go of certain friends and loved ones?

Opening to my aging and dying, although I am still healthy, will continue for the rest of my life. It will to open me to many things and hopefully to a richer life – both out in the world and my internal one.

Love & Light


Copyright 2019 Ellen Besso

Ellen Besso is a Life Coach, Counsellor & an energy worker. She is the author of An Indian Sojourn: One woman’s spiritual experience of travel & volunteering, and Surviving Eldercare: Where their needs end & yours begin, both available through Amazon.


Transitions into new beginnings

Consolidation: “The action or process of combining a number of things into a single more effective or coherent whole.”                  Oxford Dictionary

Change is challenging for most of us. One of our most significant ones is transitioning from our career into what is still referred to by the inept term “retirement”. Our identity is heavily invested in our work for many of us.

Today’s retirees are younger physically, mentally, and spiritually. As the year 2011 began, the oldest members of the Baby Boom generation celebrated their 65th birthday. From that point on, every day for the next 19 years, 10,000 baby boomers will reach age 65 in the US. A similar proportion of Canadians will join them.

Having come of age in affluent times, boomers have high expectations of life. Consequently many of us don’t feel particularly positive about aging, worrying about finances and quality of life as we become elders. I share these fears. What stands out for me the most is life purpose. How to make my life meaningful in the years I have left. How to hold onto my hopefulness.

The most important thing in aging is to think increasingly seriously about how we want to use the time left, says my wise partner, Don. “I know it sounds like someone with a fatal diagnosis”, he says, “but it applies equally to those of us who do not have that. This applies in both broader strokes and to this very day, right now.”

Transitioning with grace is about connecting with what matters to us on a deep level. The process won’t necessarily be seamless, it may take years. There will be many bumps on the road. Because change does not happen in a straight line.

I’m an example of one’s identity being tied up in career. My work as a counsellor in a large Vancouver agency, followed by a return to the Sunshine Coast to a small counselling and coaching practice, along with authoring two books, gave me much purpose.

During that time there were three trips to India travelling and volunteering and one to Southeast Asia, combined with overseeing my mother’s care and visiting with her. Life was rich and I was engaged.

In late 2013 we became part of a group sponsoring a Tibetan family in our community through Canada’s Tibetan Resettlement Project, that is bringing 1000 Tibetan refugees to Canada from remote northeast India.

Last year I began to wind down my practice and to process the disappointment over it not growing the way I had anticipated. Added to that was the difficulty of marketing self-published books. Then, this January, we went off to India, on the odd trip I documented in two previous blogs, clearly part of our process.

I needed to close the door on what might have been before another door could open. As Alexander Graham Bell so aptly put it: “When one door closes, another door opens, but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”

It has taken me fifteen months of processing to reach the point of moving on. It’s been a time of wondering, of reviewing, of literally wandering, sometimes in a what felt like a vacuum.

When we returned to Canada in May from the India/Ireland trip, the weather was warm, and I spent months sitting on the back deck, enjoying my garden. My friend Alma, the psychic who did the amazing channelling for An Indian Sojourn, told me quite firmly, through her guides, that I needed an overhaul, and should  do nothing for several months. Then it would be time to “honour my gifts” and begin to help others again.

This time of endings and of processing what had been, the unusual trip we took, followed by months of apparently “doing nothing” has been a period of consolidation for me, and I am now ready to slowly move into new projects. This new chapter incorporates what I’ve loved and enjoyed in the past, what has fed me, into a new way of being in the world.

For me those things are meditation, prayer, walking in nature, yoga, practicing energy work, volunteering, writing and renewing my commitment to music.

Internallized ageism is  a problem for me at times, and I’m sure for many of us. So I do my best to remain open to new opportunities, listening to my internal wisdom when it pushes me to try some new challenge, like singing in the Handel’s Messiah chorus this Christmas.

Everyone’s path is different. But I think most of us would agree that it’s very important to do what we really enjoy, at our own tempo, and to spend our time with people we enjoy and care about.

As my dear friend Rasheda, in her late seventies said to me recently, “Do everything you want to do now, because later you’ll want to but won’t be able to.”